Genesco's Schuh prospers in latest year on kids and digital focus
Footwear retailer Schuh has revealed a healthy sales increase for its fiscal 2017 year with a 5.3% rise to £280.9m. And the company was clearly able to squeeze extra profit out of each square foot as its pre-tax profit rose a stronger 9.3% to £16.6m.
That’s despite the company’s finance chief David Gillan-Reid saying it had a “challenging” start to the year that ended on January 28. But it clearly ended on a high as trade picked up during the Christmas period and “we finished the year in a good position,” the finance director said.
The company, which is owned by US-based Genesco, has been opening new stores at a steady pace and also investing in its online operations with the Schuh Kids operation its primary focus in the latest year. It opened two new standalone stores for the children’s arm, including its first London branch in Westfield Stratford City as well as one in the giant Bluewater mall in Kent.
The kids’ business also expanded with four hybrid stores in Romford, Aberdeen, Chelmsford and Essen, with the hybrids combining a traditional adults’ Schuh branch with a kids’ department.
The Essen opening was particularly significant as it was the third store in Germany and gave the brand a high street location as well as shopping centre and retail park shops. Its only traditional adults-focused store to open in FY17 was in Luton in the UK.
And the store expansion has continued in the current financial year with its most recent opening being at the east end of Oxford Street in London. This is its third store on London’s premier shopping street, in addition to the existing locations at Oxford Circus and Marble Arch.
On the digital front, the past year also saw Schuh embracing mobile payments further and continuing to swap conventional cash desks for freestanding kiosks and handheld payment machines. The company said that this simple change “significantly speeds the average customer journey, allowing them to avoid unnecessary cash desk queues, while also giving us more selling space on the shop floor.”
The 36-year-old retailer is based in Scotland and operates 130 stores in Britain, Ireland and Germany.
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