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Payless ShoeSource opens its first store
Jun '09
Payless ShoeSource, the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the western hemisphere, and its franchisee partner, M.H. Alshaya Co., the leading retailer in the region, announced the grand opening of the first Payless ShoeSource store in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a 227-square-meter store located in Bawadi Mall, Al Ain.

"We are excited to continue our Payless store expansion in the Middle East with this first store in the UAE and our fourth in the region. The franchise model is working well for us, and we are very pleased to have such a tremendous franchisee in Alshaya," said Matt Rubel, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Collective Brands, Inc., which owns Payless ShoeSource. "We are thrilled to bring shoppers in the Middle East all that Payless has to offer -- great style, quality and brand names, all at a great price."

Through the franchise arrangement, Payless provides Alshaya with retail operations and merchandising expertise. Alshaya provides retail location strategy, construction, logistics, and store staffing. Alshaya will utilize Payless' newest store format, referred to as the "Hot Zone," and purchases Payless product directly from Payless' seasonal assortment.

Like the Payless stores in the U.S., the stores in the Middle East feature a wide assortment of shoes and accessories for the family including branded products for women, men and children covering a range of wearing occasions. Brands featured in the new stores include such well-recognized names as Airwalk, American Eagle, Smartfit, and the Disney collection including shoes and accessories featuring Hannah Montana, Dora the Explorer, Spider-Man and Cars.

Also available at the Middle Eastern stores are Payless Designer Collections with hot-off-the-runway looks from New York fashion designers Lela Rose with Lela Rose for Payless, and Christian Siriano with Christian Siriano for Payless. The Payless Designer Collections are among the most widely distributed designer footwear labels in America today.

"We are very excited to introduce Payless to the Middle Eastern market, and we believe the Payless name and all it represents including great brands, a fun inspiring shopping experience, the latest affordable fashions and high quality will do well here -- just as it has in other regions of the world," said Mohammed Alshaya, Executive Chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co.

Payless and its more than 4,500-store chain has an expanding international presence today in countries and territories including the United States, Canada and in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Stores in Central America, South America, Trinidad and the Dominican Republic are operated through joint ventures. Stores in Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Saipan, are operated through wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Payless believes that the franchise model will enable it to most effectively reach more international markets with its unique vision, and has plans to expand to other Middle Eastern countries, including Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Under the multi-year franchise agreement, Payless and Alshaya said they believe the Middle East could, in the long term, support up to 200 stores.

This international expansion strategy is also a significant move in expanding Payless' diversified real estate strategy that includes a well-balanced mix of mall-based stores with free standing stores and those located in lifestyle and local shopping centers.

Payless ShoeSource

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