The Finish Line, Inc. and UK-based JD sports Fashion Plc announced that their merger has been completed. The deal makes Finish Line an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of JD Sports, making the leading European retailer of sports, fashion, and outdoor brands even more robust.
Announced last month, the $558 million acquisition makes JD sports a market-leading multi-channel, multi-branded retailer of sports fashion and footwear. According to Marc Cooper, chief executive officer of PJ Solomon, the investment banking firm that represented Finish Line, the deal is genius.
“For JD Sports, this was a brilliant move. It gives them an immediate and significant footprint in a very large U.S. market,” Cooper told WWD. Finish Line currently operates 600 stores in the U.S., and Cooper said JD Sports plans to invest heavily in the number-two U.S. retailer to give it a competitive edge in the States.
According to Drapers Online, JD Sports has opened another 36 stores (net) in the last four months as the retailer continues to expand globally. The new stores include 18 across Europe, 16 shops in the Asia Pacific region, and the first JD Sports stores in both South Korea and Singapore.
“We are delighted to announce that we have today completed the acquisition of Finish Line,” said Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman of JD Sports, in a statement. “This marks a momentous step in JD Sports’ global expansion and represents an exciting opportunity to bring our market leading, multi-brand retail proposition to the world’s largest athleisure market, both online and in stores. Our team will now collaborate with the experienced Finish Line management team and the key global brands to bring best in class retail theatre and multi-channel consumer experience to the US.”
According to Market Realist, Finish Line’s fiscal 2018 sales were down 0.3% to $1.8 billion, and its comparable store sales were down 3.9%. Now, the company is working on improving its direct-to-consumer business in an effort to augment sales. Finish Line’s app is being rebuilt to incorporate geo-fencing technology for customized offers (much like the Nike SNKRS app) and it is streamlining the checkout process.
“Today, with the closing of this merger with JD Sports, Finish Line opens an exciting new chapter,” said Sam Sato, Chief Executive Officer of Finish Line said in a statement on June 18. “With a global footprint, together we will bring leading-edge innovation and service to our customers. Our shared vision and drive to provide a premium retail experience will further our impact as a leading, premium multi-channel retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands.”
Keep an eye on Finish Line in the coming months and see if you like the changes. As always, share your thoughts in the comments below.