Schuh has suffered a drop in full-year profits after it slashed prices to compete in what it called an “overtly promotional retail environment”.

The footwear specialist said pre-tax profits slipped 9.6% to £15m in the year to February 3.

Schuh’s bottom line took a hit despite registering a 9.8% jump in turnover to £308.5m and a 4% uptick in like-for-like sales.

The retailer insisted it had “a strong start” to the year, but discounting across the sector drove a “lacklustre” festive period.

Schuh said its gross margin slumped 490 basis points during the crucial Christmas quarter “due primarily to increased promotional activity”.

Finance and HR director David Gillan-Reid said: “We had a strong start to the year; however, from Black Friday onwards in line with retail generally we found the market much tougher.

“The promotional environment on the high street continued right through until Christmas, culminating in a lacklustre festive sales period.”

The retailer opened seven new stores during the year, including one on London’s Tottenham Court Road and two at the Westgate Oxford shopping centre, shutting just one shop in Cardiff.

The six net openings left the retailer with 135 stores at the year end.

Schuh also invested in a new-look website, which helped ecommerce grow to account for 20% of total sales.