Blacks sales in festive rise

BLACKS Leisure said it had been boosted by sales over the festive period with total sales in its outdoor business up 12.9 per cent in December.

Blacks confirmed that it is still in talks with parties – which it has not named – about a possible takeover of the company.

Like-for-like sales were up 10.2 per cent last month boosted by the recent sub-zero temperatures. At the peak of Christmas trading, the retailer was selling 10 winter jackets and four pairs of boots every minute.

The company, which runs the Blacks Outdoor and Millets chains, appointed McQueen as adviser in October to assess a number of unsolicited approaches.

Blacks expects to make a pre-tax loss of £2m in 2010-11 before breaking-even in 2011-12.

Chief executive Neil Gillis said: “The group has performed strongly during the key Christmas trading period highlighting the strength of our offering.The turnaround programme remains on track and we enter the New Year in a positive financial position and focused on continuing to deliver the benefits of the turnaround strategy.”

Blacks came close to administration in 2009 before striking a rescue deal with creditors that saw it close over 100 stores.

JEFF KEATING CLIVE BAKER

SINGER CAPITAL MCQUEEN

SINGER Capital Markets was appointed Blacks’ adviser in August 2009 and worked on its £20m share placement in February 2010.

It advises small and mid-cap growth companies and has built up a strong reputation in the retail sector. The team on the Blacks transaction is led by Jeff Keating (pictured, left) and Jos Trusted.

Blacks appointed McQueen, a retail and leisure-focused financial advisory firm, in October 2010.

Financial veteran Clive Baker (pictured, right) co-founded McQueen in 2002 after 19 years at corporate finance house Hawkpoint.