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A UK growth share I’d buy as the FTSE 100 overtakes 7,000 points!

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It’s been a spectacular week on UK share markets. Headline news is the FTSE 100’s fresh blast higher that’s taken it through 7,000 points again. This is the first time it’s broken through this significant barrier since the 2020 stock market crash took hold two Februarys ago.

Now I don’t think UK share investors should bet the house on the likelihood that the Footsie will keep soaring. Rising Covid-19 infections globally could cut the economic recovery off at the knees if it leads to more draconian social and travel restrictions. A fresh stock market crash could well be around the corner as a consequence.

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Still, this threat isn’t stopping me from buying certain FTSE 100 stocks. There are plenty of UK shares from Britain’s premier share index I think will continue to deliver big shareholder returns even if the economic recovery falters. JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) is one large-cap share near the top of my shopping list.

Strength in depth

Full-year results released last week from JD Sports reinforced my positive take on the fashion giant too. Its latest set of financials were remarkable as, despite mass store closures over the past year, revenues at the retailer still grew around 1% in the 12 months to March 2021.

JD Sports’s robustness is down to a number of factors. It has a strong online proposition that allowed it to combat Covid-19-related shop shutterings. The FTSE 100 firm has excellent brand strength, facilitated by the contracts it has with the world’s hottest sportswear companies, like Nike and Adidas, to stock the most cutting-edge fashions. And the ‘athleisure’ market in which JD Sports is such a retail heavyweight is growing at a stratospheric pace.

macro shot of computer monitor with FTSE 100 stock market data in trading application

A FTSE 100 firecracker

It’s easy to suggest that social restrictions have temporarily turbocharged demand for sweatpants, trainers, and other sports leisure products. Why splash out on uncomfortable clothing when you’re not going out socialising and possibly working from home, too?

It’s also important to remember that fashion trends can change on a whim. So while athleisure might be all the rage right now, sales at JD Sports could dramatically run out of puff. What’s more, rising investment from other major retailers like ASOS could take a significant bite out of JD Sports’s business.

In truth the athleisure end of the market has been ballooning for years now. And the good news for JD Sports is that demand for sportswear is tipped to keep exploding for some time yet. ResearchAndMarkets.com analysts think the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6% through to 2026.

What’s more, this FTSE 100 firm is expanding rapidly to exploit this booming market to the full. Last month it announced it was buying a 60% stake in Marketing Investment Group, an operator of some 400 sports fashion stores across Central and Eastern Europe. And a week later it finalised the takeover of US-based DTLR and its 200-odd shops to bolster its North American footprint. I think JD Sports has the tools to deliver huge shareholder returns for a long time to come.

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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Nike. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ASOS. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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