JD Outdoors to continue store opening spree as sector improves

JD Outdoors, part of the Bury-based JD Sports group, has created more than 400 jobs with recent store openings, and plans to open three more, creating a further 120+ jobs.

The division, which includes brands such as GO Outdoors, Blacks and Millets, is bucking the gloomy trend seen elsewhere in retail with the opening of new stores as demand for outdoor products increases with Britain spending more time outside in the UK and Europe.

Adding nearly half a million square feet of retail space already this year, including new premises in Bangor, Swindon, Newcastle, Bury and Derby, the retailer is set to open three more GO Outdoors stores in Yorkshire, Cornwall and Sheffield, alongside investing in new store formats in a further three during the rest of 2022.

Activities, including camping, hiking, cycling, and fishing, have seen huge increases in demand for related equipment since pre-pandemic times.

Traffic on the GO Outdoors website for ‘camping’ so far this year is up 44% versus 2019, alongside ‘walking’ (+69%), ‘cycling’ (+21%) and ‘fishing’ (+72%).

Carly Czuba, marketing director of JD Outdoors, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the success of the new stores, and we’re not done yet.

“Each store has proven hugely popular in its respective community, with crowds queueing in their hundreds to celebrate the openings and meet a range of outdoor enthusiasts.

“We invited our brand ambassadors, David Seaman, Helen Skelton, and Julia Bradbury, to open the stores, and share tales of their epic outdoor experiences with our customers. You could feel the buzz at each opening event – customers in Newcastle even camped overnight.”

She added: “Our GO Outdoors members club has grown phenomenally, with the stores significantly contributing towards the total registration and is now the largest outdoor club in Europe.”

Lee Bagnall, CEO of JD Outdoors, said: “Our outdoor businesses had a much improved year with an elevated demand for holidays in the UK and a general recognition of the physical and mental health benefits of spending time outdoors combining to drive a strong demand for outdoor living and cycling categories in particular.

“The new GO Outdoors stores now include recently acquired specialist concessions, such as equestrian, angling and bike stores, to appeal to this surging interest in outdoor activities.”