Blacks is to invest in new ranges and its store portfolio as it claims its restructure has placed the outdoor specialist in a stronger position for growth.
Blacks - which operates Blacks and Millets fascias - will launch a value line, a more fashionable line in collaboration with designer Zandra Rhodes and its first dedicated children’s range. All of the ranges will go into its Millets fascia.
Blacks chief executive Neil Gillis said he wanted to make the retailer more accessible, and the Rhodes collection fits with its aim to make Millets more fashion focused. “She will help us make our range more fashionable, interesting with bright glitzy designs,” he said.
The value range, in stores from March, will include clothing.
Prices are around starting prices of £15 for boots and £20 for outdoor jackets.
Gillis said the value line meant Millets could now compete head on with retailers such as Primark and Matalan, while the retailer also kept its high-end brands such as North Face and Helly Hansen. The kidswear range will also go into stores in March.
Following the administration of its Sandcity arm and closure of 87 stores through a company voluntary arrangement at the end of last year Gillis said that the group was finally in a stronger position.
Like-for-like sales grew 12% in the six months to January 7. Like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 7 were ahead 15.2%.
Trading was helped in part by the cold weather although Gillis said: “It is not as significant as people think because most people bought their jackets before the snow hit.” However, he said accessories such as gloves and thermalwear for under clothes had sold particularly well in recent weeks.
Blacks said it was also considering an equity fundraising of between £15m and £20m to help refresh some of its store portfolio.