JJB Sports’ like-for-like sales fell 5.3 per cent in its first quarter as trade remained challenging.

JJB said like-for-likes dropped 6.5 per cent in its retail stores and rose 5 per cent at its health clubs. Group revenue for the 13 weeks to April 27 was 8.3 per cent lower than the same time last year.

The JJB board said it remains confident about its strategy, but is also aware of the challenging retail environment. It also confirmed its 72-store closure programme.

JJB non-executive chairman Roger Lane-Smith said: “While the retail environment remains very challenging, we have taken significant action to strengthen our store portfolio and continue to invest to improve the quality of our stores and product. Our health club division continues to perform well.”