JD Sports hands a lifeline to outdoor clothing retailer Millets


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The Independent Online

The death knell for outdoor clothing retailer Millets was silenced today as parent company JD Sports scrapped plans to wipe it from the high street.

Bosses had hoped to merge Millets with its outdoor leisure business Blacks, which it saved from administration last year, but now admit the decision was a failure.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill also revealed that JD Sports does not use controversial zero-hour contracts, at odds with its arch-rival Sports Direct, which was found to use the controversial contracts for its entire non-management workforce.

The revelations come as half-year pre-tax profits soared 111% from £2.9 million to £6.1 million on sales up 2% from £556 million to £567 million.

The boost was due to strong sales in JD Sports stores, although its outdoor and fashion brands including Bank and Scotts, made a loss.

On the decision to save Millets, Cowgill explained: “We decided they were both strong in their own right.

“When we closed a couple of stores in close proximity to each other the transfer of trader wasn’t as good as we had hoped for. Millets attracts a casual user and enthusiast and Blacks is for a more serious person who wants higher-end products.”

He also admitted  there had been overbuying in some areas such as winter coats which sold very well but had been bought in “excessively” large volumes which led to markdowns.