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JJB Sports sales plunge as Euro 2012 fails to lift trade

Sports retailer JJB Sports has experienced a sharp plunge in sales since its last update in April as the European Football Championships did not deliver the trading uplift expected.

Group like-for-like sales plunged 8% for the 22 weeks ending July 1. By the same date net debt was £15.4m.

JJB said: “The expected peak in sales in connection with sales of replica football kits and associated products generated from consumer interest in the European Football Championships did not materialise to the extent anticipated (and previously experienced with other major football championships).”

In an unscheduled trading update JJB Sports said sales for May and June had been down on the peak experienced in other football championships, while highly unseasonal weather had exacerbated the sales fall. “Consequently sales have fallen materially short of expectations,” it added.

A full update is expected at the retailer’s general meeting on July 19.

JJB also revealed it has appointed Bob Corliss, the chief executive of US clothing firm Robert Talbott, as deputy chairman to help drive the turnaround of the retailer, with a view to appointing him chairman from September 1.

He takes over the role from Mike McTighe on September 1, who has held the position after 20 “intense” months, said JJB.

McTighe has pulled the company through a “significant” restructuring of its cost base, a second company voluntary arrangement and three rounds of refinancing.

Corliss has held previous roles across the sports retail sector including a nine year stretch as vice president and chief executive of athletic footwear franchisor The Athlete’s Foot and he founded Infinity Sports, a manufacturer, distributor and licensor of athletic products.

Corliss said: “JJB has been through some difficult times yet it is clear that there is a real market opportunity for a national authentic sports retailer here in the UK.

“JJB can be that retailer and I’m energized by the prospect of leading the company through the next phase of its turnaround.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • The Euro's were proof, if it were ever needed, that JJB cannot possibly survive. Trying to turn JJB around is like trying to get a four year child to carry a dying elephant. It won't happen. Corliss an Co have bought into the whitest and sickest of elephants in JJB and are a mixture of being extremely naive, optimistic, foolish or indeed all three. This is a retailer that was and still is associated with chav culture and heavy discounting. It cannot function as a profitable business, only as a loss making exercise, therefore has no raison d'etre.

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