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As part of the 10-year agreement, GMG will establish approximately 50 JD Sports stores by 2028, primarily in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt. This move supports JD’s plan to open between 200 and 300 new stores annually over the next five years.

JD Sports CEO Régis Schultz 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 partners for us in the region.”

JD Sports believes GMG is well-positioned to introduce its brand to the region and describes it as being home to some of the world’s most innovative shopping destinations.

The company is said to possess extensive experience in sports and fashion retailing with a diverse portfolio of over 500 GMG Sports stores across seven concepts, including its flagship brand, Sun and Sand Sports.

GMG deputy chairman and CEO Mohammad A. Baker added: “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.”

JD Sports pointed out the Middle East has witnessed robust growth in the athletic leisure market due to an increased focus on health and wellness that was accelerated by the pandemic. The brand explained that consumers now recognise the added value offered by the latest sportswear styles with performance-enhancing properties.

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It explained that customers in the Middle East will now gain exclusive access to the latest styles from leading global brands such as Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and Under Armour as part of its unique multi-brand, omnichannel proposition.

JD Sports added that a recent report by Data Bridge, suggests the sports apparel market in the region is projected to reach a value of $23.2m by 2029, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8%.

Last month JD Sports announced it is on track to achieving £1bn ($1.27bn) in profits for the current financial year thanks to continued sales growth in recent months.