£125m sale of shoe shops puts £16k into employees' pockets

More than 2,000 retail workers are to receive thousands of pounds each as part of the £125 million sale of a Scottish-based footwear firm.

Staff at Schuh, whose average age is just 21, were told yesterday they will receive the payouts, averaging around 16,000, in their pay next week.

The sale of the company to US firm Genesco means there will be a 37.3m payout for employees.

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Around 2,800 employees who have worked for the company for more than three months will recieve an average of 16,200 each, depending on salary and length of service.

Last night, staff were celebrating at a pre-scheduled 30th birthday bash for the Livingston-based company, which started out as a single shop in the Edinburgh North Bridge Arcade in 1981.

As part of the sale, a shop assistant with four years service on a salary of 20,000 will receive a lump sum of 22,000 before tax.

One Scottish employee, with 26 years service, discovered that she will get a lump sum of more than twice her annual salary.

Employees were told about the deal yesterday afternoon after it was announced to Wall Street.

Chief executive Colin Temple and finance director Mark Crutchley, founders and largest shareholders, could gain up to 25m each from the sale if the company meets targets in the coming years.

They will continue to run the business for the new Tennessee-based owners.

Another 7m is also going to set up a charity, the Schuh Trust, as part of the deal.

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Mr Crutchley said: "We took the view that value has been built up in the business over a number of years so we wanted to reward length of service.

"The distribution of the money is based on salary and length of service"

Mr Temple added: "We are very pleased to be able to distribute 37.3m to our employees who have been instrumental to Schuh's success."

There are a total of about 2,300 staff across 59 stores in the UK and Ireland, with 16 concession shops. Genesco, which owns US shoe chain Journeys, said they intend to add 40 or 50 new stores to the chain.

Robert Dennis, chairman and chief executive of Genesco, said: "Schuh provides us with an immediate and established retail presence in the UK, a highly- experienced international management team and improved insight into global fashion trends.

"Financially, the Schuh business is compelling, with attractive store economics and solid growth prospects."