Schuh steps into a new era in the wake of MBO

Footwear retailer Schuh has completed a management buy-out as profits surged.

Finance director Mark Crutchley, managing director Colin Temple, store operations director Tom Lynch and personnel director Lyn Ferguson have gained full ownership of the business for an undisclosed sum, helped by debt funding from Lloyds TSB Scotland.

The news followed strong results for the year to March, when pre-tax profits climbed 36 per cent to£9 million, while sales were£81 million.

Former chairman and shareholder Terry Racionzer, who has worked alongside founder Sandy Alexander since 1990, said the change in ownership would breathe new life into Schuh. 'The business needs to be moved on by people with energy,' he said, adding that growth would come from expansion across the UK. Schuh is poised to enter London with a flagship store on Oxford Street later this month.

No details of the deal were given, but Retail Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark believed the business was probably worth approximately£70 million.

'They've got a good reputation and clearly have a good name in a difficult sector,' he said. 'They arguably have been one of the stars of the sector.'