We won't make Blacks trendy, JD Sports vows
Friday 13 April 2012
Peter Cowgill, the chief executive of JD Sports Fashion, had a Corporal Jones-style "don't panic" message yesterday for customers of Blacks Leisure, which he picked up for £20m from the administrators in January.
"Reports that I am going to make Blacks really trendy are quite untrue," Mr Cowgill said. "There'll be no loud music blasting at you. We will stay true to the core values of Blacks, but make the [customer] experience better."
JD Sports' sales topped £1bn for the first time in the year ended in January. When it first floated in 1996 sales were just £56m. Headline profits before exceptionals fell 7 per cent to £76m on revenues up 20 per cent at £1.06bn.
Mr Cowgill said: "That was a pretty good result given the tough trading conditions, the hike in VAT and early losses at Blacks. But there are positive signs, particularly from our European businesses."
Blacks lost £2.2m in the single month JD Sports owned it, and will probably continue to make losses in the first half. JD has already shut 70 loss-making Blacks stores, leaving it with 220, most of which Mr Cowgill hopes to keep, depending partly on how negotiations with landlords over new rental deals go.
He added: "We inherited a limited and unbalanced stock position, with a particularly severe lack of stocks in many core high-performing lines. The management team is investing a significant amount of time on developing relationships with the key brands and getting stocks flowing again."
Mr Cowgill is not holding his breath over increased demand for sportswear triggered by the Olympics or UEFA finals. He said: "The jury is out on them. But the reality will probably be that any gains we make in some areas will be lost because some stores will be hit by transport disruption or lack of access during the Games."
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...