Shoe Zone shuts 20 stores and axes head office jobs

23 June 2020, 11:14

Shoe Zone
Shoe Zone financials. Picture: PA

The retail chain said its remaining 470 stores remain under review.

Retailer Shoe Zone has axed 20 stores and announced job losses at its head office to slash costs, as it warned the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic will last for years.

The group said 470 of its 490 shops will reopen across the UK by the end of the month, when Wales and Scotland follow the lead of England next week, after deciding to call time on an another 20 sites.

It will also continue to review stores after reopening, as the high street looks to recover from the hammer blow of the pandemic.

Shoe Zone said it took “immediate action” after the UK was placed in lockdown in March, cutting jobs across its head office in Leicester and pausing all discretionary spend.

But shares fell 3% as the group cautioned that the retail sector will take years to recover from the crisis.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Covid-19 will continue to have an unprecedented impact on the UK economy and the retail industry.

“Whilst the group has taken all possible steps to ensure that the business will survive through the crisis and continue into the future, the impact is likely to continue to be felt for several years.”

Shoe Zone’s half-year results showed it swung to a £2.5 million loss in the six months to April 4, against profits of £1 million a year earlier.

Sales tumbled 5.6% to £68.9 million, which it said was due to the pandemic and closure of all its shops on March 24 – with revenues having risen by 2.6% in the five months to February.

It continued to sell online throughout the lockdown, with internet sales now accounting for 17% of all sales, up from 6.5% before thanks in part to aggressive buy-one-get-one-free discounting.

Shoe Zone said it took extra charges of £1.2 million from the coronavirus crisis, after £300,000 for redundancy costs and £900,000 in write-downs on the value of its store freeholds.

By Press Association

Happening Now