Outdoor specialist retailer Blacks Leisure will target market towns for its eponymous, Millets and Freespirit stores as part of new chief executive Neil Gillis’s turnaround plan.

Gillis sees opportunities in such towns, where the retailer is under-represented at present.

Blacks’ profits before tax and exceptionals rose to£300,000 in the year to March 1, versus£100,000 last year. An overall pre-tax loss of£9.3 million was reported, compared with a loss of£13.8 million last year.

“Current trading is down 4 per cent as, last year, there was heavy stock clearance. However, profits are up,” said Gillis. “We are now looking at consistent good value rather than lots of discounting.”

Blacks’ full-year results revealed sales down 1 per cent to£294.4 million. This was affected by a£2 million accountancy discrepancy at its Sandcity division.

For the current financial year, Dresdner Kleinwort analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi said: “We look for a broadly flat sales position, which seems optimistic at this stage, but could be achievable given the operational improvements Neil Gillis has been quick to make.”