Shoe Zone improves FY pretax profit

Shoe Zone has improved its FY pretax profit by 1.1% to £10.3m, from £10.1m a year ago. Two dividends were proposed -- a final of 6.8p a share and a special of 8.0p a share.

"I am pleased with the Group's performance in what was a challenging retail environment," said CEO Nick Davis in a statement.

"The Group's new branding is resonating well with our customer base and we will continue to update the estate through our store rationalisation and refit programme.

"Our Big Box trial, which started in August 2016, is delivering encouraging results while attracting a broader customer demographic and we plan to open a further six new stores across the UK in 2017.

"We continue to make good progress on our strategic objectives and have traded in line with expectations for the first quarter of the year. The Board remains positive for the outlook of the Group and looks forward to updating shareholders on the progress of our Big Box trial."

Meantime, revenue reduced by 4.2% to £159.8m (2015: £166.8m) reflecting the planned closure of loss making stores and difficult trading conditions in H1 2016. Product gross margin strengthened to 62.0% (2015: 61.5%).