Despite historic problems and challenging prospects, JJB Sports is at a “turning point”, according to chairman Roger Lane-Smith.

The closure of 72 stores, the roll-out of a successful new store model, investment in training and own-brand development will all boost medium-term performance, he said.

JJB posted a 72 per cent fall in preliminary group profits to£10.8 million on flat sales of£811.8 million. The retail division’s operating profit fell from£60.3 million to£49.4 million.

Pali International noted: “Despite the work being done to close underperforming stores and revamp the rest, it is hard to get excited about the shares.”

Panmure Gordon said: “Management is taking decisive action. We expect to see tangible evidence of the improved product range and store presentation begin to emerge in the numbers over the next six months.”