Shoe Zone CEO quits amid profit warning

Shoe Zone CEO Nick Davis quits amid profit warning
// Shoe Zone CEO Nick Davis resigns with immediate effect
// Announcement comes amid profit warning from the footwear retailer
// Nick Davis, who had been with Shoe Zone since 2003, left to “pursue other business interests”

The chief executive of Shoe Zone has suddenly quit as the footwear retailer issued a warning that profits will be below expectations.

Nick Davis, who had been with Shoe Zone since 2003, resigned with immediate effect to “pursue other business interests” after the retailer said the challenging nature of the high street will hit profits.

Davis was instrumental in getting Shoe Zone ready for the public markets in May 2014 and was promoted from chief financial officer to chief executive in June 2016.

Shoe Zone’s executive chairman Anthony Smith has assumed the role of chief executive on a permanent basis, while chief operating officer Charles Smith assumes the role of interim executive chairman

Smith said he would focus attentions on online and out of town larger stores due to the “tough” high street trading environment.

He added that a revaluation of its freehold properties means the company will take a £3.1 million hit for the financial year ending October 5, due to the 17 buildings Shoe Zone owns falling in value from £8.4 million to £5.3 million.

Shoe Zone said the property write down will have no effect on the company’s dividend, although the board did not anticipate a special dividend to be awarded for the current financial year.

The retailer is slated to provide a more detailed update in its full year report to be published October 24.

“As has been widely publicised, the UK high street is currently facing a challenging environment in which to operate,” Smith said.

“The pressure on the retail property market has enabled Shoe Zone to achieve an average 23.5 per cent fall in rents on renewal and average outstanding lease length of only two years.

“As a consequence of this and the tough freehold property market, our freehold assets had to be revalued to represent fair value and give us future flexibility.

“While we therefore face a short-term impact on our balance sheet, we do not anticipate any change to our dividend policy, reflecting our confidence and excitement in the long-term growth opportunities through the Big Box roll-out, continued operational improvements and our multi-channel proposition.”

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