JD Sports pens deal to enter Middle East market

British-owned retailer JD Sports is set to enter the Middle Eastern market after penning a franchise deal with Dubai-based retail consortium Gulf Market Group (GMG).

The 10-year agreement will see GMG open around 50 stores under the JD banner by 2028, JD said, with a focus on locations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt.

Régis Schultz, chief executive of JD, called the deal a “significant milestone” in the delivery of JD’s global growth strategy, with the partnership enabling JD to deliver on the roll out of its ‘JD Brand First’ strategy marking a “pivotal move” of the brand’s continued expansion into underpenetrated markets.

“Through my own career, I have seen firsthand the massive untapped potential for retailers in the Middle East, and I am certain that GMG – with their expansive retail expertise and a local understanding of the customer – are the best partners for us in the region,” said Schultz.

Research suggests that the pandemic has spurred growth in the Middle East’s ‘athleisure’ market, with a recent report by Data Bridge forecasting that the sports apparel market in the region could reach a value of over $23 million by 2029.

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