If I had £500 to invest today in UK shares, where would I look? A lot of companies draw my attention. But there’s one in particular that I have my eye on at the moment and would consider buying.
That company is JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD). Here are three reasons I would consider adding it to my portfolio.
Proven business model
The company has proven its business model over the years. Its 2020 revenues of £6.1bn were 795% of the 2010 figure. Pre-tax profit of £349m was 567% of the 2010 level. That strong growth in a decade would be the envy of many retailers. At a time when online competition has hurt some competitors, JD has continued to perform well both in its physical estate of over 2,400 stores and online.
As well as the JD Sports brand itself, the company operates stores and webstores under a range of names. It has shops in markets across western Europe, the US and Southeast Asia. That gives it a wealth of understanding of emerging trends and customer needs, which I regard as a competitive advantage.
More recently, the pandemic has hit performance. But in its interim results it still reported a profit, albeit smaller than the prior year. That helps explain why these UK shares have risen 48% over the past year.
A UK share with demand headwinds
I think the company’s growth demonstrates its ability to benefit from shifts in customer demand. That is not by accident, but because it has focused on optimising its brand portfolio and product ranges. Sportswear can be fast-changing, but JD has stayed relevant.
I see considerable further growth drivers here. A move to more casual workwear while people worked from home during the pandemic could benefit the sportswear market if it persists. Additionally, a growing interest in outdoor activities from cycling to walking is also likely to boost demand in the coming years.
New business areas
While I like the company for its retail strength, I am attracted by its wider footprint too.
For example, JD runs a chain of gyms in the UK. It built critical mass last year by buying 50 gyms after their owner fell into administration.
Gym businesses often struggle to survive in economic downturns. So why would I be enthusiastic about JD’s “premium low-cost proposition that competes strongly with mid-market and premium gyms”? I see cross-selling opportunities between the retail business and gyms. I also think running gyms helps give JD a deeper understanding of its target customer base. With its proven retail prowess, I think that could help sustain its growth.
JD Sports share price risks
Spending £500 on a single share doesn’t offer diversification. I would only spend £500 on these UK shares because I already have other shares in my holdings which help me lower my risk by diversification.
There are still risks if I decide to buy JD Sports shares. One of these is the rise of Amazon. JD’s digital performance is strong, but it’s still a small operator compared to the global heft of Amazon. That could hurt profitability in the industry as a whole, affecting JD.