Outdoor clothing and equipment group Blacks intends to boost sales through new product categories as it bids to restore profitability.
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Chief executive Neil Gillis - who will leave this summer - said Blacks was assessing categories “supplementary” to the core ranges following the growth of its running and kidswear offers.
He said: “There’s plenty we could go for. Equestrian apparel is a poorly served market and cycling gear is an area we could get into.”
Gillis said Blacks was still actively looking for new stores. The 13 it opened last year accounted for 10% of the 308-store retailer’s turnover. He said: “Our existing portfolio has suffered from massive under-investment. We’re getting 35% return on investment from new stores, that’s where our capex will go.”
Blacks plans to exit the 50% of Millets stores for which leases end in the next five years and will seek to open new, larger, high street stores.
The retailer cut its losses from £14.4m to £5.3m in its financial year ending February 26.
Gillis said his successor Julia Reynolds, who joins from etailer Figleaves, was a “perfect fit” for the role, partly because of her experience in etail, which is growing rapidly at Blacks, and in own-brand.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if she got stuck into own-brand at Blacks,” said Gillis. “I’d expect to see lots of innovation there. And it’s great for margin.”