As expected JJB Sports figures this morning did not make pretty reading and although steps have been made to start turning the business around it is going to be a long uphill marathon rather than a quick sprint to recovery.

JJB Sports was brought to its knees and near collapse at the start of last year and brave attempts to rescue it were successful but the real hard work is what happens now.

After months and months of low stock levels JJB is hoping that re-stocked shelves will entice customers back in. Ambrian analyst Philip Dorgan says however that inexperienced buyers “over-bought and over-optioned the wrong products and put them in the wrong stores”.

After such a long period without good product in stores it will take a lot to win back customers and to build back confidence. JJB was voted one of the worst shops on the high street by Which? magazine today which shows despite the valiant effort of management and staff across the group the customer has still not been convinced.

Next month’s football World Cup will be a huge opportunity for JJB but may have come a little early in terms of the retailer being able to fully realise the potential of the event. With the Olympics on the horizon it also has another great chance to get its new “Serious about Sports” message across.

The group has started a major training programme for staff and has been looking at refreshing some stores which will be important in moving it as far away from possible from the Sports Direct offer.

New chief executive Keith Jones will have a big job convincing the City of its turnaround plans today and Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley will still be resting easy on the weakness of his competitor.

However with so many opportunities ahead for the sports sector there is a real place for JJB if it can shake of its difficult past and become the true competitor in the sportswear sector that is once was.

New Bond Street re-opening brings store format to the Next level

Next has just reopened its New Bond Street store which looks fresh, modern and a lot more open than the old store. It has extended into the basement with a substantial shoe department and upstairs has a new look tailoring area that really shows off its formal wear offer well. Next’s store format has really come on in the last few years and along with ever improving product Next is certainly making steps away from being just a middle of the road middle market retailer.s