JD Sports enters beauty market with stake in haircare brand

Peter Cowgill

Bury-based sports and athleisure wear retailer JD Sports Fashion has entered the beauty market after acquiring a majority stake in Leeds-based haircare brand Hairburst, for an undisclosed sum.

Hairburst, which was founded in 2014 by James Hill, Henry Gwilliam and Matthew Cragg sells vitamins, shampoos and styling products.

The business has 45 staff and 1.5 million followers on social media. Its products are also stocked in Boots, Sephora and Superdrug in Europe, North America and Asia.

The group plans to turn Hairburst into a leading multi-channel beauty company by making further acquisitions of complementary entrepreneurial businesses and leveraging Hairburst’s already strong digital presence.

Hairburst’s products are scientifically formulated using safe, natural and proven ingredients to deliver an effective blend of essential vitamins and minerals.

The digitally native brand is hugely popular with millennials and Gen Z consumers with its Instagram pages and leveraging exposure with major beauty influencers.

The brand has replicated success through its own website in France, Italy, US, MENA and South East Asia as well as growing through major beauty retailers such as Lookfantastic, Sephora, Holland & Barrett, Boots and Superdrug.

Jimmy Hill said: “We are very excited to partner with JD for the next stage of our growth. JD have already excelled in capturing the Gen Z market in the sports fashion industry giving us many synergy opportunities.

“We are very proud to be the first beauty business to partner with JD on their venture into the beauty industry. With our ability to create amazing products and market through social media, supplemented by JD’s consumer connection, financial power and global scale, we see great potential to build the Hairburst brand and acquire other brands within the sector.”

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD, said: “We are pleased to have made this initial acquisition in the beauty sector and have been impressed by the capabilities of the management team, who have a strong identity and connection with millennials and Gen Z consumers.”

Matthew Wiseman, partner at Alantra which advied Hairburst on corporate finance, said: “Led by an entrepreneurial, digitally native management team, Hairburst has seen significant growth, largely driven by the health-conscious consumer’s knowledge of high quality ingredients and investment in their personal health and wellness.

“Hairburst is thriving in the evolving e-commerce market and maximises the power of influencers and social media.”

Hairburst was advised by Alantra (corporate finance), Sedulo, Pinsent Masons (legal), BDO (financial diligence) and EY (tax). JD Sports was advised by CMS (legal).