Shoe Zone shares step up as annual profits jump

Shares in Shoe Zone rose on Wednesday after the footwear retailer dished out £4 million to shareholders as a result of bumper annual profits.

The payout, in the form of a special dividend, came as the high street chain booked an 18% increase in pre-tax profit to £11.3 million in the year to September 29.

Revenue rose 1.8% year on year to £160.6 million, with online sales jumping 19.9% to £9.8 million.

The group said it would reward investors with an 8p-per-share final dividend, taking the year’s total to 11.5p.

In addition, it also plans an 8p special dividend from surplus cash, amounting to £4 million.

Shares were up more than 10% in morning trade at 199p.

Boss Nick Davis said: “I am pleased to report 2018 has been another successful year for Shoe Zone, with the group delivering a record profit before tax since IPO, driven from a strong performance throughout the business while operating in a challenging consumer environment.

“As a result of the strong performance, the board is pleased to again return excess cash to shareholders by way of special dividend.”

Shoe Zone opened 10 new Big Box stores during the period, with its strategy showing “a clear path” to growth by moving into out-of-town retail sites. At the year-end it had 492 stores in total, and 19 Big Box sites.

For the current year, Shoe Zone said it has made a “solid start” to annual trading, which is ahead of previous market expectations.