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Stylo losses hit £7.8m as Barratts director departs

Stylo racked up pre-tax losses of £7.8 million for the year ended February 2, up from £7.1m in 2007.

Sales fell back 7% to £223.3m, representing a like-for-like fall of 3.98% over the year.

Stylo, which owns the Barratts and Priceless footwear chains, said that Barratts managing director David Patrick had resigned from the business. Patrick will be replaced by David Lockyer, previously a non-executive director at Stylo. Lockyer was also previously chief executive of Stead & Simpson.

Stylo chief executive and chairman Michael Ziff said: “David has been managing director of Barratts Division for over four years and has decided to leave the company to explore new avenues in his career. On behalf of the board we wish him every success in his future and thank him for his contribution to the group.”

Ziff added: “David Lockyer, who joined the board in January 2008, has been acting managing director - Barratts during the recent short period David Patrick has been absent from the business, and he brings to the role a wealth of experience in footwear retail.”

Separately, Ziff said that trading had been hit by the exceptionally difficult and competitive footwear market and increased costs such as rents, business rates, minimum wage and power costs. Increases in interest rates and unseasonal weather also affected sales.

Ziff said he continued to implement the strategic recovery programme initiated last year which includes the closure of unprofitable stores, investment in stores and seeking new sources of supply.

Stylo has already brought in Richard Wharton, co-founder of Office, to consult on the repositioning of the Barratts chain to become a fashionable family footwear retailer. Stylo has also brought in Roger Parr, formerly of Stead & Simpson as women’s buying director for Barratts. The company has introduced a new store concept which it will test in a handful of locations over the next few months. The full affect of the new stores and new management team will be evident from spring 09.

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