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Gone baby gone

Blacks Wednesday

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Consumer led recovery...


Blacks Leisure to close 89 stores, axe 50 HQ jobs

* Job losses represent 20 pct of head office staff

* More restructuring needed

* Stock flat

LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - British outdoor goods retailer Blacks Leisure (BSLA.L) plans to close 89 loss-making stores and axe about 50 head-office jobs, it said on Wednesday, as part of a recovery plan it hopes will win the support of its banks.

The firm, which has over 400 stores including the Blacks Outdoor and Millets chains, said the job losses represented about 20 percent of headcount at its head office in Northampton, central England, and that it still had more restructuring to do.

Blacks said earlier this month it expected to breach its lending arrangements after worse than expected trading at its surfwear business and at loss-making stores.

It said Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) had agreed to freeze its lending agreements until Nov. 30, on condition it comes up with an acceptable turnaround plan by Oct. 30. [iD:nLM38461]

A day later it put Sandcity, part of its surfwear business, into administration. [iD:nLN565029]

"Further restructuring is still required to satisfy the condition to the standstill agreement, which the Company continues to develop with its advisers, KPMG," Blacks said on Wednesday.

At 0735 GMT, Blacks shares were flat at 33 pence, valuing the business at about 14 million pounds ($22.3 million).The stock has dropped over 90 percent in the past 3-1/2 years. ($1=.6272 Pound) (Reporting by Mark Potter; editing by Simon Jessop)

...seems nobody has told the consumers!

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