OUTDOOR retailer Blacks Leisure today said the recent Arctic weather conditions boosted its turnaround plans as consumers snapped up jackets, scarves and hats.
The cold snap helped increase like-for-like sales in its outdoor business by 10.2 per cent in the key trading period of December, despite a strong set of comparative figures the previous year.
The company, which owns the Blacks and Millets brands, said the December performance lifted overall group like-for-like sales for the half-year to the end of December to a decline of just 0.1 per cent.
It is in talks with parties interested in buying all or parts of the business, but has insisted it will return to profit if a merger fails to go through.
As part of its turnaround plans, the retailer has closed many of its loss-making stores, leaving it with a core estate of about 300, introduced a loyalty card and recruited a team of 19 outdoor experts to advise customers.
It has revamped 12 stores, which now account for 10% of its sales, and plans to open another outlet next month.
Chief executive Neil Gillis said: "The group has performed strongly during the key Christmas trading period highlighting the strength of our offering in what continues to be a challenging retail market."