Page last updated at 06:40 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 07:40 UK

Surfer brands stretch Blacks loss

Tent and jacket

Blacks Leisure has reported an annual pre-tax loss of £14.4m for the year to the end of February after a "difficult" time on the High Street.

Restructuring costs and a string of write-offs valued at £7.6m contributed to much of the loss, the firm said.

While sales at Blacks and Millets were "sound", it said that its snowboarding and surfboarding equipment stores, FreeSpirit and O'Neill, had struggled.

Blacks is converting some boardwear stores into outdoor goods shops.

The firm, whose head office is in Northampton, also trades under the Mambo and Animal brands.

It said like-for-like sales - which ignore store openings and closures - since March had risen by 1.2% at its Blacks and Millets stores, but had fallen by 10.1% at the boardwear outlets.

It said its prospects would depend on the success of its camping and summer clothes ranges.

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