• H1 operating loss down 18% to GBP7.1m
  • Sales down 23% to GBP90.6m
  • New stores performing “ahead of target”

Outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure Group narrowed its first half operating losses amid falling sales caused by the closure of 88 loss-making stores earlier this year.

The UK company said 12 new or rebranded stores opened in 2010 were performing ahead of target, and now accounted for about 10% of the group’s total sales.

Discussions were ongoing, it added, over the disposal of the group’s remaining ten boardwear stores.

“Whilst trading conditions have continued to be very challenging, we are pleased with the performance of our new stores, which are trading above our expectations, and with the progress made with our programme of initiatives to underpin and protect our position as the leading outdoor retailer in the UK,” said chief executive Neil Gillis.

“The board believes that the combination of these initiatives, together with the continued success of the new store roll-out, should enable the business to achieve completion of the turnaround programme.”