JD Sports chooses Sharp Project for £2m digital base

The sports fashion retailer is to locate its multi-channel content and production team at Manchester's Sharp Project.

The Bury-based company has taken 10, 400 sq ft of production space at the digital content production complex in Manchester. The company signed a 15-year lease on the Stage 02 unit for a permanent base.

Incorporated into the space is a new mezzanine floor which will accommodate 58 staff including photographers and designers who will relocate from the Pilsworth headquarters in September.

The team will deliver multi-channel content across a dozen of the group's brands to service the global multi-channel business. As well as the mother brand, JD, marketing material will be produced at the Sharp Project for Size?, Bank, Scotts, Tessuti, Blacks, Millets, Ultimate Outdoors and Foot Patrol. The Sharp Project has been chosen for the investment due to the presence of other creative and digital businesses based in the building, with which the creative team at JD are keen to engage and work.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports Fashion, said: "This is a very exciting step for us. Multi-channel is a significant growth area for us and a key strategic priority. Taking this facility at the Sharp Project means we can facilitate our rapid growth and future demands while still keeping it local. We are combining all of our content, photography, design and production into a single multi-channel team. We are a forward looking company and taking permanent production space is an innovative approach for a retailer that enables us to be much more self-sufficient and productive. It will help us keep ahead of the competition."

Cllr Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "It's great to have a worldwide business base themselves at the Sharp Project making a significant investment into their presence on site. The creative and digital sector in Manchester is going from strength to strength and the Sharp Project has been a big part of that story and continues to deliver opportunities for local people."

Rose Marley, chief operating officer at the Sharp Project, said: "We're entering a new phase as the stages at the Sharp Project shift from being drama based to being the home of commercial content production. JD Sports Fashion is keen to infuse with the building's ecology, bringing fantastic opportunities for our tenants with specialist skills. They will also be looking for local talent, creating employment and apprentice opportunities for Manchester people."

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