Retail JD Sports agrees deal for 50 Middle East franchise stores By Andy Sambidge July 3, 2023 JD Sports JD Sports Fashion's Régis Schultz and GMG's Mohammad A Baker sign the deal for JD's first franchise agreement JD Sports Fashion signed its first franchise deal with Dubai’s GMG 50 JD Sports stores in the Middle East to join the 3,400 worldwide Sportswear market in Mena could be worth $23bn by 2029 The UK’s largest sportswear retailer is planning to open around 50 stores in the Middle East after agreeing a franchise deal with Dubai-based GMG. JD Sports Fashion posted revenue in excess of £8.5 billion last year and has more than 3,400 stores across 38 countries. The new agreement – JD’s first franchise partnership – will focus on locations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. PureGym eyes up to 130 branches as part of Mena expansion GMG opens Egypt HQ with plans for 1,000 new jobs Dubai’s GMG buys supermarket and mall operator Aswaaq CEO Régis Schultz said it was excited by the opportunity to explore more franchise agreements “as an avenue for further store growth in under-penetrated markets”. Mohammad A Baker, deputy chairman and CEO of GMG, said it was “starting a new chapter in the sports retail landscape”. Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, GMG will open around 50 JD stores by 2028. It said that a heightened focus on health and wellness, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, has driven strong growth in the athleisure market in the Middle East. Market research firm Data Bridge has predicted that the sports apparel market in the Middle East and Africa region could exceed a value of $23 billion by 2029, at a annual growth rate of 4.8 percent. GMG has helped to introduce more than 120 brands in the Middle East, North Africa and Asian markets, including the home-grown Sun & Sand Sports, Dropkick and Supercare Pharmacy, and international brands including Nike, Columbia, Converse, Timberland and Vans.