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Blacks like-for-like sales fall 7.5%

Like-for-like sales fell 7.5% at sports retailer Blacks Leisure in the 17 weeks to June 26.

Sales were £53.9m compared to £76.9m for the same period last year, which included sales from stores now closed following the retailer’s Company Voluntary Arrangement in December, resulting in the closure of 107 stores.  

The outdoor specialist said that its fall in sales came primarily from a tough trading period in May. However, it said that the group had been able to increase gross margin by 1.1 percentage points for the period.

Blacks has also announced the appointment of a new non-executive director, former JJB Sports chief executive Tom Knight. Knight also worked as an executive director for Blacks until 2002.

Blacks, which has its AGM later today, said that the stores it had opened since its restructure had performed well, on average 39% above the rest of its portfolio. It will open eight more stores before the end of its current financial year, helped by its fund raising earlier in the year through placing and open offer, which raised £19.7m.

Blacks said: “Despite the adverse trading conditions in May the board is encouraged by the progress on the new store programme and confident that the plans for the critical winter trading period are well advanced.”

Initiatives that Blacks are implementing this year include a customer loyalty card and a new store training programme. It also said it would bring in a range of branded lines that would be exclusive to the retailer.

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