JD Sports ups the game and brings the heat to Australia
Everything you need to know including the inside scoop from store manager Allan.
UK Heavyweight athleisure retailer JD Sports has arrived in Australia! We’ve been following the build up on socials for a month or two now, and recently reached out to get the official lowdown on what to expect moving forward at the new Melbourne Central store. We caught up with BOH manager (back-of-house) Christopher Allan to pick his brain, so keep on reading.
A quick introduction to JD Sports
JD Sports was founded in 1981 in North West England, at a time when sneaker culture was getting ready to explode. Since then they have grown to over 200 stores in the UK and have acquired other retail brands and chains in Europe. Now with five stores set to open in Australia, they enter an ever increasingly heated battle for dollars from the athleisure segment: aka ‘trainers’ and sporting wear. Fortunately for us sneakerheads, that means lots of quality kicks!
DopeKoto: How will JD sports change the streetwear/sneaker game?
Allan: JD Sports has come across the pond with the end goal of being the premier sports fashion retailer in Australia. Instore, the aim is to provide customers with a huge range of exclusive products while providing the best customers service and shopping experience.
JD sells sportswear ranges that can be worn casually while targeting different groups of customs that would desire trainers and sports fashion. Many of our products come via global power brands such as Nike, Lacoste, Puma and Adidas, which are easily recognisable across a broad customer base. A unique thing about JD is that we have one of the largest ranges of exclusive products on the planet, and with the company being as well known as JD Sports is, high profile brands would prefer to distribute products through us because they are likely to sell more than our competitors. This access also gives us an edge as we receive premier and limited releases.
DopeKoto: So what can you tell us about how JD will roll with releases?
Allan: JD has yet to come up with a full-proof plan for future releases, but at the moment we are running on a first come first serve process. The store usually starts trade at 10 am however on release days we will open at 8 am. We will then let a small number of people into the store at once, with the remaining queue to be monitored by security. If multiple releases come out on the same day, customers can purchase one of each of the limited items that are dropping.
The good thing about JD being such a large company is that they have access to larger size runs than other stores. This means more people have a chance of getting their hands on the sneakers they desire. While this isn’t the perfect system, I encourage customers to come in and see me in store. We can discuss tweaks we could make to ensure the releases run smoother and fairer for all.
On the 27th of April, the doors opened, and the madness began! Those in the know keen to score some heat were permitted to camp from 7 onwards, with doors opening at 8. Dutifully keen to keep resellers at bay, a single pair per customer were up for grabs. Launch day featured 40 launch styles exclusives across the Adidas and Nike families with several beefy selections of NMDs and an impressive range of 95′ silhouettes. Make no mistake: this was no ‘sports’ collection but squarely aimed to rock on feet on street:
To add to the launch day experience, a free crep sneaker servicing station set up for beaters and precious grails. A live DJ provided the tunes, with dancers, professional footballers and competitions to add to the already lively atmosphere as everyone clamoured to cop some launch day stock. Giveaways were also aplenty with crep protect packs for the first 70 patrons and free JD tote customisation on the spot.
With the opening of their flagship store at Melbourne Central, JD brings additional competition to the already competitive sneaker and athleisure market of inner city Melbourne. Competing against boutiques such us Sure Store through to large stores like Rebel Sport, they bring a formidable presence both in the store and their online store, and they’ve got access to the releases and exclusives from both Adidas and Nike that instantly make them a major contender. Knowing this, we at DopeKoto are in no doubt that those from the burbs will also gravitate to the store, with their online offering likely to boom even further in Australia.
Being located in Melbourne Central above the station of the same name, it’s also a highly accessible location and desirable one to have secured. That said, we don’t expect the competition to be a pushover, and a new market and store with a new team is always going to bring it’s challenges. Whilst JD may catch the attention of sneakerheads, it remains to be seen how much of the more general athleisure market share they will be able to grab. This is because this also includes flagship stores for brands such as Nike as well heavy saturation of these goods through department stores.
So – can JD Sports become the ‘king of trainers’ in Melbourne town? We’ll let you sneakerheads decide that one! As always let us know your thoughts in the comments, or hit us up on our socials!
Stock, Links & Store Info
10am – 7pm Mon – Wed & Fri – Sun
10am – 9pm Thursday
Shop L01, 105 Melbourne Central Melbourne VIC 3000
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