JJB Sports posts loss of £181m

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IT could take beleaguered JJB Sports another five years to get back on its feet.

That was the warning from company chiefs today as they published annual figures which showed that full-year losses had rocketed to £181m.

But, they added, the firm, which has been through major financial and corporate restructuring, was where they expected to be at present.

The Martland Mill-based retailer, which was rescued by a deal with landlords in March, has raised tens of millions of extra pounds.

It took itself off the main stock market and recently announced the loss of 68 jobs at head office.

It plans to revamp 150 stores over the course of the year, following a big rise in profit and sales at pilot outlets.

However, it said a full recovery would take three to five years in a tough business environment, with consumer spending under pressure from rising prices and austerity measures.

JJB Sports chairman Mike McTighe said: “Since the period end, a great deal has From Page 1

taken place. We have delivered two further fundraisings and agreed a significant CVA with our landlords. That gives the company a real chance of recovery.

“However, this is the beginning of the hard work and not the end.

“The financial restructuring was completed on schedule by the end of April, and since then the operational restructuring has progressed well. Underperforming stores have closed, and headcount and operating costs have been significantly reduced.

“While the sales environment remains challenging, management’s prudent controls mean that business performance in the first quarter met the board’s expectations.

“The restructuring of JJB will not be easy or quick and will most likely take three to five years.

“The retail environment is challenging, will remain so for some time and we face intense competition. But the work undertaken over the past six months, together with the crucial support of all our stakeholders have given JJB a chance to survive and ultimately to prosper and I look forward to working with our management team to make this happen.”

JJB shares, which have lost about 90 per cent of their value over the past four years, the business currently being valued at about £75m.