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JD Sports tops The Index "Buzz Score" chart with Sports Direct among best performers

Lauretta Roberts
23 December 2021

JD Sports has topped's The Index "Buzz Score" chart for the first time, while rival Sports Direct is among the best performers in the chart, which measures fashion shoppers' positive and negative sentiment towards 100 leading fashion brands and retailers.

Fashion sports giant JD scored +27% on our Buzz Score list, ahead of frequent chart topper Selfridges (+26%) and John Lewis (+25%). Each month,, partnership with Klarna, surveys 2,000 nationally representative British fashion shoppers to track their behaviours and sentiments.

The report is produced in two parts with part 1 concerning preferred channels, sectors and formats and part 2 tracking the fortunes of 100 brands and retailers across key market segments from sports to etail, luxury to value. The Index shows which stores and sites have been visited and shopped by our 2,000 participants, who are also asked about any positive or negative "buzz" they have heard around each brand. The positive and negative buzz factors are netted off against each other to create a unique "Buzz Score".

In the two-plus years since The Index has been tracking retailers, the Buzz Scores have proven to be an accurate measure of how brands are perceived and movement will often reflect and negative PR or positive news that is heard in the market.

This month's best performers in the Buzz Score chart

A frequent high scorer, JD has yet to top the list but it's strong performance this month is indicative of the growing prominence of sports retailers in fashion space. JD is known as a premium outlet for the best selection of trainers from leading brands, including Nike and Adidas (who are increasingly pulling back from other multi brand retailers), and for its fashion-led sports clothing offer.

Perhaps, more impressive that perennial favourite JD topping the list, is the arrival of Sports Direct in the Top 15 overall best performers across fashion. The Frasers Group owned chain was one of the lowliest performers in our Buzz Score chart two years ago and would be hard pressed to gain a positive score.


However its stock has been gradually rising over the past two years, apart from some PR missteps at the start of the pandemic which hit its reputation among our shoppers. Now, with a score of +16%, it finds itself sitting in between eBay (20%) and Ted Baker (15%) in our list.

Sports Direct Oxford Street
Sports Direct Oxford Street

Frasers has been working hard to enhancing the reputation of Sports Direct though its "elevation strategy" which has involved glossy store refits (including its Oxford Street flagship), new multi-fascia stores (which are also home to its other retail brands such as Game and USC) and high profile advertising campaigns. All of this appears to be paying off, as does its now clear positioning as an authentic sports equipment and outfitting specialist, giving a clear point of differentiation from rival JD.

To find out which channels, sectors and formats our shoppers have most preferred during the past three months, download part 1 of our report here.

To find out how 100 brands and retailers fared and how well the scored on our Buzz Score chart, download part 2 of our report here.


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