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Sep 27, 2021
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JD Sports makes first beauty move with Hairburst acquisition

Sep 27, 2021

Acquisition-hungry JD Sports Fashion has moved into beauty for the first time. The UK-based sportswear giant has bought a stake in online hair and beauty brand Hairburst.


The UK-based brand, which sells vitamins, shampoos and styling products, is marketed to its 1.5 million followers on social media. Its products are also stocked in Boots, Sephora and Superdrug in Europe, North America and Asia.

The size of JD’s stake in the business hasn’t been disclosed but Hairburst co-founder James Hill suggested the financial backing will help it acquire a number of businesses to build a group of beauty brands.

Hill, who co-founded Hairburst in 2014 with business partners Henry Gwilliam and Matthew Cragg, said: “With our ability to create amazing products and market through social media, supplemented by JD’s consumer connection, financial power and global scale, we see great potential to build the Hairburst brand and acquire other brands within the sector”.

Earlier this year, JD executive chairman Peter Cowgill said the retailer was willing to “look at everything which either extended its geographical reach or sold other products “which are relevant to a style-conscious consumer”.

Of its first move into beauty, Cowgill said: “We are pleased to have made this initial acquisition in the beauty sector and have been impressed by the capabilities of the management team, who have a strong identity and connection with millennials and Gen Z consumers”.

Backed by a substantial acquisition war chest, the latest investment is part of JD’s bid for major growth and international expansion in the US, Europe and Asia. 

This year alone the 3,066-store group’s made a multi-million-pound minority stake investment in UK performance wear/althleisure retailer Gym King, a 60% stake in Poland-based peer Marketing Investment Group which operates 410 stores across nine countries in Central and Eastern Europe, a controlling stake in Manchester-based Missy Empire, and a big move in Spain via The Iberian Sports Retail Group to acquire 80% of Catalonia-based Deporvillage.

Earlier this month, unconfirmed reports also claimed JD was in talks to buy online fashion retailer Missguided.

Earlier purchases also include Finish Line, Shoe Palace and DTLR in the US; Sprinter in Spain, Sport Zone in Portugal and Chausport in France.

And JD Sports is riding on a wave of continuing growth with the business rising in value to £11.4 billion after enjoying record profits and sales. Earlier this month, it reported six-month pre-tax profit to 31 July soaring to £364.6 million from just £41.5 million a year earlier. Revenue rose to £3.88 billion from £2.54 billion.

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