Deathwatch: Sibling Shoe Stores Lose Their Footing

Breaking news – the administrators have taken over at the shoe-store chains of Barratt and Priceless Shoes.

Between them, the brands have approximately 400 stores in the UK, employing 5450 staff.  The stores are continuing to trade and their parent company Stylo is not in administration at this point – trading in its shares has been suspended though.

In 2008, Stylo posted a pre-tax loss of £12.5m, following on from a loss of £7.1m the previous year. They join fellow footwear hawkers Stead & Simpson, Dolcis and Faith in the admin pen.

We’re all hardened clog men here at Bitterwallet so we’ve no real experience of any of those stores, but if you have, tell us where they all went wrong.


  • Mike H.
    Should've put prices on your shoes then shouldn't you? You pillocks!
  • chrisg
    Usual problem at all of these tits up companies so far. Bad buyers. If you aren't buying the right products, at the right price points, to meet their customer base's needs, then you are going to fail. In a blossoming economy, you can afford to make some mistakes and not get punished. Margins are high, confidence is high and people will buy things they want more or less regardless of price. This is especially true in the fashion market. Now, people are looking for value and bargains, and many buyers have not responded to this quickly enough. In some cases they are unable to, since they are heavy on high value, low turnover inventory and funds to refresh stock are low. It's terrible frustrating to see some of the god awful products in the shops at the moment, with no customers around; yet knock 40% off and people can't enough of it. The companies surviving this recession will be the ones with the best buyers.
  • M.Y.88
    puntastic, did the company 'run' out of ideas . .
  • cokeman123
    I'll tell you where they went wrong - 400 stores, employing 5450 people?, thats 13 employees per store - no wonder they closed down, the shoopers couldnt get in.
  • chillisaucesalad
    "Usual problem at all of these tits up companies so far. Bad buyers." Not neccesarily the case- look at Woolworths. Their product selection seemed to keep punters happy for many a generation. Reason why they collapsed? The Banks refusing to lend credit to them and calling in all existing loans. Whereas before the banks would not ask for credit to be paid back so soon, in the current financial climate, they wanted to call in any loans quick smart.
  • chrisg
    I'm sorry, the products at Woolworths took a SERIOUS turn for the worse over the last 18 months. They went from being a bit of a jack of all trades with some interesting homeware and DIY lines, good selection of toys etc to ridiculous gadgets and flimsy tools. The DIY/homeware sections were completely filled with "half price" nonsense like laser guided scissors, pretend jacuzzi units etc. Nothing practical and useful, and certainly nothing of any quality. Something definitely changed there, and it was the products in my opinion. It used to be a bit of a guilty pleasure popping in Woolies to see if there were any interesting things to buy on impulse, but over the last year or so I walked out after not buying anything at all and thinking "why do I wander round here every week?". I understand your point about the fluidity of cashflow and loan availability but this is all down to risk. Regardless of the financial environment a solid profitable company will always be given time, and extended credit lines should it be able to show a good business plan. I admit that the thresholds are probably a lot lower, but blaming banks for calling in loans (or for that matter offering bad terms) is ridiculous. They only do that when things are so bad that they expect the company to fold Add all of this to the fact that despite owning a massive entertainment distributor, they still couldn't find it within themselves to sell games and music for prices competitive with HMV/Zavvi.
  • Deathwatch: B.
    [...] the recent collapse of fellow shoe peddlers Priceless, Barratts, Stead & Simpson and Dolcis, it seems that during a recession, it’s [...]

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