Blacks blocks profit drain

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The Independent Online

Blacks Leisure Group, owner of Black's camping stores and First Sport, pulled back from miserable interim losses after trimming its distribution operation.

The company turned in a full year profit of pounds 1.2m for the year ending February 1995 compared with a pre-tax loss of pounds 53,000 at the interim stage. Turnover for the year rose 8.8 per cent to pounds 56.6m.

The main drain from Blacks over the last two years has been from Quaser, its soccer footwear distribution business, hit hard in the UK by foreign brands competing for a finite market. Chief executive Simon Bentley said losses from Quaser would be substantially reduced following the sale of its UK distribution business to Gilbert Bros in May 1994, resulting in an operating profit of pounds 0.1m compared to a loss of pounds 0.5m for the 1993/94 period. Shorn of Quasar in the UK, turnover increased by 27.8 per cent to pounds 17.1m.

The pounds 2.5m business will be restricted to design and sourcing of products as well as servicing the company's 15 distributors and licensees abroad.