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JJB pins hope on World Cup boost as losses deepen

JJB Sports yesterday posted a pre-tax annual loss of £68.5m – treble the previous year.

The struggling retailer, which narrowly avoided administration, also saw sales slump 42 per cent to £372.5m in the year to 31 January. However JJB said trading had improved in its new financial year as stock for the World Cup and seasonal ranges was well received and it was hoping for a boost from sales driven by the World Cup.

It said sales at stores open over a year rose 7.5 per cent in the 16 weeks to 23 May and were up 19 per cent in May so far. Nevertheless John Clare, who was acting chairman and has now been given the post on a permanent basis, warned: “JJB’s recovery will be neither quick nor easy.”

JJB avoided administration last year by selling its fitness clubs for £83m and renewing a deal with creditors after a period of severe pressure.