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Full review launched at Jones Bootmaker

Footwear veteran Ken Bartle, chief executive at Jones Bootmaker, has announced a wideranging review of the footwear chain and its strategy.

Bartle returned as interim chief executive following the abrupt departure of John Watkinson last Thursday.

Bartle, who stepped down at Jones Bootmaker in 2005 when the business was sold to Watkinson in a deal backed by investment firm Arev, told Drapers his return was “like coming home”, adding: “I will carry out a total review of the business.”

Bartle is expected to make an internal announcement on his initial plans next week.

He will also launch a search for a permanent replacement chief executive, although Bartle himself is likely to remain at the helm for six months.

Jones Bootmaker said in a statement that EBITDA had grown from £3 million to £4.4m since the management buyout. It added that the company remained in a strong financial position with net borrowings of £2.8m down from £7.3m at the time of the buyout.

However, sales are believed to have suffered recently particularly in August when the weather went against summer stock, but boot sales are thought to have made a good start this month.

Bartle has more than five decades’ experience in footwear, with roles at Clarks and Stead & Simpson before leading the purchase of Jones Bootmaker from Prada with Lance Clark and Peter Phillips. Bartle kept a stake in Jones Bootmaker when it was sold to Arev in 2005 as a non-executive director.

In 2006, Bartle was recognised at the Drapers Footwear Awards where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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