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Jones and Brantano take hit to restructure

Jones Bootmaker and Brantano parent company Macintosh Retail Group has written off millions of pounds to cover losses as part of a three-year restructuring plan.

Both UK footwear retailers recorded a seven-figure total loss for the 2012 calendar year, despite Jones Bootmaker making an operating profit of £2.3m and Brantano narrowing its losses from £3m in 2011 to £668,000. Including the write-downs, Brantano’s published operating loss was £6.87m, while Jones Bootmaker’s was £3.56m.

Dutch owner Macintosh has written off €29.2m (£24.6m) across the group to cover future losses from restructuring in Europe.

The news came as the group revealed turnover for 2012 rose 2.1% to €893.2m (£753.6m), with an operating EBITDA of €42.6m (£35.9m), down from €55.6m (£46.9m) the previous year.

But the company was upbeat about its future, saying it was “taking a step backward to jump forward”.

David Short, managing director of Macintosh Fashion UK, said he was very pleased with the progress the two footwear businesses had made.

“As Brantano and Jones Bootmaker reach maturity in their bricks-and-mortar stores we need to look to other channels for revenue. We are looking to do this through our growing concession partnerships and website,” he said.

Across Europe, Macintosh plans to close 110 stores, including 20 out of 260 in the UK, by the end of 2015.

So far the two UK businesses have closed a total of six stores in 2013. However, two Brantano shops and four Jones Bootmaker stores have opened in the last 12 months.

Another nine across the brands are due to open before Christmas.

Jones Bootmaker and Brantano are also set to open concessions in 17 Beales department stores, with Brantano branching into 12 former Barratts concessions and Jones Bootmaker taking over five Jane Shilton stores, as the beleaguered business exits footwear.

Jones Bootmaker will also replace Jane Shilton in other Associated Independent Stores member concessions.

Short said the Jane Shilton concessions were a perfect fit.

He added: “They have that same premium quality and will appeal to the same target customer. These stores have an established customer for the Jones product profile.”

Meanwhile, Jane Shilton will continue to trade as a handbag-only brand. Its new direction follows

the collapse of a takeover bid by footwear retailer Shoon in June and comes on the back of a pre-tax loss of £1.9m in the year to June 30, 2012.

Jane Shilton owner David Shilton said: “We reached the decision to exit the shoe business for no other reason than to increase the tempo on our handbag line.”

Some redundancies will result from the move, but Shilton declined to specify a number.

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