£1m invested in reviving Bells Shoes online

By Lancashire Business View

19 Nov 2018

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Bacup-based Redfoot Shoes has invested more than £1m developing the online operation of Bells Shoes after buying its website, stock and intellectual property.

Bells Shoes comprised an online business and a shop in Buxton. It began winding down its internet operations in the spring after Clarks, which accounted for nearly half of its £18m annual turnover, decided to end supplies after failing to agree new terms.

The business has now gone into solvent voluntary liquidation as part of a planned wind-down.

Redfoot has taken on the online store while the physical location has been rebranded Bells of Buxton and continues to be owned and run by the Martin family.

Ed Martin, managing director of Bells Shoes, said: “After taking a lot of advice I made a tactical decision to go down the route of closure and voluntary liquidation.”

Around 25 staff were made redundant during the winding-down process. A further 25 employees left the business of their own accord during the period."

Steven Wiseglass, an insolvency practitioner and director at Greater Manchester firm Inquesta, has been appointed liquidator.

He said: “While it is regrettable that Bells Shoes has gone into liquidation and jobs have been lost, the process has been orderly, and we are pleased that the brand lives on under the ownership of Redfoot Shoes together with its plans to invest and develop it.”

Redfoot managing director Tim Smith said: “Bells is a very good fit for us and we see a major opportunity to develop the brand.

“We continue to trade with its suppliers and will be investing more than £1m initially on staff recruitment, IT development, social media marketing and stock.”

Redfoot Shoes was launched in 2006 as a division of The Bacup Shoe Company and was later spun out into an independent business. The company now employs 20 staff, occupies 150,000sq ft of warehouses and offices in Bacup and sells over 400,000 pairs of shoes a year.

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