Blacks Leisure has reported that its half-year losses have widened, but the group is making “good progress” with its turnaround plan.

The outdoor retailer has reported a pre-tax loss for the 26 weeks to August 30 of£6.7 million, against£3 million in the same period the previous year. Sales were down to£133 million, from£145.8 million the previous year.

The retailer – which is still in its first year of turnaround under chief executive Neil Gillis – said outdoor retail sales were in line with expectations, recording a 5.2 per cent decline.

Blacks chairman David Bernstein said: “During the first half, the group made good progress with the initial phase of its turnaround plan against a background of a mixed trading performance. The performance was achieved despite the negative impact of weak trading towards the end of July and most of August.”

The group’s boardwear business performed below expectations, with like-for-like sales falling 16.1 per cent. It is currently reviewing the strategic options relating to the boardwear business.

In the period between August 31 and October 29, like-for-like sales decreased 0.8 per cent, with outdoor increasing by 4.5 per cent and boardwear falling 26.6 per cent. Total retail sales were down 3.3 per cent.

Gillis said: “As we go into our critical second half, we are confident that the turnaround plan is beginning to deliver and we have seen encouraging results so far in September and October. However, we are mindful of the fact that this turnaround is being undertaken in the midst of a consumer recession, so we will need to continually examine opportunities to drive the business even harder.”