Branded young fashion footwear chain Schuh posted a market-defying 21% uplift in EBITDA to £14.3m for the year to March 2009, after it benefited from last year’s shakeout in the footwear sector.
Sales also rose by £16m to £135m over the 52-week period, aided by the collapse of chains such as Faith, Qube, Original Shoe Co, Shoe Studio Group and Stylo, which owned the Barratts and Priceless chains during the period.
Schuh managing director Colin Temple said: “Our people have delivered another great performance – especially given the prevailing economic conditions throughout the year. These conditions resulted in a number of business failures in the footwear sector. It is a testament to the strength of our business that we have been able to deliver significant like-for-like sales growth and improved margins.”
Schuh finance and ecommerce director Mark Crutchley said: “We have established ourselves as the leading fashion footwear specialist in the UK.
“The shakeout in the footwear market helped us last year. The current year will be more challenging, but we still expect to deliver a strong set of results. Our strong cash flow has enabled us to accelerate our debt repayment programme in advance of that agreed when we
refinanced last year.”
Schuh, which is the largest online footwear retailer in the UK, said it planned to relaunch its website www.schuh.co.uk on October 12, with a selection of enhanced features. These include a new design, imagery with 360-degree views, an improved search function, blogs and a faster checkout process for customers. It will also enable customers to check stock levels in bricks-and-mortar stores in real time.
The website first launched seven years ago and now receives an average 50,000 hits a day.
Schuh won the Best Multichannel Retailer award at the Drapers Etail Awards 2009, and also picked up the award for Best Young Fashion Footwear Retailer at this year’s Drapers Footwear Awards.
Schuh has 55 stores and will open new stores in Sunderland and Swansea ahead of Christmas.