Leder & Schuh is further reorganizing its operations in Austria, where it is now concentrating on the Humanic and Shoe4You banners. As previously reported, in Germany it is concentrating on the development of Humanic chain following an agreement to sell 54 Shoe4You and Jello stores in that country to Kienast (Shoe Intelligence Vol. 18 – N° 1 of Jan. 14).

The new management of the Austrian retail group has indicated that many of the present Stiefelkönig and Jello stores in Austria will be converted to the Humanic and Shoe4You formats, respectively. It is considering keeping only five to ten Stiefelkönig stores in the country. The company had previously indicated that it might sell the Jello chain.

At the end of 2016 there will be about 50 Humanic stores, about 60 Shoe4You stores (including former Jello conversions) and about 5-10 Stiefelkönig stores in Austria, says a spokesperson for the company.

Reportedly, the current store count in Austria sees Leder & Schuh running 50 stores under the Humanic banner, 50 under the Jello banner and 37 under the Shoe4You banner. It had 30 Stiefelkönig stores a year ago, when they were placed under common management with Humanic.

In view of its reorganization and its new strategic orientation, the company has announced the elimination of up to 130 jobs in Austria, half at its head office in Graz and half in its Austrian stores. A year ago it had already announced the layoff of 65 of its 300 employees at the head office. The building that houses Leder & Schuh's headquarters has been sold, and the company is leasing it back.

According to the Austrian media, the operating profit of Leder & Schuh improved last year to €6.8 million from €2.4 million in 2014, although the turnover declined by 5 percent to €494 million, due especially to a 10 percent reduction of the store network and to unfavorable weather conditions at the end of the year. Also continued restructuring costs led to another net loss of €11 million for the year, compared with a loss of €11.3 million the year before.