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Footwear retailer Jones Bootmaker striding into Europe with Brussels opening

Footwear retailer Jones Bootmaker is making a move into international markets this year with plans to open a store in Brussels in the autumn.

Managing director Andrew White said he was in the process of securing an appropriate site in the Belgian city
and the store was likely to be the first of several in Europe.

“We will be looking at other regional and capital cities across the Benelux region,” he said. “They will be broadly the same size as our UK stores, so we are aiming for a target size of about 800 sq ft.”

Jones Bootmaker is also hoping to open a further eight stores in the UK this year. It has already opened a
store in Wandsworth, southwest London, this month and stores in Dorchester and Portsmouth are planned for May.

However, its Trafford Centre store will close on March 22 due to a rent rise.

“It was a good store for us in terms of sales, but because of the rents being so high it is actually loss making overall,” White told Drapers.

The retailer has also reached the end of a 90-day consultation period on the relocation of its Eastbourne headquarters to London, bringing the marketing, merchandising, buying and retail teams under one roof.

There were no redundancies as a result of the process, which concluded at the end of February, with all but
one of the 30 members of staff accepting the terms of the move. That person is now retiring.

Premises are being secured near St Pancras station in London, with another team of five buyers, currently based on King’s Road, Fulham, also joining. Staff are expected to be in place by the end of May.

“We hope that being based near St Pancras will make it easy for our Dutch and Belgian colleagues from [out-of-town footwear retailer] Brantano to access the head office easily on the Eurostar,” White said.

Jones Bootmaker was acquired by Dutch retail conglomerate Macintosh, parent company of Brantano, for £40m in January 2011.

Last August, the business announced that the two were merging their back-office functions, including finance and warehousing.

The move resulted in around 80 redundancies within Jones Bootmaker’s back-office staff.

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