Retail Crisis: Stead & Simpson Closing 90 Stores
The shoe shop chain Stead & Simpson is to close 90 stores as it attempts to safeguard its future.
The business, which was bought out of administration in January 2008 by Shoe Zone, has 227 stores across the UK.
The decision to cut loose 90, by closing down the operating company behind them, places an estimated 500 of its 1,400 jobs at risk.
Naomi Shefford, Marketing and Property Director, at Shoe Zone said: "We have undertaken a thorough review of the Stead & Simpson business over the last few months which has culminated in the winding up of Tyler Ltd, the company that Stead & Simpson stores trade under.
"We want to emphasise that this review has not affected Shoe Zone in any way at all, and has in fact further strengthened this business.
"The review has led to 90 Stead & Simpson store closures. The decision was not taken lightly to close these stores; however, in locations where we have two stores on the same high street, or where stores were not profitable for us, we had to make a business decision to ensure the company continues to be successful.
"We are pleased to confirm that the remaining Stead & Simpson stores will continue to trade on a business as usual basis, along with the very successful e-commerce site.
"Our staff are our number one priority and we appreciate the store closures have not been easy for them. However, where we have a Shoe Zone or another Stead & Simpson store near to any closures, we are doing everything we can to ensure our staff keep their jobs within the business.
"With all the recent action we have taken, we anticipate a further improvement in profitability in 2013 now that the business can focus on the remaining stores and our increasingly successful websites."
The problems for Stead & Simpson underline the wider crisis facing the high street.
It had previously been revealed that there was an acceleration in the number of chain stores closing - hitting 32 a day on average over the summer amid high rent bills and the-then recession.
Comet and JJB Sports have been among the high profile casualties.
Following a review of the problems facing town centres by the so-called 'Queen of Shops' Mary Portas, the Government began an investment programme to help breathe new life into high streets.