Jobs at risk as Norfolk shoe firm in administration
About 60 jobs are at risk after Norfolk-based retailer Mr Shoes was put into administration yesterday .Administrators said the chain - which has 24 stores across southern England, including 11 in East Anglia - was the latest 'victim of the recession' and the financial troubles to have hit the high street.
About 60 jobs are at risk after Norfolk-based retailer Mr Shoes was put into administration yesterday.
Administrators said the chain - which has 24 stores across southern England, including 11 in East Anglia - was the latest "victim of the recession" and the financial troubles to have hit the high street.
The firm was founded in 1978 by former Olympic distance runner and boss of Nike UK Mike Tagg.
Mr Tagg was unavailable for comment last night.
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But he has overseen the firm's growth to a �7m-a-year business employing 130 people across the country and with a growing operation on the internet.
Administrators Larking Gowen said they were hopeful of finding a buyer for the business, but confirmed that the Sneaker Peak branch in Norwich's Orford Place and the Mr Shoes store in King's Lynn would be among the outlets to close.
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But the chain's two main stores in Norwich - in Red Lion Street and St Stephens - will remain open and continue to trade.
Administrator David Whitehead of Larking Gowen said: "Unfortunately Mr Shoes is a victim of the recession and the problems retailers in the UK are facing.
"We are hopeful of keeping 14 of the stores open. Unfortunately this means in the region of 60 people are likely to lose their jobs.
"On a more positive side we have high hopes of being able to find a buyer for the company as it's a good business with a sound pedigree that has fallen foul of these difficult trading conditions."
Mr Shoes declared a �275,048 loss before tax in the 53 weeks to March 2008, compared to a �146,700 profit the year before.
Last year the firm acquired four stores from another group and bought a new warehouse to act as a distribution centre.
"The results for the period were adversely affected by a worsening of general economic conditions in the United Kingdom," according to the accounts.
"Gross profit margins fell from 64.1pc in 2007 to 59.3pc in 2008… the main risk is the continuing economic downturn and costs are being reduced to counteract any falls in sales and margins."