Blacks Leisure hopes that the ongoing exit from its boardwear business and the increasing trend for people to holiday in the UK will help secure its future.
In the year to February 28 Blacks made an adjusted pre-tax loss of £6.8m, compared with an adjusted pre-tax profit of £300,000 last year, as its boardwear division, continued to hit group performance. It is now converting stores to its outdoor fascias, Blacks and Millets, which have been profitable.
The new financial year got off to an encouraging start. Total sales for the 12 weeks to May 23 rose 4.6 per cent as a result of store disposals and like-for-like sales at its outdoor division advanced 1.2 per cent.
Blacks chairman David Bernstein said: “The first-half outlook will depend on the key second quarter and the success of our camping and summer clothing lines.”
Seymour Pierce analyst Kate Heseltine said that Blacks’ outdoor division continued to show encouraging signs of improvement.
Blacks now hopes to accelerate its exit of its boardwear division. The retailer has secured a £35m facility with Lloyds until August 31 while it attempts to put its finances on a better footing but admitted there was a risk that it could not have continued as a going concern without it.
Seymour Pierce still described Blacks as an “attractive” proposition if financing can be agreed. “Particularly if successfully streamlined down to the outdoor division, which has potential for growth,” said Heseltine.