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Shoe Zone boss departs amid profit warning

Shoe Zone chief executive Nick Davies has resigned with immediate effect, as the footwear retailer announced its full-year performance will fall below previous expectations.

Davies, who joined the retailer in 2003, is leaving to “pursue other business interests”. He will be replaced by  executive chairman Anthony Smith, who will become chief executive on a permanent basis. Chief operating officer Charles Smith will become executive chairman and Jonathan Fearn will continue as chief financial officer.

Shoe Zone said trading has been challenging since May this year. Although its larger “Big Box” store concept and elements of its digital strategy are performing well, their performance has been offset by the tough high street trading environment.

The Shoe Zone board has also reviewed its freehold property valuations and decided to write down the value of its 17 freehold properties by £3.1m to £5.3m. This will result in a non-cash exceptional charge in its full-year results to 5 October 2019.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Shoe Zone, said: “I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the board, to thank Nick for all of his work since he joined the business in 2003. Nick was instrumental in getting Shoe Zone ready for the public markets in May 2014 and was promoted from CFO to CEO in June 2016.”

“As has been widely publicised, the UK high street is currently facing a challenging environment in which to operate. The pressure on the retail property market has enabled Shoe Zone to achieve an average 23.5% fall in rents on renewal and average outstanding lease length of only two years. As a consequence of this and the tough freehold property market, our freehold assets had to be revalued to represent fair value and give us future flexibility.”

Shoe Zone has 500 stores across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and employs 3,500 people. It sells around 18 million pairs of shoes each year.

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