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|Headquarters||Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland|
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Number of employees
schuh (pronounced /ʃu/, like "shoe") is a footwear retailer from the UK, with 118 stores in the UK and Ireland. schuh’s customers are mostly in their late teens or early twenties and the company is predominantly a branded shoe stockist, selling over 80 brands, including: Converse, Vans, UGG, Nike, Adidas as well as its own schuh label. The company, based in Livingston, West Lothian in Scotland operates throughout the British Isles, Republic of Ireland and Germany. Schuh also delivers internationally.
The very first schuh store opened on Edinburgh’s North Bridge Arcade in 1981. schuh’s founder Sandy Alexander noticed a lack of fashionable footwear retailer outside London, and he chose Edinburgh to open the very first schuh store. schuh describe their concept as follows: "To provide aspirational but accessible fashion footwear, sold in a unique and exciting retail environment at prices which represent value for money and sold by friendly and knowledgeable staff." The business was operating independently until 1986, when it was acquired by a public company. It continued as a semi-autonomous trading division until it regained independence through a management buy-out in 1990 and schuh Ltd was formed.
In June 2011 schuh was acquired by Genesco Inc. a Nashville, Tennessee footwear retailer, for the sum of £125 million. Genesco Inc. sells footwear, headwear, sports apparel and accessories in more than 2,450 retail stores throughout the U.S, principally under the fascias Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Shi by Journeys, Lids and Lids Locker Room, Dockers, Johnston & Murphy, and Underground Station. Genesco Inc. had a turnover of $2.6 billion in 2012/2013.
Schuh is German for shoe. In external marketing, the company pronounces the word like the English word "shoe". Because of the name, many people assume that schuh is a German company. schuh was to be originally named Lizard, until founder Sandy Alexander's colleague Mike Doherty saw the word ‘schuhe’ written at the top of an industry magazine - they dropped the 'e' and "schuh" was born.
History in Brief
- 1981: opened first store on Edinburgh’s North Bridge Arcade
- 1983: schuh opens in Glasgow
- 1984: First English store opens in Newcastle
- 1990: Business is restructured and a new management team is established
- 1991: schuh HQ moves to Livingston
- 1992: schuh opens second store in Edinburgh and Glasgow along with Aberdeen and Newcastle
- 1994: New stores in Nottingham, Leeds, Hull, Liverpool and Manchester
- 1997: launch of schuh magazine, distributed throughout its stores
- 1997: schuh opens first Ireland store in Dublin
- 1998: schuh launches the website schuhstore.co.uk
- 2000: schuh has 42 outlet concessions in D2 stores
- 2002: schuh launches transactional website in partnership with shoeshop.com
- 2004: opened first London store with its biggest ever store at 200 Oxford Street
- 2005: schuh outlets open in Republic stores following the exit from D2 stores
- 2006: schuh acquired the exclusive licence to sell Red or Dead shoes
- 2008: 2nd London store opens in the Westfield London development
- 2009: The schuh welly exchange appears at 5 UK festivals and wins a UK Festival award for Best Brand Activation.
- 2010: Opens a ‘hometown’ store in Livingston
- 2011: schuh celebrates 30 years with exclusive collaborations, a commemorative book and birthday parties in every store.
- 2012: schuh is acquired by US corporation Genesco
- 2012: schuh kids is launched
- 2013: schuh opens a record 19 stores
- 2014: schuh launches a new responsive website
- 2015: schuh opens its first stores outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland in the Centro shopping centre in Oberhausen, Germany.
schuh HQ and distribution centre is in Livingston, Scotland with a Press Office and design studio in London. schuh trades profitably from their 100+ high street stores and their website. schuh had a turnover of £233 million in 2012/2013 generating a profit of £25.6 million.
schuh has grown organically over the last 3 decades and the partnership with Genesco has helped to accelerate growth, as demonstrated in 2012 and 2013 with the continued expansion of schuh and the launch of schuh kids taking the number of schuh stores to over 100 in 2014.
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Since schuh opened its first ever store in Edinburgh, North Bridge Arcade back in 1981, the company now has over 100 stores across the UK and Ireland, including the standalone kids store.
In 2015 schuh opened its first store outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland in the Centro shopping centre in Oberhausen, Germany. This was quickly followed with a second German store in Ruhr Park. A third store is planned to open in Essen in 2016.
The original schuh website (schuhstore.co.uk) was launched in 1998 as an online version of the schuh magazine but it took another four years before schuh started trading online. Back then, there were doubts whether you could sell shoes on the internet. But today, the site is a major contributor to the company's success with a dedicated ecommerce team overseeing the online activities.
schuh was among the first retailers to open a store on eBay as a way of clearing sale stock. It is now one of the top 100 eBay stores in the world. This method of selling through sale stock ensures that stores do not get overwhelmed with sale stock and maximises stock clearance. Along with schuh.co.uk, schuh.ie, schuh.eu and eBay, schuh also sells through stores on Amazon and vivaladiva, as well as its sister company, Branch309, that sells branded shoes at a discounted price.
The company has also taken a major step forward with their website by launching a fully responsive site with a strong emphasis on "mobile first approach" for their ever-growing number of mobile users.
2012 saw the launch of schuh kids: the first expansion of the schuh brand since the company was acquired by Genesco in June 2011.
Initially schuh kids was trialled in 20 stores, each with a specially designed schuh kids tower. The company then took the decision to open standalone stores in Glasgow, Lakeside and Liverpool, before expanding further. The original three were attached to a schuh shop intended to create a schuh ‘superstore’ however, the kids element runs as a different fascia with its own entrance, staff, who are specially trained to measure kids' feet, and management team.
Since launch, the schuh kids store concept has proved extremely popular, receiving industry recognition with a POPAI interiors award in 2013. schuh kids is now available in all stores as well as online.
schuh is predominantly a branded footwear stockist selling popular brands like Converse, adidas, Vans, Nike and UGG Australia as well as less known and more niche brands, and also the schuh own brand label which are designed by an in-house team of shoe designers. The schuh brand aspires to represent current fashion looks and trends. Besides footwear schuh also stocks shoe care products and accessories.
schuh currently stock over 80 brands across the shoes, accessories and shoe-care range.
Launched in 1998, the schuh magazine was distributed through its stores with cover stars include Caprice, Katie Price and Gail Porter. The magazine was produced by the head office and combined features on the company and its footwear along with music and other pop culture subjects. The final schuh magazine was released in 2006.
schuh Welly Exchange
In 2009 schuh launched the schuh Welly Exchange at Scotland’s RockNess Festival. The schuh Welly Exchange swaps festival goers old shoes for wellington boots. The shoes are recycled by the Newlife Foundation. The schuh Welly Exchange has appeared at Bestival, Oxegen, Camp Bestival, Global Gathering, Creamfields, Summer Sundae and RockNess.
schuh Design Challenge
In partnership with West Lothian council, schuh launched the schuh Design Challenge in 1997. It has run every year since and is aimed at promoting fashion design in schools located near its head office in Livingston.
- Winner: Scottish Fashion Awards 2013
- Winner: Gold Award in Flagship and Store category 2013
- Winner: Drapers Footwear Awards: Multiple Footwear Retailer of the Year 2013
- Winner: Insider Deals: Dealmaker Deal of the year 2012
- Winner: Insider deals: Dealmaker Sale of the year 2012
- Winner: Fabulous Magazine: Fabulous for stand-alone shoes 2012
- Winner: Company high fashion awards: Best footwear under £150 2012
- Winner: Drapers footwear & accessories awards: High street retailer of the year 2012
- Winner: Retail Week Rising Star Awards: Customer Service Team of the Year 2011
- Winner: Drapers Footwear Awards: Multiple Footwear Retailer of the Year 2011 winners
- Winner: Drapers Footwear Awards: Multiple Footwear Retailer of the Year 2010
- Winner: Drapers Footwear Awards: Etailer of the Year 2010
- Winner: Drapers Etail Awards: Drapers Best Multichannel Retailer 2010
- Winner: Drapers Footwear Awards: Young Fashion Footwear Retailer of the Year 2009
- Winner: Drapers Footwear Awards: Men’s Footwear Retailer of the Year 2009
- Winner: Drapers Etail Awards: Best Multichannel Retailer 2009
- Winner: UK Festival Awards: Best Brand activation 2009
- "Winners Interview: Retailer of the Year Awards 2013". Scottish Fashion Awards. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Blackden, Richard (24 June 2011). "Schuh sales staff to share £37.3m windfall after US takeover". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Jeff, Dominic (12 June 2013). "Schuh delivers record profts of £25.6m". The Scotsman. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- White, Claire (26 June 2013). "A step in a new direction as Schuh close oldest Edinburgh store". STV News. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Charlton, Graham (15 September 2014). "Schuh's adoption of responsive and the importance of a 'mobile first' approach". econsultancy. econsultancy. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "Flagship & Store Category Award". POPAI. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "Emma wins Schuh Design Challenge". West Lothian Council. Retrieved 8 October 2014.