Blacks Leisure suppliers have been building stakes in the outdoor retailer in what has been seen as a defensive move to block any further bid approaches from Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley.

Brand house Pentland has this week built up a 5% stake in Blacks, while VF Corporation, which owns North Face, built a 5% stake earlier this year.

Ashley made a bid for Blacks in February, but pulled out again over supplier concerns in April. It was reported at the time that, if his bid had been successful, many brands would have boycotted the chain.

Blacks last week agreed a £20m fundraising to invest in new stores and refreshing its portfolio.

Sports Direct blocked the initial fundraising bid.

However, last week Ashley did not take up any new shares and Sports Direct’s stake was diluted from 29% to 14.5%, a non-controlling stake, which many commentators see as the sports tycoon hoisting a white flag.

Seymour Pierce retail analyst Freddie George said that Blacks was now focusing on improving staff training and refurbishing its estate, which has largely been left untouched for years.

“We are assuming that the company will incur a pre-tax loss in 2010/11 of £2m, as against the previous forecast of breaking even.

“But we are not making any changes to our 2011/12 pre-tax profit forecasts (before adjustment for the share placing) of £1.5m,” said George.