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A chain of electrical stores under the Comet name is to be launched in a bid to fill the gap in the market left by the now-defunct retailer.

Sports float setback

Sports Division, the fast-growing sports retailer, has formally abandoned plans to seek a stock market listing this year due to City concerns over weak high street spending and a slowdown in top brand sportswear such as Nike and Adidas.

The investment column: Blacks in the top league

LIKE all sports retailers Blacks Leisure has been affected by the shift in sentiment as fears have grown about over-supply and weakening demand. Blacks shares, which enjoyed meteoric growth in 1996 and early 1997, fell sharply in March as investors took fright. Yet demand is still predicted to grow albeit at a slower rate. The concerns relate more to the amount of new space being added by the major chains, particularly JJB Sports and Sports Division.

Market report: Clarification on disposals drags BTR down

BTR, the conglomerate seeking to become a focused engineer, yesterday finished off what had become an increasingly hesitant share revival.

Rugby League: Super League follows Aussies

THE third season of Super League received a double boost yesterday with the announcement of record prize-money for the winners and reassurance that there will be a full complement of 12 teams competing for it.

Market Report: Bulmer leaps further on rumours of French interest

MENTION cider, and you conjure up warm images of farmers, orchards and the rolling hills of the West Country. Unless you happen to be talking to an investor, in which case cider is synonymous with sliding share prices.

The Investment Column: Sportswear boom could be over

IS IT time to call the turn on sports retailers? Companies like JJB Sports and Blacks Leisure have enjoyed exponential growth on the back of the popularity of replica football shirts and the power of brands like Nike, Reebok and Adidas.

Sports Division float threatened by retail gloom

SPORTS DIVISION, the sports retailer, is considering postponing its pounds 350m flotation because of the recent slowdown in sales on the high street. There is a crunch meeting later this week between the company and its advisers where they will decide how best to proceed.

The Investment column: JD Sports loses out to rivals

John David Sports isn't the worst new issue of the last couple of years. But it's close. Priced at a top of the range 285p when it came to the market in October 1996, shares in the sports retailer have been a disaster. Yesterday's grim trading statement, showing collapsing sales and stock problems, dragged the shares down a further 16.5 per cent to a new low of 109p. Investors must be livid with John Wardle and David Makin, the two founders who netted a cool pounds 13m apiece from the float.

Festive sales surge lifts gloom from the high street

Fears that higher interest rates would lead to a poor Christmas for retailers have been allayed by a crop of upbeat trading statements from stores groups. Most show that while December started slowly, shops were rescued by a late surge in consumer spending in the final days before Christmas. Nigel Cope and Andrew Yates report on yet another year when shoppers left it late.

JJB Sports staff reap pounds 4.5m

Thirty four workers at JJB Sports, the sports retailer, have made a paper fortune of pounds 4.5m between them on share options granted at the time of the company's stock market flotation.

The Investment Column: Blacks boosts its performance

Blacks Leisure Group, the sports equipment and fashion retailer, has been something of a sporting success for investors. The shares have outperformed the sector by nearly 20 per cent in the past year, though at 442.5p, up 5.5p yesterday, they are still some way off the heady 549p reached in the early summer.

JJB Sports plans to expand in the South

JJB Sports unveiled an ambitious expansion plan in the South yesterday as continued buoyant trading in branded sportswear helped the Wigan-based retailer report doubled half-time profits and a 50 per cent jump in the interim dividend.

The Investment Column: JJB Sports keeps up the pace

JJB Sports, possibly the best managed of the specialist sports retailers to list in recent years, boasts an extraordinary record of earnings and share price growth. Over the past five years it has failed to grow earnings by more than 40 per cent just once.
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