Pre-tax earnings jumped by 124 percent to £11.4 million (€15.1m-$17.2m) at Shoe Zone, the biggest value-priced shoe retailer in the U.K., in the financial year ended last Oct. 4. Shoe Zone went public on the Aim counter of the London Stock Exchange last May, as reported, indicating plans to expand into Spain and other foreign markets.
The gross product margin improved to 61.3 percent from 59.4 percent in the previous year. However, the company's sales declined by 10 percent to £172.9 million (€228.0m-$261.9m) because of a decline in the number of stores to 545, or 25 fewer than at the beginning of the year. Several temporary stores were shut down and not reopened.
On the other hand, online traffic increased by 25 percent in preparation for a fully responsive site. Shoe Zone opened virtual stores on Amazon in November 2013 and on eBay last July. The company opened 17 new physical stores in the course of the year and refitted 45 others. It has added six more stores since last October, with ten others to follow shortly.
Shoe Zone reached sales of £2.5 million (€3.3m-$3.8m) with handbags and £1.4 million (€1.8m-$2.1m) with shoe care products in the past year. Both segments were introduced recently, so they recorded increases of 73 and 94 percent, respectively.
The management expects to see some growth during the present financial year, in spite of a warm start to the past autumn season.