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Shoe Zone growing online sales through Amazon and eBay

Value footwear retailer Shoe Zone has reported a year-on-year profit before tax decrease of £0.7 million to £2 million for the six months to 4 April 2015, on the back of a 5.7% drop in revenue to £78.2 million.

The company, which issues a profit warning in the spring, said today's interim results reflect the business's plans to close nine loss-making stores, as well as what it described as unseasonably warm weather during the winter period.

On a more positive note the retailer has been developing its multichannel offering, and is seeing significant sales growth through its partnerships with e-tail pure-plays Amazon and eBay. Judging by today's results announcement, Shoe Zone is putting its collaboration with these two marketplace giants at the heart of its digital strategy.

October 2014 saw the full launch of Shoe Zone's range on eBay, and the company indicated that it is already experiencing "encouraging results" with these sales representing 7% of online revenue. Multichannel revenue was said to be up 30% year on year for the six-month period, with sales via Amazon accounting for 17% of this division's top line.

Shoe Zone's own website continues to receive investment, with a fully responsive checkout now added. The retailer also said that the overall multichannel operation is contributing to the business at "a higher rate than our average high street store".

The balance of developing online sales and new fulfilment options for customers while continuing to grow profits is a challenge faced by the wider retail industry, but Shoe Zone CEO Anthony Smith said the board is confident about the future, with trading over recent months reportedly in line with the expectations set following April's profit warning.

He commented: "We remain focused on our growth levers: extending and improving our product range to leverage our market leading position in the value sector; driving efficiency in our property portfolio; operational investment in our warehouse facilities; and enhancements to our multichannel offering."