Blacks Leisure, the retailer and wholesaler of outdoor and boardwear clothing, footwear and equipment, announced its trading performance over the Christmas and New Year period were satisfactory and, as a result, the Board anticipates that pre-tax profits for the year ended February 28, 2005 will be in line with current market expectations.

Like-for-like retail sales in the eight weeks ended January 15, 2005 were 6.2% ahead, with total retail sales increasing by 14.2% in the same period. For the second half-to-date, comp sales were up 9.4%, total sales increased by 16.4%, and gross margin was almost 1% lower than the year-ago period.

Russell Hardy, CEO, said, “Although Christmas trade was late arriving, a strong performance in the days immediately prior to Christmas and a very successful reaction to the Sale have produced strong growth in turnover. However, stock clearance activity particularly in boardwear and weak trading in O’Neill have led to the reduction in margin for the half year to date.”