JD Sports Fashion Plc has promoted Michael Armstrong as its new global managing director of the JD brand.
In this newly created role, JD said in a statement that Armstrong will help further drive the group’s growth as he is tasked with overseeing the strategic direction of the JD brand, its operations and colleagues, alongside the continued business development and growth of the JD brand globally. Armstrong will report to group CEO Régis Schultz.
Armstrong joined JD in 1995 as a store sales assistant in the Glasgow store and has held a number of key and senior roles. He was most recently group buying director from 2014 until March 2023, controlling all product strategy across JD, Size and Fashion Brands connected to the JD Group.
Schultz said in a statement on Thursday that Armstrong has been “pivotal” in the group’s success to date and brings “unrivaled knowledge and understanding” of the company’s consumer to its management team.
“With a keen eye for strategic opportunities and ever-changing customer trends in sports athleisure, he is respected by colleagues and brand partners as one of the leading market authorities on what works and why, making him the right person to take the JD brand through its next chapter of growth,” Schultz said.
At the group’s capital markets day in February, JD set out its growth strategy and key objectives for the next five years, which include significant expansion of the JD brand internationally, notably in North America and Europe, and continued growth of the JD apparel business.
At the event, Schultz, who took over as CEO in September, said the company would spend 500 million to 600 million pounds annually, with over half of that allocated to adding between 250 to 350 new stores in underpenetrated markets per year. The CEO added that the goal is to open as many as 1,750 stores over the next five years.
“We see significant growth opportunities ahead by expanding JD internationally, notably in North America and Europe,” Schultz said in the statement at the time.
In December, JD Sports sold 15 of its U.K.-based “non-core” fashion businesses to Frasers Group Plc in a deal worth 47.5 million pounds, or $57.6 million based on current exchange rates.
The sale was done after a “strategic review” led by Schultz in order to “significantly simplify” its branded fashion offering, JD said. It was meant to allow the retail giant to “focus more fully” on the opportunities across the rest of the company, in particular the international and digital expansion of its core premium sports fashion brands.
Additionally, in August 2022, JD sold its Footasylum brand to German asset management firm Aurelius for 37.5 million pounds, or $46 million after government probes by the competition watchdog organization in the U.K.