UK-Based JD Sports Launches Significant Store Expansion into Canada: Interview

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Global sports fashion retailer JD Sports is expanding into the Canadian market.

The company, which began in 1981 with its first store in Bury, Greater Manchester in England, is now in 20 territories around the world with almost 900 stores globally including Ireland, Singapore, South Korea, and Portugal, to Germany, France, and of course the UK and US.

Gary Ochi, CEO of JD Sports Canada, confirmed to Retail Insider that the retailer is opening its first store in Canada, starting at CF Fairview Mall in Toronto on Saturday, November 20. Shortly after, it will launch its first West Coast location at Guildford Mall in Metro Vancouver, and in spring 2022, it will open its doors at West Edmonton Mall.

Image: JD Sports

“We’ve always identified Canada as a market that we wanted to enter. There are some great brands and a strong following for our market in this country, and we feel that we can complement and add to what’s already in the market,” he said. “Our intention was not to enter the market during the pandemic, that plan was set before the global pandemic even began. We’re just continuing down the path we already started.

“We plan on bringing more stores to market in Canada. We’ve just launched our e-commerce store at and we’ll use that to help guide where the consumer is asking us to go. We’ll also listen to our customers via social media and other points where we can interact.”

Ochi described JD Sports as a sports fashion retailer of branded sports and casual wear, combining globally recognized brands such as Nike, adidas, Puma and The North Face, with strong private labels such as Pink Soda and Supply & Demand.

Image: JD Sports

“We offer a great selection of footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children, and our Global Access program gives access to exclusive styles only available at JD,” he said.

The past year and a half and more has been a challenging one for the retail industry across the globe with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. JD Sports was not immune to the changes taking place in the industry on a wide scale.

“Every part of the business, and ultimately, the industry, has been impacted. For us, what’s changed most is our awareness and taking the necessary steps to minimize COVID’s impact on our staff, customers, and brand partners – from ensuring our employees and store visitors feel safe, to increasing our focus on ecom and the online experience, to working with our brand partners to mitigate supply chain disruptions,” said Ochi.

Jordan Karp of Savills Canada is handling site selection for new JD locations in Canada, and he negotiated the above deals. JD Sports is looking for retail spaces in shopping centres, urban street-front locations and outlet malls. Suburban mall locations will ideally be in the 8,000-10,000 square foot range with Canadian stores generally in the 6,000 – 20,000+ square foot range depending on location.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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