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JD Sports Enters Fast-Growing Market With Franchise Deal

A Sporting Journey from Malaysia to

Singapore to Indonesia and the Middle East to open 300 stores in the next 5 years


Asia Pacific, 12 July 2023GMG, a global well-being company operating leading brands across sport, everyday goods, health and beauty, properties, and logistics sectors, and JD Sports Fashion Plc (‘JD’ or ‘JD Sports’), the leading global sports fashion retailer today announced the signing of JD’s first franchise agreement. With the signing, GMG has set the stage for JD Sports to enter the Middle East market.


Left to Right: Regis Schultz, Chief Executive Officer of JD and Mohammad A. Baker, Deputy Chairman and CEO of GMG (R)



The deal is a significant milestone in the delivery of JD’s global growth strategy, announced by Régis Schultz, Chief Executive Officer of JD, at the company’s Capital Markets Event in February this year. The partnership will enable JD to deliver on the rollout of its ‘JD Brand First’ strategy and is a pivotal move in the continued expansion into underpenetrated markets.


Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, GMG will open around 50 stores under the JD fascia by 2028, with a focus on locations in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. This is a meaningful contributor to JD’s plans to open between 200 and 300 new stores each year over the next five years.


GMG is recognized as a leading advocate for promoting a vibrant sporting and active lifestyle throughout the Middle East and Asia. This deal with JD comes soon after GMG’s expansion into the Asian market, with the opening of over 45 stores across Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia since entering in 2020. Recently, Sun & Sand Sports (SSS), GMG’s flagship sports retail concept opened its first store in Singapore this May. The company’s aggressive expansion plans include opening 11 SSS stores across the Southeast Asian market, including Singapore and Malaysia, in the next 36 months.


A heightened focus on health and wellness, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has driven strong growth in the athletic leisure market. Consumers increasingly recognise the additional value provided by the latest styles, or sportswear with advanced properties that will improve performance, with a recent report by Data Bridge predicting that the sports apparel market in the region could reach a value of US$23190.43 million by 2029, at a CAGR of 4.8%.


Strong brand partnerships are in the DNA of both JD and GMG, and the deal will provide a substantial opportunity for JD to showcase its unique multi-brand, omnichannel proposition. Consumers will benefit from exclusive access to the latest styles from some of the world’s largest brands, including Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and Under Armour.


Régis Schultz, CEO of JD Sports, said: “We are very pleased to be delivering this historic deal, the first franchise agreement JD has entered, in partnership with GMG. Through my own career, I have seen first-hand 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 partner for us in the region.


“We also know, from our love index, that no matter the market there is a direct correlation between having a strong physical retail presence, and popularity and love for the brand. We are excited by the opportunity to explore franchise partnerships as an avenue for further store growth in underpenetrated markets, leveraging the global growth phenomenon of athleisure while bringing our proven proposition to more customers worldwide.”


Mohammad A. Baker, Deputy Chairman and CEO of GMG, said: “We are starting a new chapter in the sports retail landscape by acquiring the franchise rights for the GCC region and Egypt for JD Sports. By leveraging our respective strengths and expertise, we aim to revolutionise the sports retail sector, offering a diverse range of high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and innovative shopping experiences. This alliance is a testament to our commitment to enhancing the lives of consumers in the region, as we embark on a journey to provide them with unmatched choices and empower their active lifestyles.”


Building on its solid 45-year legacy as a consumer-centric trusted partner for growth and innovation, GMG has helped introduce more than 120 brands in the markets of the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, thereby forging long-term relationships with many prestigious international brands. Fundamentally a growth company, GMG's long-term global ambitions are reflected in its ongoing journey to expand its portfolio and double its global workforce by 2025 across its markets.

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