Losses have increased at leadng shoe retailer Stylo which has reported a weak start to the second half of the year.

Stylo, which owns Barratts, Bacons, Saxone, Shells and PriceLess, has shown a 39 per cent year-on-year rise in half year losses to £4.6 million.

It said the cost of of buying Shellys in April and of revamping warehousing and distribution had caused the rise in bottom line losses in the six months to August 2.

The company said extra pension costs, economic uncertainty surrounding the Iraq conflict and increased concession commission costs had also contributed.

Stylo said sales in the second half, which is traditionally better than the first half, had begun slowly.

Chairman and chief executive, Michael Ziff, added that the future benefits from Shellys would be unlikely to materialise in the results until 2004.

Stylo, which is based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, makes shoes and sells them in 361 of its own stores and 314 concessions throughout the UK. It employs 2,500 people.

By Clive Hinchcliffe.