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COMPANY PROFILE How Schuh is growing during cost-of-living crisis

Image © Schuh

An exclusive retailer spotlight in the first RetailX UK 360° report looks at how multichannel shoe retailer Schuh is growing at a time of ongoing cost-of-living issues, while also managing to track its impact on the environment.

Sandy Alexander opened the first Schuh shop in Edinburgh in 1981, initially as a fashion store selling shoes. It has since expanded around the UK and opened its first international stores in Germany. Today, it sells more than 100 different brands both online and through its 122 bricks-and-mortar stores. Its multichannel model enables it to offer cross-channel services such as same-day click and collect.

In 2011, Schuh was bought by Nashville-based speciality retailer Genesco. In its latest financial year, to 3 February 2024, Genesco reported a full year pre-tax loss of $21.8mn (-0.9% on the previous year) on net sales of $2.3bn (-2.5%).

Schuh Group reported operating income of $21.4mn (+22%) on net sales of $480.2mn (+11%). Genesco board chair, president and chief executive Mimi E Vaughn said at the time that it had been a year of “record sales” for both Schuh and its sister company Johnston & Murphy. In the year ahead, she said, “We have more work to do to meet the needs of our changing customer.”

Schuh tracks its social purpose on its own website, where it has reported a 76% reduction in emissions by 2022, compared to its 2019 baseline. It also reveals the number of young people it has supported through mental wellness partners (104,800) and The Prince’s Trust youth development programmes (1,370).

Customers who sign up to The Schuh Club loyalty scheme qualify for offers, promotions and competitions. It also has a relatively generous one-year returns policy. The retailer engages with shoppers through live chat as well as through four social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube. Its largest following is on Facebook, where it has 690k followers for product images and videos.

This is one of eight profiles in this new RetailX UK 360° report. Argos, Asos, Currys, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Screwfix and Tesco are also looked at in detail.

The full report gives an all-round view of this mature market to retail businesses, whether they already trade in this market or are considering a move into or expansion within this market.

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