May 5, 2020
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JD Sports blocks Boohoo non-exec director appointment

May 5, 2020

Boohoo has been forced to restart the search for a new non-executive director following JD Sports’ refusal to support the appointment of Kath Smith.

Kate Smith will not be joining the Boohoo board - JD Sports

Smith, who has been a non-executive director at JD Sports since May 2019,  was set to join the Boohoo board on 1 May.

In a stock exchange announcement, the Manchester-based fashion group said it was “disappointed to report that JD Sports Fashion Plc has withdrawn its consent for Kath Smith to join the Boohoo board”.

The fashion company behind Boohoo, Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing had previously praised Smith’s “commercial insight”. An industry veteran with 20 years of experience, she was previously the general manager and vice-president of The North Face in EMEA, and her career included roles like managing director of Adidas in the UK and Ireland and managing director of Reebok in North Europe.

Boohoo said it will seek “a suitable replacement as soon as possible”.

It remains unclear why JD Sports blocked her appointment, but recent years have seen Boohoo significantly expand its activewear range. As one of the UK’s largest fashion companies, its ascent to the top of the market and continued expansion could threaten JD’s dominance in the sports category.

Boohoo has also emerged as one of the winners of the coronavirus crisis. Last month, it revealed that it enjoyed a year-on-year increase in group sales in April, helped by a new focus on loungewear. In the year to 29 February, sales rose 44% to £1.23 billion.

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