Blacks Leisure Group, the UK outdoor specialty chain, said talks about
its possible sale were continuing and that fourth quarter trading was
as expected, despite a poor performance from its boardwear unit.

“Active discussions regarding a potential offer for the group are
continuing and remain at an early stage,” Chief Executive Neil Gillis
said in a trading statement on Wednesday.

Blacks, which has 428 stores selling camping equipment, outdoor
clothing and surf wear, said its outdoor business had performed well
since Christmas despite tough conditions in the retail market.

However, the group, which is in the second year of a turnaround plan
under Gillis, said its boardwear business — 53 Freespirit, Mambo,
Animal and O'Neill shops — continued to “trade poorly.”

Late last year, Blacks said it would consider selling boardwear but has
since decided to convert the shops into outdoor stores and has made
eight conversions so far this year.

The company also said it expects to incur an exceptional charge of
around 1.7 million pounds ($2.39 million) due to its exit from
boardwear and a further 3.2 million pounds because of store closures.