Shares in Blacks Leisure were up on the FTSE Fledgling in afternoon trading after the company issued a trading statement for the half year ended 30 December 2010.

The company, which owns chains such as Millets, said that it had "performed very strongly" in December, with total sales rising 12.9 per cent in its Outdoor business in the month.

However in the half year period total sales fell from £95.8 million in the previous period to £85.4 million. The drop was attributed to stores closed during its restructuring programme.

The strong December performance meant that the company was confident of meeting its full year expectations.

Blacks Leisure said that it had received "a number of unsolicited expressions of interest" and had appointed McQueen Limited to advise on the "seriousness and deliverability" of the bids.

Neil Gillis, CEO of Blacks Leisure, said, "I am pleased to announce that the Group has performed strongly during the key Christmas trading period highlighting the strength of our offering in what continues to be a challenging retail market. The turnaround programme remains on track and we enter the New Year in a positive financial position and focussed on continuing to deliver the benefits of the turnaround strategy. The store opening programme has performed well this year and we are due to continue this with a further new store in February 2011 and additional opportunities in the pipeline for our new financial year beginning in March 2011."

By 14:30 shares in Blacks Leisure were up 5.62 per cent to 42.25 pence per share.