Blacks Leisure is considering an equity fundraising of between £15m and £20m as sales in its second half began to improve on the back of its restructuring.

The fundraising would be used to refresh the group’s existing stores and selectively expand some of its fascias.

In its last quarter Blacks closed 87 loss-making stores and put its Sandcity business into administration. Excluding the stores it has now closed the group said like-for-like sales in the six month to January 7 grew 12%.

Total group sales for the outdoor specialist were down to £98.9m compared to £102m for the same period the year before, the fall largely as a result of the store closures and Sandcity administration.

It added that Christmas sales were strong with like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 7 ahead 15.2%. Some of the uplift has been attributed to the cold weather but Blacks said that since the restructuring plan began to be implemented in September like-for-like sales have been ahead of last year.

Blacks chief executive Neil Gillis said: “I am pleased to announce that the Group performed very strongly through its peak trading period, with a healthy and consistent recovery in like-for-like sales growth underlining both the fundamental strength of the Group’s offering and the recovery potential of the core estate following the approval of the CVAs in late 2009.”

He added: “Proceeds from the potential fundraising being announced today would allow us to accelerate the roll-out of our successful new retail formats, refreshing our estate and expanding it on a selective basis as we focus on realising the potential of the Group’s market leadership position in outdoor retail.  Following the restructuring measures taken in 2009, Blacks Leisure is now a significantly stronger business and is better placed than it has been for some years to build on this recovery.”