Profits at Shoe Zone worn thin by weather

 
Kasmira Jefford
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SHOE Zone suffered a 26 per cent decline in sales in the first half of the year, blaming planned store closures and last Autumn’s warm weather for weaker sales.

The family-run discount footwear chain, which floated on Aim last year, revealed yesterday that pre-tax profits decreased to £2m in the six months to 4 April compared with £2.7m the previous year.

However, shares in the retailer jumped seven per cent to 174.5p as it declared a first interim dividend of 3.2p, keeping investors cheerful. The fall in profit was also largely expected after it issued a profit warning in April.

Revenue fell 5.7 per cent to £78.2m this year, which the company attributed to the closure of nine loss-making stores in the period and the unseasonable weather.

Shoe Zone said it sold more shoes than it did in the first half of last year. However, the average price fell because of people opting for cheaper items such as ankle boots over warmer and more expensive long-legged boots.

However, chief executive Anthony Smith said current trading remained in line with expectations and insisted that it remained confident about its future prospects.