Sales of camping and outdoor gear climb
Blacks Leisure has posted a 17 per cent surge in profits, driven by strong sales of hiking and camping equipment.

The retailer also announced it has poached Dollond & Aitchison chairman and chief executive Russell Hardy as its new chief executive. He will take up the post in January, replacing existing chief executive Roy Crosland, who is to retire.

Blacks reported pre-tax profits of£6.5 million in the six months to the end of August, compared with£5.6 million for the same period last year. The retailer's outdoor division performed well, with strong sales of waterproofs helping to offset weak trading of surfing gear. Turnover at the retailer increased 18 per cent to£138.6 million.

Blacks chairman David Bernstein was positive about the full year, but warned: 'As always, the Christmas trading period will be critical.'