Blacks turnaround hits JD profit

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JD Sports Fashion posted a fall in profits today as it admitted it will need more time to revive the ailing outdoor chain Blacks Leisure.

Following its £20m acquisition of the business in January, the group said it found Blacks in a “very fractured” state with a severe lack of stock in key lines and a bloated cost base.

It has already closed 81 of the worst performing stores but the £3.5m cost of restructuring and losses of £2.2m from the first three weeks of its ownership left its mark on results for the year to January 28.

While core operations such as its 355 JD Sports and Size? outlets in the UK have continued to perform well, the impact of recent acquisitions meant bottom-line profits fell 14 per cent to £67.4m.

JD said Blacks will continue to drag on earnings in the current financial year, rather than the neutral impact envisaged in January.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said the company was still evaluating the right size for the Blacks estate, which currently comprises 215 outlets.

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.”