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Footwear legend Sumray dies

Footwear veteran Monty Sumray has passed away aged 89 after working in the industry for more than 60 years.

Sumray began his career in Hackney, east London, running a footwear trimmings business. Eventually, he grew his shoe empire to become the largest footwear manufacturer in the UK, which at its peak was supplying 170,000 pairs of shoes to retailers every week.

“He was an outstanding man,” said Daniel Rubin, owner of footwear supplier Browning Group. “He had tremendous integrity, attention to detail and commercial judgement.”

Sumray was a huge advocate of UK manufacturing and a key supplier to retailers such as Marks & Spencer. During his career Sumray acquired the Lotus and Fiona footwear businesses and even attempted to buy Clarks in 1993.

“He was a determined individual who was tough but fair,” said his son Richard Sumray. “He developed a perfect memory and would never forget a thing. He worked incredibly hard.”

Michael Ziff, chairman and chief executive of Stylo, added that Sumray had a great friendship with his late father Arnold Ziff, and that Sumray was an outstanding man. “He did a hell of a lot for people in footwear and the Jewish Community,” he said.

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