Our Story


Michael Smith

48 Stores

80 Stores
Nigel Humphries
Discount Shoe Zone
Naomi Shefford

91 Stores
Head Office and Warehouse
Keith Phillips
Phil Doorly
Freeman Hardy Willis
Clare Howes
2001 Shoe Zone
Oliver Timpson
Charles Smith
2001 Extensive Alterations
2002 - 2006
Nick Davis
2005 Zone 2
2008 Stead and Simpson
Charlie Bloor
2007 Shoefayre
2007 Newtown Wales
Lee Hennell
2010 Shoe Zone Online
2011 – 2013 Consolidation
2011 – 2015
Over 500
To the future
Close Brothers, Michael and Christopher Smith purchased Bensonshoe in 1980. Their Grandfather was a footwear manufacturer and had invested in the business so shares had been handed down through the family and once combined gave the Smith brothers a significant share of Bensonshoe which they were then able to buy out. Michael and Christopher ran the business successfully though the 80’s and 90’s when Michael’s two sons, Anthony and Charles came on board. Christopher left his role in 1997 to follow other interests. Michael is still an active Chairman at age 70 and continues to take an avid interest in the business although he can now take a well earned rest and enjoy semi-retirement leaving the nuts and bolts of running the business to Anthony and Charles.
Close In 1981 Wassall plc was acquired increasing the number of stores in the company to 80.
Close Nigel Humphries, Head of IT joined the business. Nigel’s attention to detail and his knowledge of our stock and warehouse systems is vital to our IT progression.
Close The acquisition of Tyler Ltd added 61 stores (mostly in Ireland) and £6m turnover
Close Head Office and warehouse moved from the old premises at Brunswick St. to new offices and Distribution Centre of approx 65,000 sq ft.
Close Anthony Smith, Michael’s son joined the business in 1993 as Marketing Manager, holding various roles within Marketing and Retail and taking over the reins as Chief Executive in 1997. Anthony can’t sit still, his constant strive for new things and to do things better keeps us all on our toes. He is also well known for his charity ventures having completed a marathon, several cycle rides and a mammoth 65.5 mile walk so far.
Close Naomi Shefford joined the company as Sales Admin Assistant, taking on various roles in the Marketing Department and becoming Marketing and Property Director in 2007 – an example of promotion from within. Naomi has high standards and demands the same from all aspects of Marketing and Shopfitting, driving brand consistency throughout.
Close First Discount Shoe Zone store opened in Coventry and many stores were converted to pairs on display under Anthony Smith’s new role as Chief Executive.
Close Keith Phillips, Company Secretary, joined the business. Our resident Excel guru has held several roles within the finance department.
Close Phil Doorly joined the company as Retail Business Manager. An experienced shoe retailer with pairs on display experience from Shoe Express. Phil became Head of Retail (North) in 2000 then the whole country in 2011. Phil’s pairs on display experience has been instrumental in the development of a pairs store environment. He is our very own Frank Spencer, often getting into scrapes on outings and at events.
Close Acquired around 20 ex Curtess / Freeman Hardy Willis Stores from British Shoe.
Close Clare Howes joined the buying team as Ladies Buyer and became Buying Director in 2003. Clare’s excellent supplier relationships and continuous search for the best value for our customers has helped develop our product range, quality and styling.
Close Acquisition of Oliver Timpson Plc took place in 2000 more than doubling the number of stores.
Close 1st £1Million Store in Blanchardstown, Dublin.
Close Charles Smith, Anthony’s older brother joined the company, starting as a Store Manager and then Area Manager, moving to Head Office and becoming Retail Director in 2000. Charles is now Chief Operating Officer. The welfare of our staff and also the wider community is close to Charles’s heart. He has his fingers in many pies bringing people and things together to make a difference often via the Shoe Zone Trust.
Close Name of business changed to Shoe Zone and the 1st Shoe Zone store opened in Telford showcasing the new corporate colours of orange and blue.
Close Extensive alterations at Head Office and the Distribution Centre including moving into a larger area of the building 110,500 sq ft.
Close A period of consolidation followed the busy acquisition period. Time and effort was spent improving the image and shop fit.
Close Nick Davis joined the company as Management Accountant, becoming Finance Director in 2006. Nick is now Chief Financial Officer. Nick’s vision and thinking outside the box regularly challenges our progress – he always wants more!
Close Charlie Bloor came on board from Shoefayre where he initially helped with the integration of the two businesses as Integration Director, his current role is Operations Director. Charlie also likes a challenge and has joined Anthony on cycle rides and the mammoth walk.
Close 2005 saw another extension taking on Zone 2, a second building over the road and giving us a total of 190,000 sq ft.
Close 400th store opened in Newtown Wales.
Close Shoefayre was acquired in September 2007 adding 250 stores to the portfolio.
Close The acquisition of Stead and Simpson took place in January 2008 just months after the Shoefayre takeover creating a platform for the business to operate 2 fascias.
Close Lee Hennell joined the company bringing legal services, particularly property in house. His pursuit for the best has helped us secure fantastic deals on new leases. Lee is also a keen marathon runner, having completed 5 full and 30 half marathons in 5 years.
Close Shoe Zone online launched and became the biggest turnover store in it’s first year.
Close A period of consolidation after years of recent acquisitions, streamlining the property portfolio and strengthening the Shoe Zone brand.
Close Stead and Simpson now has over 220 stores throughout the UK and a transactional website which offers quality footwear for all the family at affordable prices.