Blacks leisure suffers sale blow
Friday 16 December 2011
Blacks Leisure's hopes of staving off collapse were dealt a blow today when its biggest shareholder Sports Direct withdrew its interest in buying the UK's biggest outdoor retailer.
The stricken firm, which owns 98 Blacks outlets, 208 Millets stores and the Peter Storm and Eurohike brands, put itself up for sale earlier this month as it struggles under a £36 million debt pile amid dire trading.
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's Sports Direct chain, which owns 22.5% of Blacks, had said it was among the interested parties but today ruled itself out.
As Blacks' biggest shareholder, Sports Direct had been seen as the most likely to step in to rescue the ailing retailer, having already tried to buy the company last year.
Some retail analysts believed Sports Direct, which has challenged Blacks in recent months with its discount outdoor brands Karrimor and Field & Trek, will only purchase the business or its brands through administration.
However, Blacks said earlier this week that Sports Direct was one of a number interested parties, so there is still some hope of a rescue from elsewhere.
Blacks put itself up for sale after failing to secure extra funding to turn around the business, which would have included a revamp of its stores.
It admitted it was unlikely to offer value to shareholders as its debts far exceed its market value of £1.9 million. The stock has tumbled more than 95% since the start of the year.
Blacks made a £16 million loss in the first half of the year and recently warned that its full-year performance would be worse than expected.
It was hit by the warm weather in October and November as much of its clothing is aimed at harsher conditions, such as fleeces and waterproof jackets.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics released yesterday revealed a 0.4% fall in sales volumes in November, heaping more pressure on the high street which is already being pummelled by the squeeze in spending.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 MH370: 'Putin ordered plane to be flown to Kazakhstan space port,' conspiracy theory claims
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...