The Group’s principal JD fascia has been widely recognised for a number of years as the leading retailer of branded and own brand sports fashion apparel and footwear in the UK and Ireland. Increasingly, the JD fascia is attracting a similar reputation internationally with further significant expansion in mainland Europe where we now have more than 300 stores across 11 countries, including the first stores in Austria. There has also been further expansion in the Asia Pacific region, particularly Australia. The development of JD in the United States is also now starting to gain momentum with a further six stores opened in the year which includes the conversion of five former Finish Line stores. Notwithstanding the operating restrictions caused by COVID-19, it remains our intention to convert at least a further 20 stores to JD in the year to January 2021.
Extending the global reach of our JD fascia is viewed positively by the international brands, both existing and new, and we look to leverage that positive regard for our proposition by negotiating enhanced access to new and in-demand products, further increasing the differentiation in our offer.
We ensure that the JD retail fascia retains its dynamic appeal and forges deeper connection with its consumers through the continual investment in our physical store portfolio, digital platforms and creative marketing. We continually look to further elevate the market position of the JD fascia and enhance the experience for the customer through the constant nurturing of global branded supplier relationships, which we can exploit to ensure our overall product range remains both authentic and uniquely appealing with our stores being highly differentiated destinations.
Our core business strength is branded Sports Fashion and Outdoor retail presented in an omnichannel environment. Where we use own brands, we will seek to present them as complementary to third party brands giving us additional options in ranging and price architecture. We update our brand line up regularly, endeavouring to be the partner of choice to as many brands as possible whilst protecting the brand equity and JD’s positioning in the market as a premium retailer. Finally, we seek to build very strong market positions and maintain these through our continuous intense and analytical approach to understanding business performance, driven through our metrically orientated culture.
We are engaged in omnichannel retail with the retail estate being essential to brand and product awareness, the customers’ overall digital experience and our ability to provide multiple delivery points. We believe that the combination of a differentiated product offering, presented in a well fitted store with world class standards of retail theatre, are major drivers of footfall to our stores.
Considerable time and financial resources are invested in expanding and refurbishing our retail property portfolio although we continue to work with landlords on ensuring that our portfolio of leases has maximum flexibility.
The continuing international growth in physical store space is complemented by ongoing investment in our international multichannel capability through a significant multicurrency and multilanguage website estate. Our digital and social media channels are important destinations for our customers with store digital devices (kiosk, web till and iPad) also giving customers additional options to purchase in store. We utilise our digital platforms to maximise our reach and impact to consumers at a domestic and international level with consumers able to shop seamlessly across all channels. We believe this multichannel capability is a key differentiator for our business.
The penetration of online sales as a proportion of total sales in a business varies depending on a number of factors including customer demographics, geographical reach, technological capability and relative maturity of the website. We see the greatest penetrations in our specialist Size? business, which has a significant international following, and Finish Line, which distributes product across the whole geography of the United States and also has ‘Pick from Store’ capabilities. In terms of our core JD fascia then online sales represented 22% (2019: 18%) of total fascia sales in the core markets of the UK and Republic of Ireland (excluding kiosk sales) and 15% (2019: 13%) in Europe, where our online operations are less mature.
The UK has now left the EU and is in a transition period to 31 December 2020. At this stage, the exact nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU beyond the end of this transition period is uncertain. The key direct and indirect risks associated with the range of outcomes at the end of this transition period along with the mitigating activities that have been, or will be implemented, by the Group are detailed further in the Annual Report. Detailed analysis and stress testing has also been undertaken to assess the potential impact of the key risks and the results of this testing are outlined further in the Annual Report
Investment in New Businesses
Any new business which we invest in will have relevance to our core strength and all businesses in the Group need to be capable of enhanced profitability in the medium term. Our ultimate objective is to deliver long term sustainable earnings growth to enhance total shareholder returns (‘TSR’) through share price performance and dividends, whilst retaining our financial capability to invest in the growth and the sustainability of our propositions.
Environment & Social Responsibility
The JD Group takes matters of Environment and Social responsibility very seriously. We are always seeking ways in which we can reduce our impact on the environment and protect and increase the wellbeing of the people with whom we engage with at all levels of the business, internally and externally. In working towards our business objectives, we aim to act in a responsible and ethical manner with all our stakeholders, including suppliers, employees and of course, our customers. Further information on initiatives which the JD Group is undertaking to be a responsible company can be found in its Annual Report or on the “Corporate Governance” and “Environment & Social” section on this website.
Further information on how the JD Group assists the community through its registered charity, The JD Foundation, can be found on “The JD Foundation” section on this website.