Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Blacks Leisure is suffering in the warm climate.

The company, which trades under the Blacks, Millets, O’Neill, Free Spirit and Mambo names, issued a profit warning after warmer weather hit its sales.

The company reported a 6% drop in sales in the pre-Christmas period, which led to an immediate drop in its share price of 8%. Forecasts for profits for the year ending February have been slashed from £11m to £1m.

Chief executive Russell Hardy said: “These results are extremely disappointing. The Christmas and early post-Christmas period, which is always important to us, proved to be very difficult.

A company statement said: “This poor sales performance reflects the effects of a weaker clothing market combined with a significant shortfall in our sales of heavy weight cold weather and other products which the group specialises in selling.

“This latter issue reflects the Group's continued challenge of adapting to the significantly warmer climatic conditions compared with recent years.

“The gross margin in the 18 week period has been below expectations as we have proactively managed our stock position and responded to the high level of discounting in the general clothing market.”

The company is said by some analysts to be vulnerable to a bid from Mike Ashley, owner of Sports World, who already has a 29% stake in Blacks.