JJB Sports’ latest trading update did little to cheer the City despite some signs of improvement.

Like-for-like sales at the beleaguered sports retailer plummeted 28% in the 52 weeks to January 2010. JJB said its stock position on January 24 was £74m, up from £50m at the half-year end and that it would be fully stocked by April 2010.

Investec analyst Katharine Wynne said: “JJB remains a recovery story with substantial scope to improve profits, but much depends on management’s ability to recover in-store footfall.”

This may be no easy task for incoming chief executive Keith Jones, said Ambrian Partners analyst Philip Dorgan, who believes the brand is “badly bruised”.

He said: “The relaunch of ‘Serious about Sport’ could take the company back to its previous heights. But this seems a tad simplistic.

“JJB’s sales improvement merely represents the mathematical effect of re-stocking. We don’t think the consumer will rush back into stores.”

Sir David Jones has stepped down as JJB chairman due to ill health, and former DSGi chief executive John Clare will stand in as acting chairman.