Leder & Schuh International has reported an increase in its sales in 2012 to €450.5 million from €433.3 million in the previous year, but the Austrian-based shoe retailer's net losses more than doubled to €20.7 million from €8 million in 2011. Operating losses increased to €5.4 million from €4.2 million, but the company would have reported an operating profit without the Stielfelkônig chain, which it took over in mid-2011.

The ongoing losses of Stiefelkönig, which was fully consolidated last year, continued to weigh on the results and the restructuring of the store network, particularly in Hungary and Poland, caused an extraordinary loss of €12 million. The sales increase was partly due to an increase in the total number of stores to 378 from 354 at the end of 2011.

A loss was recorded in Poland, but that market moved into positive territory recently, after the introduction of restructuring measures. The number of Polish stores has been reduced to six. Results have improved recently also at Stiefelkönig, which currently has 25 stores in operation, and the group is expected to return to the black by the end of this year. The balance sheet is said to be positive now.

Leder & Schuh is the biggest shoe retailer in Austria and one of the major European players in the shoe retail market, trading under the Stiefelkönig, Humanic, Corti, Shoe4You, Dominici und Jello banners. It employed 4,266 people at the end of 2012.  Nearly 10 percent of sales came from e-commerce.

The company has a growing presence in Germany and in Slovakia. It has a strong market position in the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Leder & Schuh recently moved into Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, but closed its three stores in Switzerland.

The company opened 14 new stores in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic last year. The expansion is going to go on, and it may involve Leder & Schuh's entry into some new markets. It sees potential for further growth in Germany, where its stores operate under the Humanic and Shoe4You. It doesn't have any Jello stores there anymore.