JD Sports to double size of Bluewater store on athleisure trend
If anyone was in any doubt about the ongoing strength of the athleisure trend, then JD Sports’ decisions to double the size of its already-large store in the Bluewater mall in Kent should cure them of that.
Landlord Landsec has announced that the fast-expanding sports-to-fashion retailer will radically increase its Bluewater retail square footage later this year taking its store from 9,544 sq ft to 18,966 sq ft.
Located in Bluewater’s Lower Thames Walk, the supersized space will feature brands including Adidas, Nike, Lacoste and Calvin Klein with a bigger selection of all categories.
On releasing its latest results last week, the company had said that profitability in its core sports chain was rising and that it was hugely committed to the concept of physical retail.
Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said at the time: “Whilst we firmly expect online to further increase its share of overall sales in our core UK and Ireland markets, the often social nature of consumers' shopping trips and impulsive nature of their buying decisions combined with the importance of cash to a high proportion of our demographic, means that we expect physical retail to retain most of its current level of importance.
"The store base remains essential to brand awareness, the customer's desire to see, handle and try the product, and our ability to provide multiple delivery points.”
While he also said the company didn’t expect “a material movement in the size of our store base in the UK and Ireland,” clearly it’s ready to take advantage of opportunities to upsize where the catchment area justifies it.
With Amazon having just unveiled its own athleisure line this week, the gym-to-street market is obviously still in a dynamic growth phase and with Bluewater coming under the ‘supermall’ banner that is likely to see continued growth (despite the decline of smaller malls), this move makes good commercial sense.
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