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Schuh posts record EBITDA of £17.3m

Footwear retailer Schuh has posted record results, with a 21% rise in EBITDA to £17.3m for the year to March 28.

Schuh, which operates 57 stores in the UK and Ireland, increased sales by £12m to £146.4m, aided by the revamp of its website in October which Schuh said led to an “impressive” increase in site visitors and customer conversions. The relaunch included a new design, an improved search function and a faster checkout process for customers.

Schuh managing director Colin Temple told Drapers: “Lots of things contributed to our good results. The Ugg worked well for us, the drop in VAT gave us a boost and obviously over the past couple of years we have gained market share from the likes of the Original Shoe Company and Dolcis falling by the wayside.”

Temple said there are no plans to sell the the private company, which is owned by the directors and staff shareholders. Schuh plans to open three to five stores every year.

Chairman Terry Racionzer said Schuh’s early trading results for the new financial year are encouraging and in line with budgets and plans. However he said factors such as a possible rise in unemployment and future measures to protect the UK economy are expected to “put pressure on disposable incomes thereby delivering an uncertain economic backdrop to future trading in the retail sector”.

In the past year Schuh, which stocks over 90 brands including Converse, Skechers and its own brand, opened three new stores in Swansea, Sunderland and Blanchardstown in Dublin and relocated to larger premises in the Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle.

The footwear retailer said it had invested £5m expanding its network of stores and automating its distribution centre in Livingston.

Temple added: “We are delighted with this performance. The retail sector was more resilient than many commentators predicted last year and the improvements we have made in our product selection and processes meant our people were well positioned to take advantage.”

Mark Crutchley, finance and ecommerce director at Schuh, said: “Our star of the show has been our ecommerce operations but this is dependent on the strength of the Schuh retail brand and our commitment to being the leading multi-channel operator in the footwear market. As a business, our cash-flow remains strong, and we are well positioned to continue our expansion.”

Schuh, which completed a £36m refinancing package in 2008, provided by Bank of Scotland, won awards for Multiple Retailer of the Year and Etailer of the Year at the Drapers Footwear Awards 2010 in May.

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