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JD Sports steps into beauty with acquisition of Hairburst

By Huw Hughes

Sep 28, 2021


Image: JD Sports

JD Sports is stepping into the UK’s red-hot beauty market after acquiring a majority stake in haircare brand Hairburst for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2014 by James Hill, Henry Gwilliam and Matthew Cragg, Hairburst sells vitamins, shampoos and styling products for hair.

“We are very proud to be the first beauty business to partner with JD on its venture into the beauty industry,” said co-founder Hill in a statement seen by TheBusinessDesk.com.

“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,” he said.

The brand sells directly to consumers through its website in France, Italy, the US, MENA and South East Asia, as well as via retailers including Lookfantastic, Sephora, Holland & Barrett, Boots and Superdrug.

JD Sports eyes beauty market

This is the latest in a series of investments made by JD Sports over the past year. Since December 2020, the company has acquired Manchester-based menswear boutique Oi Polloi, US footwear label DTLR, Leicester-based independent menswear retailer Wellgosh, and US footwear retailer Shoe Palace.

The sportswear giant is also considering snapping up a controlling stake in e-commerce retailer Missguided, according to a Sky News report earlier this month.

But its Hairburst acquisition is the retailer’s first foray into the highly competitive beauty market in the UK, which is dominated by heavyweights like Boots, Next, The Hut Group (THG), Harrods, Asos, Boohoo and Amazon.

JD Sports said it plans to expand in the market through the acquisitions of other “complementary entrepreneurial businesses”.

The retailer's executive chairman Peter Cowgill 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.”