JD Sports uses analytics to plot store growth

Business analytics technology from SPSS may prove vital to the future growth of retailer JD Sports.

jd sports

British sports retailer JD Sports will use analytical technology from IBM to make sure that future stores are opened in the right areas for the best sales.

It will use software from SPSS, a data analytics firm recently bought by IBM for $1.2 billion, and part of a $12 billion spending spree by the tech giant on a new business analytics portfolio.

According to JD Sports site research and development manager Alastair Browne, the software will play a "crucial" part in deciding where to successfully place new stores, because it could be very costly for the business to get that wrong.

Before 2005, JD Sports relied on gut feeling to decide where new stores should be opened, but after Browne joined JD Sports it set up a specific site research department.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

This was tasked with providing and collating information, for a much more scientific approach to decision making.

Browne had already used standard sales forecasting techniques using existing data with success, but decided to start using the 'SPSS Modeler' as JD Sports now covered a vast amount of the UK.

"We need to drive and understand in more detail the interaction between the number of different variables that drives a stores performance," he said. "By understanding that, it might open up new markets which we previously disregarded."

"Secondly given our coverage of the UK now, we also need to understand the impact of sales cannibalisation on our existing estate," he added.

"We don't want to be opening new stores and finding they are drawing trade from existing stores, and all we're doing is moving our sales around and not generating income."

The analytic forecasting predicts what happens if a store was opened in a certain area, by looking at factors such as the catchment area, demographics of the town and how friendly the population are to the JD brand.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Once the profile of the population is looked at, the software examines what size of store will be required, and whether other retailers in the area fit well with the sports business.

"A lot of the big companies, in particular Debenhams and Tesco, have embraced this technology for a number of years," Browne said.

"I think those with customers that have a loyalty card and a volume of customer data coming in use this software to make sure that the right products reach the consumer, as well as place stores in the right places," he added.

Featured Resources

Digital Risk Report 2020

A global view into the impact of digital transformation on risk and security management

Download now

6 ways your business could suffer if you don’t backup Office 365

Office 365 makes it easy to lose valuable data regularly, unpredictably, unintentionally, and for good

Download now

Get the best out of your workforce

7 steps to unleashing their true potential with robotic process automation

Download now

8 digital best practices for IT professionals

Don't leave anything to chance when going digital

Download now



Cloud fuels IBM’s first quarter of growth since 2018

22 Jan 2020

IBM doubles down on Red Hat independence

10 Jul 2019

Most Popular


How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

5 Feb 2020
artificial intelligence (AI)

AI identifies 11 earth-bound asteroids

18 Feb 2020
operating systems

How to fix a stuck Windows 10 update

12 Feb 2020

The top ten password-cracking techniques used by hackers

10 Feb 2020