PROFITS have soared by nearly 30 per cent at high street retailer Schuh during a year which saw staff share in a £25 million bonus put in place when it was acquired by US-based retailer Genesco in 2011.

The bonus, which was worth £3000 for full-time sales advisers with five years’ service, was paid out in May after the business exceeded a series of performance targets in the last four years.

The bonus charge had been accruing in the company’s accounts since the Genesco acquisition, and reached full accrual during Schuh’s last financial year.

The amount paid out to each member of staff, which varied according to salary and length of service, was worth as much as £14,000 for full-time store managers earning £34,000 a year with 10 years’ service.

Staff at Schuh had previously shared in a £37m windfall following the £125m takeover by Genesco, a Tennessee-based retail giant, in 2011.

Schuh confirmed the bonus as it reported a 28.1 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £15.2 million, on revenue up by 7.8 per cent to £266.8m.

The rise in profits came in spite of a tough fourth quarter, which was marked by milder weather, a slower Black Friday and a “challenging” Christmas period.

David Gillan-Reid, Schuh’s incoming finance director, said: “The year started well with positive sales comps in the first three quarters, however a mild winter throughout combined with a slower Black Friday leading up to a challenging Christmas trading period meant we found ourselves in a much tougher position in the final quarter.”

The period saw Schuh add 17 new stores to its estate, taking its overall portfolio to 125 across the UK, Ireland and Germany, where it opened its first shop, in Oberhausen, last year. Schuh, which was founded with a store in Edinburgh’s North Bridge Arcade in 1981, also added eight in-store kids departments to existing stores, while continuing to invest in retail technology.

That investment saw it introduce mobile payment technology to its stores last year, with the company noting traditional cash desks are not a feature in its most recent store model. Such stores will have between two and five kiosks located throughout the shop floor instead.

Mr Gillan-Reid, who joined the Schuh board in June, added: “We have continued to focus on customer service and enhancing our online offering by launching a new responsive Irish website as well as extending live help to mobile during the year.

“We are always looking at ways to innovate and enhance the customer experience.”

Schuh was acquired by Genesco in 2011 in what is believed to be one of the most staff-friendly deals struck by Scottish directors.

It saw Colin Temple, who continues to be managing director of the business, and Mark Crutchley, hand staff one-third of their instant windfall, while still receiving £25m each. It meant the longest-serving members of staff, among a then headcount of 2,300, were able to pocket six-figure pay-outs. Mr Temple and Mr Crutchley had each held a 37 per cent share.

Schuh now employs 4,211 staff and has 18 of its stores in Scotland.