Footwear group Stylo aims to open 50 out-of-town Shutopia stores over the next fours years, after winning a legal dispute with an independent retailer over the business name.
Stylo is understood to have paid Lancashire-based footwear store and online retailer Shutopia about £37,500 for sole use of the name, following an 18-month legal battle over the Shutopia trademark.
Stylo will embark on an aggressive roll-out of the format, which was put on hold following a trial launch in 2005. There are currently three stores in retail parks in Belfast, Borehamwood and Rotherham, as well as a high-street store in Leicester. At least two 5,000sq ft Shutopia stores are planned by the end of February next year.
The format sells Shellys and Barratts shoes alongside branded product from Rocket Dog, Kickers and Skechers.
Stylo was unavailable for comment, but a source close to the business said: “Out-of-town is growing and there is space for stores not selling discounted, distressed or end-of-line merchandise.”
The trademark application for the Shutopia name was filed on November 28 2005 through the Shellys Shoes Company, which Stylo acquired in 2003. Sarah Taylor, owner of the Shutopia indie, registered the name on October 4 2005.
A source close to the indie business, which is understood to be rebranding, said: “Eventually the Shutopia indie sold the name because you can’t fight a business of that size. Now it has closed and is rebranding. Stylo was prepared to go all the way.”