Blacks bases growth on ecommerce ambitions

Blacks Leisure Group, which owns outdoor clothing specialists Blacks and Millets, is looking to shift the focus of its business by becoming an online retailer supported by a store network.


The retail group is planning to offer a broader product range online with the ability to have orders delivered to stores, check store availability and make appointments with in-store specialists.

Ralph Percival, who was appointed as ecommerce director in January to lead the multichannel development, says: “We tend to be structured around stores, but the website is by far our largest store. We will use the website to leverage the overall business.

“The long-term goal is to display the largest range of outdoor clothing and products offered by any retailer online, and combine this with stores.”

Blacks has partnered with CRM specialist Blue Bridge to improve its understanding of customers and identify a single customer view to drive the development of its multi-channel operations and customer communications.

It is part of a transformation strategy designed to return the business to profit following a Company Voluntary Agreement in 2009, which saw it close 100 stores to avoid administration.

Percival’s appointment was part of a wider management restructure designed to give more focus on online operations and marketing.

The group reduced its operating losses to £7.1m from £8.7m in the six months to 28 August.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here