JJB Sports Plc announced plans to close 72 of its 410 stores and cut 800 jobs while reporting an expected 28.5% slump in fiscal 2007 underlying pretax profit. The U.K.-based sports retailer and health clubs group also revealed a disappointing start to its new year, with comp sales down 3% and gross margin nearly 100 basis points lower over the seven weeks to March 16.
For the year ended Jan. 27, JJB earned a profit before tax and exceptional items of £33.8 million ($75 million) – in line with recent guidance but down from £47.2 million ($94 million) the prior year. After taking a £25 million ($49.8 million) restructuring provision for the store closure program, pre-tax profit crashed 71.9% to £10.8 million ($21.3 million.) Full-year revenue was up 0.2% at £811.8 million ($1.6 billion).
JJB also announced that David Greenwood, the group's finance director for the last 30 years, will step down at the end of the month but remain as company secretary until July 27. He will be succeeded as finance director by David Madeley, the current commercial director.