Growth Trend in Country Living as Sports Passion Fades; RETAIL: Surfing, Camping, and Rain Give Blacks a Boost
Byline: ABIGAIL TOWNSEND
RETAILER Blacks Leisure has posted a hike in sales as people continue to ignore the changeable weather and head to the countryside for healthy days out and mini-breaks.
Like-for-like sales at the outdoor and boardwear specialist, owner of Millets and Free Spirit, surged 19.9pc in the 18 weeks to July 6.
Northampton-based Blacks said yesterday that the figure was boosted by strong comparatives to last year, when foot-and-mouth saw large parts of the countryside shut off, and a strong performance from its outdoor division.
Chief executive Roy Crosland said an industry-wide marketing drive had helped encourage people to return to the countryside.
However, he added, ``To some extent it just reinforces a trend that is already there. The whole healthy, outdoor lifestyle thing is very much part of everyday life now.''
Unlike most retailers, Blacks also benefited from the wet weather with strong sales of waterproof products, while the Jubilee break boosted sales as people took the opportunity to spend time in the countryside. …