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Blacks Shares Plummet 34% as Sales Fall, Debt Increases

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Blacks Leisure Group Plc, a U.K. outdoor clothing retailer, fell the most in 21 years after the company said sales were falling and debt levels increasing.

Shares tumbled as much as 47 percent in London trading before closing 5.5 pence down at 10.75 pence, giving the company a market value of 9 million pounds ($14.5 million). That’s the biggest one-day percentage fall since August 1990.

Group revenue in the 19 weeks ended July 9 fell more than forecast to 54.6 million pounds from 61.3 million pounds a year earlier, with same-store sales declining 9.7 percent, according to a statement on Regulatory News Service.

Black’s debt has “increased significantly,” according to the statement. The company has agreed to an increase in its debt limit to 40 million pounds until Dec. 15, an increase of 2 million pounds above its usual maximum facility.

“It’s worrying that they’re that close to their banking facilities,” said Andrew Wade, an analyst with Numis Securities. “Cash is clearly pretty tight, but Blacks need the cash to improve the situation,” Wade added, citing store refurbishments as a priority. He is reviewing his “add” recommendation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ed Ballard in London at eballard2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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