JJB reports sharp fall in sales
Struggling sportswear retailer JJB Sports said its trade fell short of management expectations in May and June as sales of replica football kits during the European Football Championships were lower than anticipated.
The group had previously reported that trading in the nine weeks ending 1 April had broadly met management expectations but said today that group like-for-like sales for the 22 weeks ending 1 July fell by 8%.
JJB said the disappointing sales performance had been further exacerbated by the poor early summer weather, which had adversely impacted sales of seasonal products. Consequently sales had fallen "materially short of expectations". As at 1st July 2012 net debt was £15.4 million.
The group said a full trading update would be given at the time of its AGM on 19 July.
In a separate statement, JJB announced the appointment of Bob Corliss as its deputy chairman as it looks to accelerate the turnaround of the business.
Following a short handover Corliss will become chairman on 1 September 2012, succeeding Mike McTighe.
Currently president and CEO of US menswear retailer Robert Talbott, Corliss is a former president and CEO of footwear retailer The Athlete's Foot. He has also been president and CEO at Herman's Sporting Goods where he managed the successful turnaround and eventual sale of the business.
Commenting on the appointment Mike McTighe said: "I am excited that we have attracted someone of Bob's calibre and experience to lead the company through the next phase of its turnaround. His deep US and European sports retailing background is exactly what we require right now."
Corliss added: "JJB has been through some difficult times yet it is clear that there is a real market opportunity for a national authentic sports retailer here in the UK. JJB can be that retailer and I'm energized by the prospect of leading the company through the next phase of its turnaround."
Jon Copestake, Chief Consumer Goods Analyst, Economist Intelligence Unit commented: "While "lower expectations" was a much used phrase during England's Euro 2012 performance, JJB would have benefited from a more optimism among football fans. Certainly the muted national mood will have hit football related merchandising in a crucial period where demand for football products fall ahead of next season's kit release. However, the weather will certainly have been a key driver here too. Sports retailers are certainly more vulnerable to the conditions which will have impacted on outdoor activities. JJB will hope that the planned impetus in sales relating to the Olympics materialises to make up for the Euro 2012 shortfall."
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