Poor weather and strategy change affect UK performance
Footwear retailer Brantano revealed sales outside of its home market of Belgium slid 3.7 per cent to Eu158.9 million (£107 million) for the year to December 31, compared to Eu164.9 million (£111.1 million) in 2002, affected by the weather and a change in commercial strategy.

Group turnover declined 2.9 per cent to Eu295.2 million (£198.8 million), compared to Eu304.1 million (£204.8 million) in 2005. Profit was Eu35.9 million (£24.2 million) for the year.

The group said that operating costs had increased in Belgium and the UK, with a major rise in UK store rent and rental charges because of a large number of five-year rent reviews.

Profit for the year was influenced by Eu29.1 million (£19.6 million) worth of operating revenues, generated by the sale of real estate and store management.

Seven stores were opened and five were closed in the UK and three stores were opened in the Middle East during the year. In Belgium, one store was opened and the shop at Lokeren burnt down. The company operates from 285 outlets.

Brantano chairman Joris Brantegem said: 'Our focus for this year in both countries will be on turnover and margin growth. The refurbishing programme for existing stores will carry on and roughly seven openings are planned.

'This year, we will launch a national marketing campaign in the UK to build on our repositioning in the UK market. In the past year, a lot of work has been done on store standardisation and staff training. In buying, the emphasis was placed on fashion for the summer collection.'

Brantegem added that this year had got off to a good start in Belgium and the UK.