Shoe Zone closes Irish operations as it continues to review portfolio

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Shoe Zone PLC (LON:SHOE) said it has exited from the Republic of Ireland with all stores and the website now closed, as it continues reviewing its store portfolio.

The retailer permanently shuttered a total of 38 stores during the first half, with the total now standing at 422.

No sites were open in the first two weeks of the second half. Trading started strongly, the firm said, but has settled down to a more mixed picture of good High Street and retail park sales with weaker shopping centre performance.

Most of the staff were furloughed and it used Government business support schemes including grants, rates and VAT. It drew down a loan of £15mln from the government with £4.6mln repaid so far.

The company said trading was hit by supply chain disruption due to container shortages and Suez Canal issues, while shops were closed for a minimum of 16 weeks during the first half.

In the six months to 3 April, revenue tumbled 41% to £40mln, while the statutory loss before tax was 4% wider at £2.6mln. Digital sales accounted for 43.6% of the total compared to 7.9% a year ago.

Cash at year-end was £4mln and no dividends were proposed.

Shares dropped 5% to 70p on Tuesday morning.

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