Page 1: Introduction
Organisations that operate in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market are increasingly turning to market research to support their decision making processes. A retail business, for example, might be considering opening new stores, expanding internationally, proposing to diversify its product range or thinking about acquiring another company. Before proceeding, the business will require specific information to understand the implications of making such changes. The process of collecting this information and developing this understanding is known as market research.
This case study focuses on how JD (part of JD Sports Fashion PLC), the UK’s leading retailer of fashionable sports and leisure wear, uses market research to support and develop its business. As a B2C retailer, JD’s performance depends on providing the most desirable brands and products at the right price and in the right locations to meet with the demands of the consumer.
Founded in 1981 in Mossley, near Manchester, JD today is a nationally recognised UK high street fascia. For 20 years, the business expanded through organic growth, meaning that growth was generated by building sales revenue through increasing its network of stores.
JD has expanded more rapidly in recent years through acquisitions (inorganic growth), significantly increasing its JD store base through the purchase of First Sport (2002) and All:sports (2005). Through the purchase of Scotts (2004), Bank (2007) and, most recently, Blacks (2012), it has diversified the business into the young branded fashion and outdoor markets.
The Group has also made international acquisitions including Chausport (France), Champion Sports (Ireland) and Sprinter (Spain) as it has expanded its business overseas. The group has also secured brands such as The Duffer of St George, Sergio Tacchini (under UK licence) and the fashion brands Chilli Pepper, Nanny State and Sonneti. The JD Sports Fashion Group now has over 900 stores across the UK and Europe and a reputation for stocking exclusive and stylish ranges.
JD Sports is one of the UK’s most successful retailers offering its customers a wide range of Sports’ Fashion and Outdoor goods across multiple channels. The business has sales of circa £1.4bn and recently announced a 22% uplift in profit. 7 years ago JD Sports’ embarked upon a strategy of growth and selected Niu Solutions as its technology partner.
A key focus was their digital channels. With Niu Solutions’ digital expertise and focus on customer experience, they were able to build JD Sports a robust and agile e-commerce platform that would support their growth into multiple brands and a total of eight websites.
Niu Solutions also effectively managed all of JD Sports’ relationships with their key applications, ensuring their business had the stability to grow. Since their relationship with Niu Solutions began, JD Sports has acquired more than 30 companies, grown it’s store estate from 200 to 800 and now operate across 5 markets.
In addition to growth, Niu Solutions also managed to reduce costs
By understanding the needs of JD Sports’ business, Niu Solutions were able to deliver a flexible platform that provides enough capacity at busy times, whilst not wasting capacity during quieter periods.
Niu are a key partner of ours. Together we provide a low risk, robust and scalable solution that serves our business’ needs.Barry Loftus
Group IT Director, JD Sports Fashion Plc
Cloud technologies are essential, they enable us to manage peaks and troughs through the season.Paul Maxwell
Group Head of Multi-channel Technology, JD Sports Fashion plc