News

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.

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.

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.
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Day In a Page

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We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home