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What lies behind JD Sports’ success?

Despite the gloom on Britain’s high streets, the athleisure brand just unveiled a double-digit leap in profits that makes it standout and question what the brand is doing right that the others are not. More to the point maybe, why is JD Sports obviously thriving while Sports Direct continues to struggle?


Listening to experts have us assume that part of the answer lies in the different customer bases the two retailers serve with the former focusing on younger consumers, offering them everyday athletic gear that they rarely wear to the gym. Furthermore and while Sports Direct has been focusing on expanding its UK portfolio of retail businesses, JD Sports has developed a robust online presence and is actively growing overseas. Overall, success seems to have emerged as a combination of both strong market positioning and essential strategic choices. But what if JD Sports hadn’t adapted its format to make it more attractive to Millennials by seizing the so-called athleisure trend?


It is one of those markets which has expanded rapidly over a short period of time to the extent that some believe it has reached its saturation point. A study conducted last year by Morgan Stanley however reports that the athleisure sector, which has increased 42% between 2011 and 2018, is expected to grow by another 30% by 2020. More than just benefitting from it, it is fair to say that JD Sports has efficiently seized it, especially when you consider that their stores were still mostly male-oriented only just 5 years ago.


JD Sports intelligence partly lies in the fact that they have been able to adapt their format and make it attractive for females too. It’s also key to note that 40% of the products they sell are exclusive to the chain, creating more occasions for the consumers to shop there instead of anywhere else or to look online for lower prices.


Staying way ahead of the curve has proven to be an efficient way to drive business, particularly in the retail industry. This nevertheless requires constant attention and confidence that the next trend can be turned into a consistent source of profit. It might be relevant today for JD Sports but not all retailers have been so lucky in the last few years as some trends are now beyond extinction mode. Food for thoughts they say.


On a lighter note, it is almost Easter and with the weather finally turning to fantastic, we hope the Millennials in each of you will enjoy the egg raffle wearing a brand new pair of super trendy white trainers.

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