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Shoe Zone invests online following year in which ecommerce grew by 26%

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Shoe Zone today outlined plans for online investment including the launch of a fully responsive site in 2015 as it unveiled its maiden set of full-year results as a listed company.

The value footwear retailer reported a fall in sales, but fast growth in pre-tax profits in the year to October 4. Online sales grew by 26% during the year, to account for 3.1% of total sales – up from 2.2% last year.

The company sells through 545 shops and online through, and said multichannel growth came after it launched on Amazon and eBay, with “online participation” up by 41%. It also introduced 200 web-only products, whose sales “far exceeded expectations” and accounted for 5% of all online sales in spring/summer 2014.

Shoe Zone said it had focused on the customer experience in 2014, making significant changes to the design and customer journey, including an improved checkout and improving delivery and returns. The company has now also started to sell overseas. It said it had ensured the website was robust and responded efficiently to traffic that rose by 25% during the year, compared to the previous 12 months.

The company is now working with suppliers to extend its online offer in 2015 and is also planning the launch of a full responsive site this year following a trial that saw mobile conversion rates increase by 24%.

Overall, Shoe Zone reported total sales of £172.m, 10.8% down from £193.9m at the same time last year. Shoe Zone said the drop in sales followed the closure of a number of temporary stores. But pre-tax profits, excluding exceptional items, rose by 124% to £11.4m, from £5.1m last time. Pre-tax profits after exceptional costs of £0.9m, related to its stock market flotation, came in at £10.5m.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said it had been a year of solid profit growth. He added: “Despite the well-documented warm start to the Autumn/Winter season we believe that 2015 will be a further year of growth for the Group. The board continues to see significant opportunities ahead and remains confident that the business will perform in line with market expectations.”

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