The situation worsened in the first half for Blacks Leisure Group, as sales declined and losses widened for the British outdoor and sporting goods retailer. The group's new management, led by Julia Reynolds, who joined the company as chief executive on Aug. 1, still sees clear potential for a turnaround but it announced the need for additional funding, which could involve a recapitalization of the business. In the 26 weeks to Aug. 27, the group booked a 6.6 percent decline sales to £81.1 million (€94.3m-$129.8m) from £86.8 million (€101.0m-$139.5m). On a comparable basis, the fall reached 7.2 percent. In the meantime, the gross margin slipped to 43.7 percent from 48.8 percent a year earlier due to the need to clear excess stock. The group recorded a loss before tax from continuing operations of £16.0 million (€18.6m-$25.6m) compared with a £7.2 million (€8.4m-$11.6m) loss a year earlier. The results do not include the board sports business, which has been discontinued. The company said that the strategy and business review undertaken by Reynolds is over and a new plan is being prepared and should be completed soon. The findings of the review are that the group's retail banners Millets and Blacks have to be repositioned to achieve greater differentiation. It sees significant opportunities in developing own-label merchandise to improve margins, especially for Millets. The group also sees greater potential in online retailing. Further details on Blacks in The Compass.

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