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Stylo Dolcis deal buoys suppliers

Suppliers welcomed Stylo’s rescue of Dolcis this week, saying it marked the next stage in the recovery for the middle-market footwear sector.

Last week, Stylo bought the Dolcis name, 10 of its stores and the footwear chain’s stock. It has also taken a handful of additional shops on temporary leases, which it will use to clear stock. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Suppliers welcomed Stylo’s purchase of Dolcis, which followed Shoe Zone’s rescue of Stead & Simpson last month. Suppliers told Drapers that while the footwear industry faced short-term pain with store closures and job losses, long-term consolidation in the sector would make for a healthier marketplace.

One supplier told Drapers: “Barratts is also undergoing a revamp and the concept seems exciting. The market is crying out for a new concept and this Barratts overhaul could potentially corner the branded middle-market for Stylo.”

Another supplier said: “We’ve needed deals like this for two years. It will mean the good retailers and suppliers survive and the bad ones disappear.”

Stylo chairman and chief executive Michael Ziff wrote to suppliers last week inviting those in possession of stock originally intended for Dolcis to contact him about possible solutions. He also warned suppliers not to dump footwear with Dolcis labelling.

He said: “As the owner of the Dolcis brands, I can confirm that we will not authorise any such branded product to be sold to third parties. We appreciate that this may put you in a difficult position, but we’d like to work with you to find a solution.

“We appreciate your ongoing support and help, and in this shrinking marketplace it is important that we continue to work closely together if we are to achieve our objectives.”

Ziff told Drapers he expected to clear the Dolcis stock within three months, when the temporary shops would be closed and the 10 permanent stores would be rebranded to Barratts. He is reviewing what to do with the Dolcis name.

 Property firm King Sturge has been appointed to dispose of 42 remaining stores from the Dolcis portfolio. The stores range from 2,000sq ft to 2,500sq ft and include shops in Bluewater in Kent, Lakeside in Thurrock and Manchester’s Arndale Centre.

A handful are understood to have reverted back to previous owner Alexon Group.

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