Schuh swings to loss as sales take a step back

Schuh pointed to 'an unprecedented number of trading headwinds'. Picture: Contributed
Schuh pointed to 'an unprecedented number of trading headwinds'. Picture: Contributed
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Livingston-headquartered footwear retailer Schuh has swung to a loss after a year of “extremely challenging” conditions.

The group reported pre-tax losses of £6.1 million for the year to January, plummeting from a £13.1m profit in the previous year.

Turnover fell by more than £20m to £288.4m, as an increase in online sales failed to offset a drop in brick-and-mortar revenues.

Schuh pointed to increasing occupancy and staff costs, political instability and lower consumer spending on footwear and apparel.

This comes after Schuh last month engaged retail property consultant Capa to cut costs across its 130-store estate, while earlier this year the group announced the closure of its German trading operation.

Finance & HR director David Gillan-Reid said: “We have been faced with an unprecedented number of trading headwinds, including: increasing occupancy (rent, rates and service charges) and staff costs (minimum/living wage, apprenticeship levy, pension auto- enrolment costs), Brexit uncertainty/political instability, and consumer spending being lower on footwear and apparel.

"In addition, product and brand availability with margin pressure given the high dominance of sport brands, an extremely promotional environment and a significant footfall decline on the high street, in shopping centres and retail parks all make for a tough trading period.

"We are navigating our way through these demanding times and remain optimistic of our future, but only with engagement from our landlords and the business working very hard to keep developing our product offer, driving new initiatives in technology, design, etc.”

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