Stylo back in the black with pounds 2.5m

Stylo, the Barratt shoe-shop owner, bounced back into the black in the year to January, writes Tom Stevenson.

The shares, which have almost tripled since the placing a year ago of Control Securities' 29 per cent stake in the company, added 10p to 245p.

The improvement to pre-tax profits of pounds 2.5m, compared with a pounds 746,000 loss, was even better than at first sight because last year's figure benefited from a pounds 1.33m property disposal profit.

Michael Smith, finance director, said that turnover, which rose 10 per cent to pounds 116.5m last year, was growing even faster this time.

He said that the portfolio of more than 350 shops would probably be revalued later this year. The last valuation was in January 1991 when the shops were put in the books at almost pounds 100m.

Mr Smith admitted that it was likely that they were now worth more thanks to the recent upsurge in retail property values. During the year 25 branches were opened and six closed.

Stylo's chain of shops has always been the key to its value. In the mid-1980s it was the object of hostile bids from both Harris Queensway and British Land.

Earnings per share were 12.1p, compared with a 4.01p loss, and the dividend was increased by a third to 4p.

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