Sales and profits crash at the group
Blacks Leisure, the outdoor leisure equipment retail group that owns the Blacks, Freespirit, O'Neill and Millets fascias, has seen pre-tax profits for the six months to August 31 plummet, from£6.9 million to£100,000.

Sales at the group were up by 0.9 per cent from£140 million to£141.3 million, but like-for-like sales fell by 0.5 per cent. The company blamed unseasonal weather, 'weakness' at Millets and investment in new store space and infrastructure for the result. Like-for-like sales at Millets fell by 5.6 per cent over the period.

Blacks chairman David Berstein said: 'Our sales in the first half were affected by a tough retail environment, with the added impact of the World Cup in June and the hot, dry weather. Sales of camping products were weak during the period and we face strengthened competition in this sector.'

Evolution analyst Freddie George commented: 'I think [Blacks] is going to struggle to hit the forecast for the full year. On the other hand, it does look as if there is some activity on the takeover front - that could help. As for strategy, it doesn't look as if there is anything particularly new.'