Ever since high street sports chain JD Sports brought struggling outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure (which includes the Millets chain) out of administration last January, the acquisition has weighed heavily on the business.
JD Sports’ outdoor division made a loss of £14.9m in the year to February (its latest annual results), and the retailer warned today that its struggling outdoor brand is expected to drag on profits into the next year.
‘We expect the outdoor [division] to make a substantial but significantly reduced loss in the current year with the biggest improvement coming in the second half,’ the company said.
Bury-based JD Sports has already admitted that the challenge of reviving the Blacks business, which it bought out of administration for £20m in January 2012, has been tougher than expected.
It has closed more than 120 stores in the last year as it looks to slash a high rent bill by targeting an estate of around 140 outlets.
Elsewhere in the business, JD Sports said trading in sports fashion, the company’s core business, remained robust. Like-for-like sales of tracksuits, trainers and those ubiquitous replica football shirts were up 7% in the 18 weeks to 8 June.
JD Sports has previously warned about the impact of ‘multiple economic pressures’ on its business, although it hasn’t been the only sportswear retailer to suffer. In October 2012, rival chain JJB Sports – once the UK's largest seller of sportswear – went into administration, making 2,200 staff redundant, although administrators managed to save 550 jobs after selling part of the business to Sports Direct.