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Volume 6 No. 193


U.K.-based retailer JD Sports "declared that reports of the death of the so-called athleisure trend have been greatly exaggerated" after the company reported a 41% "jump in sales and boosted profit expectations to the top of forecasts," according to Ashley Armstrong of the London TELEGRAPH. Investors in the £3.6B ($4.8B) brand "had been spooked by a sharp drop in sales" at rival Foot Locker last month. This prompted some analysts to suggest the "abrupt halt in sales growth was a sure sign" that "athleisure is over." JD Sports Exec Chair Peter Cowgill said that there were "no signs that demand for athleisurewear was fading and shrugged off the comparisons" between JD and Foot Locker by highlighting that the U.S. company "blamed the lack of new trainer models during the quarter from Nike and Adidas, rather than softening customer demand." Cowgill added, "I don't think this is negative for the long term at all." JD Sports reported a 41% rise in sales to £1.3B ($1.7B) during the six months to the end of July while pre-tax profits also "soared by a third to a record" £102.7M ($136.4M). Sales were also "boosted by the opening of 35 new JD Sports shops during the period" and the company plans to "open one new shop a week across mainland Europe" (TELEGRAPH, 9/12). In London, Deirdre Hipwell reported JD Sports said that its "brand influence" had increased globally. By the end of July, it had 23 more stores across mainland Europe, had entered the Australian market and had opened additional shops in Malaysia. The company added that it expected full-year profits to be toward the "upper end of its current range" of between £268M ($356M) and £290M ($385.2M), suggesting that "the momentum is being sustained in the second half" (LONDON TIMES, 9/12).

cash injection from the owners of Man City is "set to instill extra pace" into Goals Soccer Centre's U.S. business as it "suffered" slower U.K. sales growth than it had "hoped for." City Football Group put $16M into a joint venture that five-a-side football company Goals will use for its two existing U.S. sites. Goals CEO Mark Jones said that the pair would "aim to open at least two sites a year for the next five years with the focus initially on expanding its presence in California but then looking to Texas and Florida" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/12).

South Korean organizers of the FIFA U20 World Cup said Tuesday that they made nearly 6B won ($5.2M) in profit from this year's tournament. The local organizing committee for the 2017 U20 World Cup, led by Korea FA President Chung Mong-gyu, said that it generated 24.9B won ($22M) in revenue and spent 19B won ($16.8M). The organizers added that once the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism approves their plan, they will work with the KFA and the government to start the construction of a new football center (YONHAP, 9/12).