JD Sports has signed its first franchise agreement as it looks to expand its presence in the Middle East as part of its its five-year global growth strategy.
The sportswear retailer has agreed a 10-year partnership with Dubai-headquartered GMG as it looks to open up to 300 new stores over the next five years.
As part of the deal, the business will open around 50 stores under the JD brand in United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt by 2028.
JD Sports chief executive 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 firsthand 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.
“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.”
JD added that GMG has an “unparalleled understanding of the consumer in the Middle East” and is “perfectly positioned to introduce the JD brand to the region.”
Earlier this year, the retailer promoted group buying director Michael Armstrong to the newly created role of global managing director to help further drive the group’s international growth.
JD Sports is expecting record profits in excess of £1bn this year.