Outdoor goods retailer Blacks Leisure Group Plc, which is undergoing a major restructuring under a new management, is evaluating all kinds of funding options as it braces for challenges ahead of Christmas.
The company, which sells products from ski jackets and sleeping bags to binoculars and camping furniture under its Blacks and Millets brands, is fighting for survival due to mounting losses and rising debts.
We don't have any exact figures or date (for the funding), but we are working on that currently, Chief Executive Julia Reynolds told Reuters on Thursday.
We are looking at every kind (of fund raising).
Blacks Leisure, which has been a takeover target in the past, is however, not in talks with any parties currently, according to its new Chairman Peter Williams. He is the former CEO of London department store Selfridges.
The company, founded by Thomas Black as a sail-making business in 1861, has been involved in a long-running tiff with its largest shareholder Mike Ashley, the founder of rival firm Sports Direct, whose bid for Blacks was rejected last year.
Williams, who is known for turning around beleaguered companies, said Black Leisure cleared out excess stock and would enter the second half with a more appropriate level of stock holding.
The business is well positioned for Christmas. We have got our stocks in line, he said.
Williams said the company would also look at the condition of its existing store portfolio, which had suffered from historic under investment.
In terms of improving the stores -- the look and feel of the stores -- that's obviously something we need to get some investment funds for, he added.
Blacks Leisure, which went through a restructuring under former CEO Neil Gillis, had streamlined its property portfolio last year by exiting more than 100 stores. The company currently operates about 300 stores.
Earlier in the day, the company posted a loss of 16 million pounds, compared with 7.2 million pounds a year ago. Sales at stores open for at least a year fell 7 percent to 81.1 million pounds, while stock levels were cut by 28 percent to 28.5 million.
The company, whose debt stood at 26 million pounds at the end of the first half, had a market capitalisation of 8 million pounds, based on the stock's close on Wednesday.
Many British retailers are struggling, and some including Focus DIY, Oddbins and Habitat UK have recently fallen into administration, as shoppers cut back amid rising prices, subdued wage growth and austerity measures.
(Reporting by Tresa Sherin Morera in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)