Page last updated at 07:12 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 08:12 UK

JJB hit by 'retail recession'

JJB Sports store
Tough High Street conditions mean JJB is cautious about the future

JJB Sports has slumped to a loss blaming the "worst retail recession" it has ever known.

The retailer and health clubs group posted a £9.7m ($18m) loss for the six months to the end of July against an£8.3m profit at the same time in 2007.

The loss came as sales fell 5.6% to £344.7m at JJB. Two newly acquired businesses also made losses.

Looking ahead, the group said it remained very cautious about the future amid the current consumer slowdown.

"My non-executive board colleague David Jones formerly Chairman and CEO of Next Plc has described the current climate as 'the worst retail recession I have ever known'," chaiman Roger Lane-Smith said.

"I can only say that David's statement is borne out by our trading results as reported today."

Over the first half of the year the Wigan-based group has closed 96 stores and axed 700 jobs as it battles the current slowdown on the High Street.

The shake-up and introduction of more own-brands helped gross margin - a measure of profitability - at JJB's retail division improve from 50.8% last year to 51.7% this year.

"Looking ahead we remain very cautious about the outlook for retail given the background of a weakening consumer economy," Mr Lane-Smith added.

But chief executive Chris Ronnie insisted that management would stay "calm and focused" over the rest of this financial year.




SEE ALSO
JJB to pay replica shirt refunds
09 Jan 08 |  Business
JJB Sports acquires 10% of Umbro
19 Oct 07 |  Business
JJB profit warning on shirt sales
11 Sep 07 |  Business
JJB 'positive' despite sales drop
17 Jul 07 |  Business
JJB founder David Whelan sells up
08 Jun 07 |  Business
Price-fixing costs hit JJB profit
12 Apr 07 |  Business

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