Footwear group Clarks is to phase out its Ravel fashion footwear chain after more than 30 years.

Some of Ravel's 50 stores are to close but most will be converted to the Clarks brand, and the company hopes to restrict losses to around 20 jobs.

Clarks has blamed an increasingly competitive fashion footwear market for the decision, with newcomers including clothing retailers such as New Look and Primark successfully introducing their own shoe ranges. Supermarkets like Asda and Tesco are also growing footwear sales and have exerted deflationary pressures in the sector.

In the year to January 2007, operating profits at parent company C&J Clark were down 3.5% to GBP49.6m.