Sporting goods retailer JJB Sports said sales at all its new concept stores opened over the past year have increased by at least 20%, with the new format helping to re-energise the JJB brand. 

Sales at the company's flagship Trafford Centre store in Manchester are up almost 50% year on year, with its 34 other new stores reporting sales increases of at least 20%.

The so-called 'new era' stores arose from a regeneration plan for JJB's UK store portfolio led by CEO Chris Ronnie, alongside plans to close 72 underperforming stores.

JJB said its new stores have different layouts, "more targeted staff training and development and enhanced IT systems".

JJB Sports associate director of retail operations Phil Swaine said: "What is extremely promising for us is that even within the current climate every single one of our new-era stores is outperforming on last year.

"The new-era concept has fulfilled all our expectations; it has completely re-energised the JJB Sports brand and breathed new life and enthusiasm into every employee."

JJB plans to refurbish over 30 of its older stores to the 'new era' concept during 2009, with eight new stores to open in the first quarter of next year.

The retailer announced shock first-half losses of GBP9.7m (US$17m) in September and rival retailer Sports Direct has since snapped up a GBP3.4m stake in JJB, representing a 5% share in the business.