Schuh CEO dismisses sell-off rumours

The CEO of footwear chain Schuh has said the business isn’t up for sale, despite its American parent coming under pressure from activist investor Legion Partners.


Schuh


Legion had written to Genesco suggesting that Schuh would fare better under new ownership, but Schuh boss Colin Temple said he’s confident it will continue to do well as part fo the Genesco portfolio.

The US-based company bought Schuh in 2011 for £100 million and Temple told the Press Association that he’s not “nervous that we will be put up for sale in the foreseeable future. I am intrigued about what will happen with the activist investor but I’m confident that it makes sense to be part of the organisation.”

He added that being part of a larger group had brought benefits and that activist investors might not understand that fact.

Scotland-headquartered Schuh has 105 UK stores and saw turnover rising 5% to £280.9 million in the 12 months to January 2017, the last period for which details are available. Underlying earnings rose 15% to £29.7 million. We’re unlikely to hear about the year to January 2018 until this June.

The chain, which also operates stores in Ireland and Germany, has clearly been one of the better performers in an otherwise-weak UK fashion retail market. But Temple also told PA that trading hasn’t always been smooth in recent months. He said the weather meant the company “didn’t have a great boot season last winter… and we were nervous around Black Friday that we wouldn’t be able to sell the kind of winterised product – the product that we didn’t want to carry over into February.”

But while Black Friday proved to be a success, he said that the discounts it offered at the time, meant that “there was a little bit of a vacuum between Black Friday and Christmas.”

Temple said profitability has suffered in recent years but the firm remains profitable and it’s still committed to its physical stores.

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