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Blacks expects losses to increase

Blacks Leisure says it expects losses to increase to £4.5m for the first half of the year.

The group said that like-for-like sales over the period were down 7.7% overall, but that the boardwear division had performed below expectations with like-for-likes diving 16.1%.

In a trading update this morning the group, which operates the Blacks, Millets and Freespirit chains, said that recent trading, especially August had been difficult and that losses before tax and exceptional items would be around £4.5m compared to £0.6m the previous year.

Blacks Leisure said that during the first half of the year, the outdoor business performed broadly in line with expectations, recording a like-for-like sales decrease of 5.2% against a strong comparative in he previous year of +5.6%.

The group said it was making good progress with cost savings in the business, with the level of savings to date ahead of expectations, with a year on year reduction of £5.6m already delivered. Stock levels are 12% below the same point last year.

The beginning of the second half has bee more encouraging, Blacks Leisure said, with September trading in line with expectations.

Millets has 260 stores, Blacks has 110 high street shops and Freespirit has 44 stores.

The group will report its interim results on October 31.

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