Blacks gets new chief and £35m bank boost
Thursday 05 May 2011
The outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure boosted its recovery today byunveiling much-reduced losses and the appointment of a new chief executive. The Northampton-based group, which has 308 stores, also announced that it had secured banking facilities worth £35m for the next 18 months.
Its restructuring efforts, which have included the closure of loss-making stores, helped cut losses to £5.3m from £43.6m in the year to 26 February, but Blacks admitted that recent trading had been difficult.
With the current dry spell adding to pressure on the high street, Blacks said sales levels in the new financial year were below expectations.
Despite the warning, shares in the company opened higher yesterday as the Millets owner confirmed that its new boss will be Julia Reynolds, the highly regarded chief executive of online retailer Figleaves and a former Tesco executive.
Neil Gillis, who is stepping down as chief executive after three years in the role, said Blacks was now a more focused business with significantly reduced overheads and a better format for its new stores.
He added: "The business is now well placed to move from turnaround to recovery with a focus on outstanding retailing to restore it to a leadership position within outdoor retail."
Mr Gillis has overseen the closure of 88 loss-making stores as part of a rescue deal with landlords in 2009, as well as the roll-out of new stores in locations better suited to the Blacks format. He pointed out that the 13 new stores opened during the last financial year accounted for around 10 per cent of the company's turnover in the period.
The new banking facility with Bank of Scotland will run until July and will be automatically extended to November if the new chief executive joins the company before the end of September.
As well as the core facility of up to £35m, a further £3m will be available during seasonal peaks.
Shares in Blacks Leisure closedup 11.7 per cent, or 1.63p at 14.25p, valuing the company at £13m.
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
First-time buyers in London 'need to earn at least £77,000'
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...