Hotter Shoes to close shops, make redundancies

Skelmersdale-based Hotter Shoes could close as many as 65 of its 80 shops, as the coronavirus pandemic hastened its digitisation plans.

The company, which is owned by Electra Private Equity, registered more than £100m in annual revenue and employed a workforce of around 1,200.

However, it had more recently installed a new chief executive who was to shift the focus online, taking the company back to its direct marketing roots. The lockdown is said to have 'intensified' these plans, and though it had attempted to renegotiate deals with its individual landlords, it was unsuccessful.

Hotter has now launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement with its creditors, which will enable it to pay back its debts over a longer period of time than initially agreed.

Neil Johnson, chairman of Electra Private Equity, said: "Before the pandemic hit, Hotter, under new chief executive Ian Watson, was making good progress to accelerate the implementation of a digitisation strategy to return it to its direct marketing routes. The need for these actions has been intensified by the consequences of the past three months of lockdown.

"If successful, the proposed CVA will result in fewer stores, which will secure the future of a smaller, sustainable business and will save over 350 jobs. I would like to thank all our colleagues at Hotter for their continued understanding at this difficult time."

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