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JD Sports acquires cult Manchester independent Oi Polloi

Tom Bottomley
10 May 2021

JD Sports has snapped up cult Manchester menswear independent Oi Polloi in its latest acquisition.

The sportswear chain has bought the Northern Quarter shop at 63 Thomas Street, Manchester, as well as all online assets, and JD Sports’ executive chairman Peter Cowgill has reportedly been named as Company Director of Oi Polloi.

Oi Polloi founders Nigel Lawson and Steve Sanderson, who established the business in 2002, are reported to have stepped away from the business.

The news comes amid speculation that Cowgill is looking at stepping down from his role at JD Sports after 17 years at the helm, with him likely to move into a non-executive Chairman role.

The speculation comes only a matter of days after Pentland's Andy Rubin stepped down as non-executive director at JD Sports, set to be replaced by Andy Long, the former Chief Executive and current Executive Director at Pentland Group, which holds a 51.9% stake in JD Sports.

Oi Polloi built has built a cult following over the years, selling brands such as Stone Island, C.P. Company, Engineered Garments, Beams Plus, Patagonia, Battenwear, Berghaus and Gramicci, often breaking brands into the UK market for the first time.

TheIndustry.fashion reported in February 2021 that JD Sports had raised £464.2m via a share placing to fund future acquisitions.

JD Sports has made two acquisitions in the US recently, including footwear chain Shoe Palace and sports retailer DTLR, as well as Leicester-based independent Wellgosh.

It has also been in the mix when it came to the potential sale of Debenhams and Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia brands.

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