Danish shoe group Ecco ended its 2000 financial year slightly ahead, with profits before tax of almost DKK305m. This represents an increase over the previous year, which came in at DKK277m. Turnover also rose, up to DKK2836m from DKK2552m in 1999.   Despite tough conditions in the shoe trade, the group puts the positive development in its accounts down to investments it has made over the past three years in its factories, company expansion and staff training.