Full year sales fell 3.5% to £166.8m at Shoe Zone, while profit before tax slipped 3.4% to £10.1m, in what the retailer described as a “difficult year” for the footwear industry.
The fall in revenue for the 52 weeks to October 3 was attributed to the planned closure of loss making stores, as well as “difficult trading conditions”.
However gross margin for the year increased to 61.5% from 61.3% in 2014, as product orders placed directly with overseas factories increased to 62.1%, up from 53.1% last year.
During the year the retailer opened 12 new stores, refitted 40 shops and launched a fully responsive website. Mobile and tablet visits represented 66% of online traffic with conversion rates increasing across all devices.
Since October 3 Shoe Zone has opened six new stores and refitted four shops. It plans to continue with its store opening programme and launch a trial of much larger out-of-town shops in the summer.
“Project Big Box” will launch in August 2016 and will involve three stores that will be twice the size of its average Grade 1 store- its biggest store format. The trial stores will have an extended product range and higher priced footwear.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Shoe Zone, said: “Although 2015 was a difficult year for the footwear industry, we have achieved a solid performance. We have continued our focus on our strategic objectives and this has ensured we are well placed for the future. There is extensive work underway to increase the Grade 1 store portfolio and we are targeting an additional 56 stores to be operational by the beginning of February.”