A group of footwear suppliers are considering legal action to recover full payment for stock delivered to Stead & Simpson before it was sold in a pre-pack administration deal to rival Shoe Zone last month.

About 10 suppliers, which are understood to be owed between£2 million and£3 million, are considering instructing a solicitor to approach Stead & Simpson’s administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Earlier this month, Leicester supplier Now Shoes was forced into administration because it was owed£650,000, while another supplier is understood to be owed£1.2 million.

Some suppliers questioned why Stead & Simpson continued to accept deliveries shortly before the retailer was placed into administration. One supplier said: “Companies just can’t carry out due diligence in half an hour.”

A PricewaterhouseCoopers spokeswoman said the sale was transparent, but could not comment on the suppliers’ action until it had been contacted by a solicitor.

Shoe Zone, which last year bought Shoefayre, bought Stead & Simpson at the end of January. The old Stead & Simpson management have since left the business. Stead & Simpson’s brands include Shoe Express and Peter Briggs and the business was put up for sale last year.

Separately, Shoe Zone is understood to be in the process of making a substantial number of Stead & Simpson head office staff redundant and will close further stores.