‘Tis the season to be jolly – it is, isn’t it?

Historically this time of year has seen high street retailers wind up for the big final push before Christmas, however, yesterday saw the announcement that Blacks Leisure has finally thrown in the towel and put itself up for sale.

This is another example following along the lines of the demise of Comet, Habitat and TJ Hughes – all high street retailers that have found themselves in the unenviable position of being unable to survive during 2011.

Blacks Leisure has gone through pretty tumultuous times in recent months. The company brushed with collapse back in 2009 which was prevented after a rescue deal saw it close a significant number of stores.

The company has also been linked to a takeover on a number of occasions with the most recent speculation being a complete takeover by Sports Direct (the sports retailer controlled by Mike Ashley) which currently owns around 21% of Blacks Leisure.

Blacks has also spent a significant amount of time in 2010 and 2011 trying to raise capital from its existing investors, but after issuing a profits warning as recently as two weeks ago, its advisor, KPMG, has stepped in and instigated a sale of the business at the request of the shareholders.

Money is tight, economic sentiment is not good and the ongoing uncertainty around the euro zone has led to UK shoppers reigning in their spending habits. It would appear that even the earliest start ever to the ‘post’ Christmas sales has so far failed to kick-start the spending. So it’s highly likely that Blacks won’t be the last retailer to stick a “reduced – must sell” price tag on itself in the next few months.

Filed under: retail, UK, economy