The shoe retailer Stead & Simpson, which has traditionally traded in market towns, has been polishing up its image since it appointed chief executive David Lockyer in 1997. The company, which also trades as Shoe Express, Famous Footwear and Peter Briggs, has closed 110 unprofitable stores and is investing £1.5m a year on refitting existing outlets. Sales in refurbished stores have risen 30% over the past two years. Profits grew 70% a year from £1.2m in 2000 to £5.9m in 2003, when management paid £3m for Apax Partners’ stake in the business.

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Company details
Year2005
Rank33
CompanyStead & Simpson
ActivityShoe retailer
LocationLeicester
Annual profit growth70.03%
Latest profits £000s5,904
Latest sales £000s130,051
Staff3,508
Founded1834
Websitewww.steadandsimpson.com

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure