Stead & Simpson, the footwear retailer, plunged into administration yesterday.

But in a simultaneous deal rival footwear retailer ShoeZone rescued the retailer and bought them out of administration.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Rob Hunt, Bruce Cartwright and Stuart Maddison were appointed as administrators to the Leicester based firm yesterday.

Today, however, the business and assets have been sold to a newly formed company which is backed by Shoe Zone enabling 309 outlets and 2,700 jobs to be kept.

Stead & Simpson, which has an annual turnover of £140m, has been forced to cut 37 loss making stores, despite the rescue from Shoe Zone.

Stead & Simpson, with more than 250 stores, had put itself up for sale last year.

A statement from PWC said: ‘It has been experiencing a difficult trading environment with significant pressure for consolidation within the specialist footwear retail sector.’

The news follows footwear retailer Dolcis which went into administration earlier this month following a failure by its management to secure finance.

Earlier this month Stead & Simpson sold its Famous Footwear and Philip Jones stores to suppliers.

Rob Hunt, partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: ‘We are pleased to announce that, following the completion of a sale yesterday, Shoe Zone has acquired the business and assets of Stead & Simpson.

'This sale will enable 309 stores to continue trading, safeguard some 2,700 jobs and ensure that Stead and Simpson continues to have a place on the High Street.’