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Shoe Zone tries stock market for size

Discount shoe chain Shoe Zone is to float on the London Stock Exchange in a move valuing the business at around £100 million.

The Leicester-based firm, which was founded by brothers Michael and Christopher Smith in 1980, runs 554 stores in the UK and Ireland and employs 4,100 staff.

The sons of one of the founders - chief executive Anthony Smith and chief operating officer Charles Smith - are expected to realise between £40 million and £50 million from the sale of shares in the listing.

It is the latest in a string of flotations in the retail sector in recent months, indicating growing confidence in the industry. Others have included Pets at Home and Card Factory.

Shoe Zone sells over 20 million pairs of shoes a year, with average prices in its stores below £10 in 2013.

It posted pre-tax profits of £9.3 million in the year to October 5, a 66% increase on the previous 12 months on revenues of £193.9 million.

Shoe Zone also said that Ian Filby will join the board as non-executive chairman. He is currently chairman at furniture chain DFS, and before that worked for 30 years in various senior roles at high street pharmacist Alliance Boots.

Shoe Zone plans to float on London's AIM market, home to junior firms.

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