Leder & Schuh says it has obtained new financing through the year 2022 because of the positive developments of its retail businesses as it is completing the process of concentrating on only two chains – Humanic and Shoe4You – in Austria and the eight other countries in which it operates.

Four other shoe retail banners – Jello, Dominici, Corti and OMG – have been phased out completely. Stiefelkönig, another famous Austria shoe retail banner specializing in a higher segment of the market that boasted more than 150 stores prior to its takeover by Leder & Schuh six years ago, may soon disappear from the country's retail landscape.

The closure or sale of numerous stores led the Austrian-based shoe retailing group to post a major decline in its total turnover last year, down to €413 million from €494 million in 2015. On a comparable store basis, however, sales went up by 3 percent. The company didn't provide information on operating margins, but they probably improved, as its statement refers to a “successful” 2016.

Aside from the store closures, the most important changes in the past year were the conversion in Austria of its 24 remaining Jello stores to the Shoe4You format and of six Stiefelkönig stores to the Humanic banner. Another 28 Jello stores were closed. As a result, the number of Shoe4You units in Austria has grown to 56 from 37 at the end of 2015. Humanic went from 47 to 54 units.

This means that Humanic and Shoe4You raised their presence in the key Austrian market and their sales increased by about 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The eight remaining Stiefelkönig stores in Austria will be rebranded or shut down in the course of this year.

As previously reported, Leder & Schuh sold one year ago its 54 remaining Shoe4You stores operating in Germany to Kienast. The company also sold its two Dominici stores in Austria to other interests.

Before this massive restructuring program, Leder & Schuh had already closed down many unprofitable stores in Eastern Europe. By the end of last year, the group operated in Austria, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia with a total of 207 stores, down from about 400 after its takeover of Stiefelkönig and 350 in the spring of 2015.

The group is now left with 143 shoe stores trading under its most international banner, Humanic, and 56 trading as Shoe4You, plus the eight remaining Stiefelkönig stores. The remaining locations employed a total of 2,400 people, down from 3,300 a year earlier.