Dundee-based shoe retail chain sells five outlets

image captionWilliam Smith Ltd has sold five of it stores, including four DE Shoes outlets, to Begg Shoes and Bags

A 146-year-old Dundee-based shoe retail chain has sold five of its branches as part of efforts to battle financial difficulties.

William Smith Ltd, which owns DE Shoes and Foot Factory, has sold off five of its 31 stores to Begg Shoes and Bags.

The sale affects the DE Shoes shops in Elgin, Inverurie, Kirkwall and Lerwick and the Foot Factory in Peterhead.

The future of the other 26 outlets is expected to be made clear when a 90-day consultation period ends on 19 April.

The sale is expected to secure the jobs of about 50 people.

William Smith's managing director, Robert Sinclair, described the move as a positive development.

'Family business'

He said: "Although it is very sad to see some of our colleagues and friends move on from our family business and for William Smith's to end the link with these local communities that have been so well served, in most cases, for generations, under the circumstances it is very pleasing that almost a quarter of our staff have their jobs secured and their local communities will continue to be served by these excellent individuals.

"Begg Shoes and Bags Ltd is another long standing family business with a proud history of serving local communities. I wish them and their new staff a very prosperous future.

"The five transferred stores will continue to trade under the DE Shoes/Foot Factory name for the foreseeable future but customers should understand that they are now owned by a different company so there may be some changes in due course."

Mr Sinclair said he expected a decision on the future of the remaining William Smith shops to be made next week, when the 90-day staff consultation ends.

He added: "I would like to stress that we are continuing to consult with interested parties looking to take on any of the remaining stores as going concerns.

"We still see this as the best way to avoid or reduce further the potential need to make redundancies and I am very keen to talk to anyone interested and will readily provide more information on request."

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