Ward Walkers wins two-year NHS footwear contract

SHOE supplier Ward Walkers has won a two-year contract to provide footwear to all 645 NHS trusts in England and Wales.

Founder Roy Mclean plans to hire a further ten staff to fulfil the contract, which will take his headcount up to 30.

He believes the contract will be worth about £1 million to his company.

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The deal could also be extended for a further two years.

Mclean said: “It’s a huge boost for the company and cements our growing reputation as a provider of footwear fit for the demands of the health service.

“In a very difficult retail environment, this move into contract supply means job security for the existing staff and the creation of positions within the company.

“The deal also proves that small and medium-sized enterprises can compete for national contracts and will enhance our chances of winning further business, both in the public and private sector.”

Under the deal, up to 100,000 pairs of shoes will be supplied to staff in operating theatres and for general hospital use.

Ward Walkers – which was founded in 2004 and has branches in Dundee’s Overgate shopping centre and the city’s Ninewells hospital – supplies brands including Crocs, FitFlop and Gabor, as well as its own-label shoes.

Mclean said that he has “extensive experience in the design, development and manufacturing of footwear” and that he has built the business on his ability to “source and supply shoes to the specific requirements of the NHS”.

News of the contract comes just weeks after fellow Dundee firm DE Shoes put its network of 31 branches up for sale after admitting it was facing difficulties.

The company, which traces its roots back to 1867, has 200 staff and also owns the Foot Factory stores in Aberdeen and Dundee.