Scots footwear retailer Schuh retreats from Germany

Schuh, the Livingston-headquartered footwear retailer, is to pull out of Germany as it focuses on its business closer to home, laying part of the blame for the move on Brexit.

The firm is to focus efforts on its core UK, Irish and Channel Island business. Picture: Contributed
The firm is to focus efforts on its core UK, Irish and Channel Island business. Picture: Contributed

The firm, which was founded in 1981, said it had “recalibrated significantly” over the last 12 months, amid “very difficult trading conditions”.

It is to close its three stores in Germany after trading on 22 June to focus efforts on its UK, Irish and Channel Island business.

The group noted that Germany was its first choice for European expansion outside the UK and Ireland with the first store opening in Oberhausen in 2015, followed by Ruhr Park later that year and Essen opening the following year.

“Over the past few years these markets have changed considerably in a constantly evolving retail landscape, not least with the impact of Brexit,” it added.

The firm’s German website will continue to trade, with all orders fulfilled by its UK warehouses.

Colin Temple, managing director at Schuh, said: “Since opening, the stores have received exceptional feedback and despite the trading headwinds I am so proud of the achievement of having been able to open in another country in a foreign language with such high acclaim from customers and vendors alike.

“This is testament to the exceptional work that has been invested by our divisional manager, whose project this was, and testament to all our staff employed across Germany for whom we can only thank them for their valuable input.

“We are sorry they will not be part of the Schuh/Genesco family moving forward.”

The company said that over the past few days its divisional manager and retail director have visited the three German sites to communicate the update in person and offer support to staff affected.

In a wider update on its trading, the retailer said: “We have experienced challenging sales, margin pressure as a result of a highly promotional retail environment and marketplace constraints minimising our ability to leverage fixed property expenses.

“Strategically we are focused to deliver initiatives to further enhance customer experience this year, including our new transformational 2020 store design, CRM [customer relationship management] personalisation and drive brand awareness via customer out of home and digital recruitment.”

US group Genesco bought Schuh in 2011 for £125 million.