Blacks Leisure sold for £20m while La Senza finds buyer

Blacks Leisure shopfront The new owner said it hoped to 'rejuvenate' the stores

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JD Sports has confirmed it has acquired the assets of outdoor clothing retailer Blacks Leisure for £20m.

The sportswear retailer confirmed that any "underperforming stores" would close, but did not say how many.

Also, lingerie chain La Senza was bought by an Arabian retail group, saving 1,100 jobs.

The deals involved what is known as a pre-pack arrangement, under which both firms briefly went into administration, before being sold.

Pre-pack administrations give struggling companies some protection from creditors.

La Senza previously employed 2,600 people.

Sixty of the lingerie shops - out of 146 stores and 18 concessions - were bought by the Arab firm, Alshaya.

Blacks Leisure has about 100 Blacks outlets, about 200 Millets branches and owns the Peter Storm and Eurohike brands. It has 3,500 employees.

"Today's sale allows the continued trading of all the shops," said Richard Fleming, one of the administrators from KPMG.

"Blacks has struggled, in tough economic conditions, to generate enough cash to service its high overhead costs. However, Blacks has a strong brand and accordingly generated a huge amount of buyer interest from some of the best known entrepreneurs and competitors in the market," he said.

JD Sports is understood to have beaten off competition from Dragon's Den's Peter Jones as well as rival leisure retailer Sports Direct, who were two of the ten parties to submit bids for the group.

JD Sports will acquire the "inventories, fixtures and fittings and intellectual property" of Blacks.

"Following the elimination of any underperforming stores and other cost reduction initiatives we believe the business can be run successfully as independent fascias within the [JD Sports] group," it said.

Blacks' accounts for the period ended 26 February 2011 showed an operating loss of £2.5m, JD Sports said.

The new owner said it hoped to "rejuvenate" the stores and would be looking for ways to cut costs.

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