UK sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion said it had continued its global expansion with a joint venture deal to enter the South Korean market. 

JD said its agreement was with footwear retailer Shoemarker and its J&S Partners unit, which currently trades as Hot-T. 

The firm has purchased an initial 15% of Hot-T for £5.5m and has a call option to buy a further 35% stake following the finalisation of Hot-T's year to December 31 2017 accounts. 

JD said it intends to exercise the option and re-brand the Hot-T stores as JD, though the business would continue to be operationally run by its existing management team. 

Hot-T has 23 stores and a website. Its revenue in 2016 was about £17.2m.

JD, which published record half year results on Tuesday, currently operates in the UK, Ireland, France and Spain. 

Analysts said it was not a major surprise that South Korea has become the latest country to attract JD’s interest. They added that they believe JD could expand further into Asia and possibly eventually enter the US.

Shares in JD have risen by 30% over the last year.