Blacks slips into the red

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The Independent Online

More than a third was wiped off the value of Blacks Leisure yesterday after the embattled outdoor specialist warned dire trading had prompted a "significant" jump in its debt, and forced it to extend its banking facility by £2m.

The operator of the Blacks and Millets chains also admitted it is considering "strengthening its capital structure" to expand the business, which could result in it launching a rights issue around its year end in February 2012 – depending on how well it trades over the crucial Christmas period.

Julia Reynolds, the former boss of the online lingerie retailer Figleaves, faces an uphill task when she takes over as Blacks' chief executive on 1 August from Neil Gillis, who is leaving to pursue a career in private equity.

"She will have her work cut out," said Nick Bubb, an analyst at Arden Partners.

"Blacks is still losing money and it is likely to go back to shareholders for more cash."

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