Schuh, one of the few successful British chains of shoe stores, is said to be planning the launch of its first foreign online store in France in May. In contrast with its very strong online shop in the U.K., www.schuh.co.uk, which accepts payments only in pounds sterling, the French website will be in French and will accept euros.
The British web store already has clients in some 100 different countries, and many of them are based in France. The new French initiative is seen as a test for a possible rollout of Schuh's e-commerce platform in other parts of Europe including Germany, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries.
Aside from this, Schuh is planning to add eight to 10 new stores in the U.K. this year, following the opening of six new doors in the last nine months of 2011. The retailer had 65 stores in operation at the end of December. It has been accelerating its expansion since its takeover by Genesco last June, with a goal of doubling its retail network in the U.K., while branching out into the rest of Europe.
In outlining its latest quarterly and annual results a couple of weeks ago, Genesco said that Schuh had exceeded internal expectations in the quarter ended last Jan. 29, reaching sales equivalent to $100 million for the period and generating an operating margin of 10.3 percent before amortizations of $2.9 million in the purchase price paid by the American company.
Genesco's total sales jumped by 29.1 percent to $723.4 million in the quarter, with comparable store sales up by 12 percent. In particular, the Journeys Group of stores in the U.S. raised its sales by 14.6 percent to $290 million, up by 19.0 percent on a same-store basis. Sales fell by 10.1 percent to $26.4 at Underground Station stores, but rose by 7.0 percent to $60.0 million for Johnston & Murphy.
For the full financial year, Genesco reported a 28.1 percent sales increase to $2,292 million, with an increase of 15.4 percent to $927.7 million at Journeys. Comparable store sales grew overall by 7.0 percent. The group's operating profit went up by 67.1 percent to $143.9 million and the net profit advanced by 54.0 percent to $82.0 million.
Same-store sales enjoyed a further increase of 13 percent in February, but the management cautioned that it may not be able to sustain this kind of growth for the balance of the present year.