Shoe Zone clearly takes its name seriously – the retailer has announced that Terry Boot will be its next finance boss, replacing Peter Foot.

Mr Boot will take the position after four years working with The Company of Master Jewellers, which followed roles at Brantano and Jones Bootmaker.

He likely became a shoe-in for the job after Mr Foot unexpectedly walked away from the business last month, coming after only seven months in the role.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Shoe Zone, said: “We are delighted that Terry has agreed to join Shoe Zone and are confident that his considerable experience will strengthen the board.”

The appointment comes during a challenging time for the high street due to ongoing lockdown restrictions, with shops not allowed to reopen in England until 12 April at the earliest.

Shoe Zone said it is unlikely to pay a dividend out to shareholders until it is able to pay off its £12m debt – likely not before 2025 – due to the lockdown-driven losses seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shoe Zone, which has 430 stores in the UK, also confirmed that it reduced its store estate by 40 in 2020.

Shares in the business dropped on Monday morning after it fell to a £14.6m pre-tax loss from a £6.7m profit in the previous year.

The group revealed that revenues slumped by 24.3% to £122.3m for the year after it was hammered by closures, although digital sales increased by 82% to £19.3m for the year.

Mr Smith said: “We do not expect profits will return to pre-coronavirus levels for the foreseeable future.

“Lockdown in November and January to mid-April so far in this financial year makes a return to profit extremely unlikely until the financial period ending on 2 October 2022 at the earliest.

He added: “I would like to thank all those who gave us assistance in 2020 and have continued to help us in 2021.

“We are working very well as a management team in finding innovative ways to secure a future for our extremely dedicated Shoe Zoners”.

Shares in the company were 6.7% lower at 69.7p in early trading.

(c) Sky News 2021: Shoe Zone announces Terry Boot as next finance boss – replacing Peter Foot

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