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Britain's Shoe Zone shares slump after results warning, CEO quits

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(Reuters) – Shoe Zone Plc <SHOE.L> said on Friday Chief Executive Officer Nick Davis had resigned and warned that full-year results would be below expectations due a tough trading environment on high street, sending the footwear retailer’s shares plunging 40%.

The company, which operates 550 stores in the UK and Ireland and has over 4,000 employees, said trading conditions have been challenging since May-end and it would write down the value of its 17 freehold properties by 3.1 million pounds ($3.81 million) to 5.3 million pounds.

Shoe Zone said the writedown will not effect shareholder payout, but does not expect to declare a special dividend for the current fiscal year.

Shares slumped nearly 40% in early trading to its lowest since listing in 2014. The retailer has a market value of nearly 100 million pounds, according to Refinitiv data.

“As has been widely publicised, the UK High Street is currently facing a challenging environment in which to operate,” new CEO Anthony Smith said.

The number of empty shops in Britain hit its highest rate in four years in July, industry data showed earlier this month, adding to the growing gloom in the retail sector.

Shopper footfall also fell by 1.9%, the worst decline for July since 2012. It was down 2.7% on UK high streets and down 3.1% at shopping centres but up 1.2% at retail parks.

(Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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