Discount footwear retailer The Shoe Zone Group has bought its troubled rival Shoefayre from the Co-operative Group for an undisclosed sum.

The Co-op said the chain's revenues had suffered amid fierce competition in the discount footwear sector, and that because the business was not a core part of its operations, its sale "to a well-known and profitable footwear retailer is both logical and desirable."

Leicester-based Shoefayre operates from 240 stores across the UK and was bought by the Co-operative Group in March 2005.
 
Anthony Smith, Shoe Zone chief executive, said the acquisition plays "a major part in the much needed consolidation of the footwear market."

He added: "We look forward to continuing the process of returning the Shoefayre business back to profitability over the coming months."

Shoe Zone has 400 stores throughout the UK and Ireland and sells over 18m pairs of shoes each year.