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Jane Shilton in footwear licensing talks

Mainstream footwear business Jane Shilton is in preliminary talks with an undisclosed third party about licensing out its footwear operation.

It is understood the move would allow the company, which also sells handbags, to develop into other categories.

Managing director David Shilton confirmed talks had begun but declined to comment on who they were with or how long talks would last.

He said: “Nothing has been signed, it is just a conversation at the moment.”

Talk among buyers at this season’s edition of trade show Moda Footwear suggested that US footwear retailer and licensing business Genesco had been linked with a possible acquisition of the London-based business, but Shilton dismissed the speculation as “absolutely, completely untrue”.

He declined to comment on whether Genesco, which acquired the Schuh chain in June 2011, was involved in the licensing discussions.

Jane Shilton sells own label men’s and women’s shoes, including sandals, loafers, ballet . ats and court shoes.

Founded in 1933 by Alexander Shilton and named after his wife, it remains a family run business with about 20 staff.

It is understood to have an annual turnover of around £20m and has 55 department store concessions and eight standalone shops in the UK.

Jane Shilton and the group’s other brands, including Pulse, JS by Jane Shilton and Cellini, are also sold in Russia, the Middle East and Asia.

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