Footwear retailer cites competitive market and poor weather for the 4% drop in its first half

Footwear retailer Stylo has blamed an “exceptionally competitive shoe market” and unseasonal weather for a like-for-like sales decrease of 4.3 per cent.

The group, which includes the Shellys, Barratts and Priceless Shoes brands, reported a loss of£7.5 million after tax for the 26 weeks to August 4. This compares with a£7.7 million loss for the same period in 2006. Total revenue was down to£100 million from£104.5 million during the first half of 2006.

Stylo said that increasing costs in the form of rents, business rates, the minimum wage, interest rates and power costs had also contributed to the poor performance.

However, Stylo group chairman and chief executive Michael Ziff said that the group had made progress in all the areas outlined in the strategic recovery programme announced in February and he remains confident that it is “well-positioned to take advantage of any improvements in the retail environment”.

Stylo has been given notice to close 26 Dorothy Perkins concessions during spring next year, following the closure of 37 last month. A new deal has been struck with Bay Trading to operate in 10 of its stores.

Twelve loss-making stores have been closed since the beginning of the financial year, one store has opened and 25 refits have been carried out.