JJB sales plunge 52% in "difficult" trading

JJB sports has reported a 52 per cent plunge in sales in the past six months, with the Christmas season failing to reverse its fortunes.

The struggling sports retailer has been trying to stage a fight back after it came close
to going into administration earlier in the year.

But the latest gloomy figures have been partly fuelled by a lack of stock as some suppliers
have snubbed the firm during its financial problems.

The chain’s like-for-like sales decline – which takes into account store closures – was 29 per cent.

A slight rally ended in the first three weeks of December when sales tumbled 32 per cent.

JJB made a loss of £42.9m in the first half of the year with tough competition from JD Sports
and Sports Direct taking its toll.

The company is hoping that its sale on 26 December will help to fuel a recovery.
JJB raised £100m from shareholders in a rights issue earlier this year in a bid to reduce its huge debt.

The Wigan-based group said that stock levels had improved but admitted the trading environment
“will remain difficult”. The levels will not return to where they want them until the first quarter of 2010.

JJB said in an Interim Management Statement: “We continue to be cautious about Christmas and New Year and expect that trading within the current environment will remain difficult.”