Millets stores face the axe
Blacks Leisure will close about 45 loss-making stores after it revealed sales will be flat for the year to February.

The retailer said these closures relate mainly to small, overlapping or acquired stores, which are predominantly of the Millets fascia.

These closures will result in an exceptional provision in the financial year to February of about£14 million, of which£3.5 million is expected to be a cash outlay during the financial year to February 2008.

The outdoor retailer has reviewed the Blacks out of Town store opening programme, which will now be limited to just two openings scheduled for the financial year to February 2008. The group said it will 're-commence the growth of this format where appropriate'.

Blacks is in the midst of thorough operational review that is focusing on enhancing 'products, pricing and customer proposition' across all its fascias. To assist in this, non-executive director Don Trangmar will relinquish his present position and take up the role of consultant to the commercial and product development teams, on a part-time executive director basis.

Trangmar worked for Marks & Spencer until 1998 and has spent the past 15 years as a main board director.

Blacks Leisure chief executive Russell Hardy said: 'We remain confident that our market leadership in the growing outdoor market, combined with our rebalanced ranges for 2007 and the operational measures announced today will help drive a significantly improved performance for the next financial year.'