Payless ShoeSource and American Ballet Theatre(TM) Team Up to Democratize Dance by Making Authentic Dance Shoes Affordable

ABT for Spotlights(TM) Dance Collection Available now in 3,000 Payless(R)

Stores Nationwide and on for Under $25

Aug 02, 2007, 01:00 ET from Payless ShoeSource, Inc.

    NEW YORK and TOPEKA, Kan., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Payless
 ShoeSource (NYSE:   PSS), the largest specialty family footwear retailer in
 the Western Hemisphere, and American Ballet Theatre, America's National
 Ballet Company(R), have teamed up to democratize dance across America by
 making authentic dance footwear affordable.
     The new line, branded ABT for Spotlights, is available now for under
 $25 in about 3,000 Payless stores nationwide and at and
 includes styles for ballet, jazz and tap, as well as accessories such as
 dance bags. The shoes are available in kids and adult sizing and are
 perfect for the beginning dancer.
     Payless has offered dance shoes under the Spotlights brand for the past
 several years. Through the Payless/ABT alliance, which was launched in May
 of 2006, Payless footwear designers were able to access ABT(TM) and its
 world-class dancers to gain intimate knowledge of the art of dance to
 develop and bring forward the enhanced, co-branded line.
     "Our alliance with ABT for the ABT for Spotlights collection enables us
 to bring innovation and authentic performance shoes to our customers, and
 allows us to support the arts in a meaningful and interactive manner," said
 Matt Rubel, chief executive officer and president of Payless ShoeSource.
 "Everyone wins -- consumers receive authentic dance shoes at a great price
 in our stores, ABT makes dance accessible to the public, and Payless as a
 company becomes more connected to young girls -- whose number one activity
 is dance."
     Sarah Lane, Soloist Dancer for ABT, is the face of the new ABT for
 Spotlights brand and is featured on the shoe boxes, as well as in-store
 signage and ads. Lane always dreamed of being a dancer; as a beginner, her
 first pair of dance shoes were purchased from Payless. Recently selected as
 a recipient of a 2007 Princess Grace Award, this prestigious honor further
 pays tribute to Lane as among the nation's most talented young artists.
     "As the first-ever partnership of a major dance company and mass
 retailer, we are thrilled that Payless and ABT are leading the way in the
 marriage of art and commerce," said Rachel Moore, executive director of
 ABT. "The importance of having the right gear when participating in
 athletic activities is paramount; as such, we are striving to deliver
 high-performance dance footwear at an affordable price to help increase
 youth access to the art of dance."
     In June, Payless ShoeSource and ABT were recognized for their
 collaboration with a 2007 Encore Award from the Arts and Business Council
 of New York, a division of Americans for the Arts. The Encore Awards
 celebrate innovative partnerships between the arts and business that
 strengthen both sectors and the communities they serve.
     Through the alliance, Payless also supports ABT's Make a Ballet On Tour
 program, held in Chicago this past April, as its exclusive dance footwear
 sponsor. Aimed at educating underprivileged kids about careers in the arts,
 Make a Ballet on Tour is done in conjunction with ABT tours and teaches
 underserved students various elements of creating an original dance
 performance. Finally, to support the overall effort, Payless
 representatives conducted outreach programs at local dance studios to make
 them aware of the new ABT for Spotlights collection, so that they can share
 the good news with students and their families.
     ABT for Spotlights Details
     The ABT for Spotlights collection is priced from $15 to $25 and includes:
     -- Ballet shoes: available in pink, black and white, the ABT for
        Spotlights ballet shoes are designed to form to a dancer's foot and
        become a part of his/her body, allowing for greater movement and
        expression. They are made from quality leather and keep young dancers'
        feet aligned for proper muscle control.
     -- Tap shoes: ABT for Spotlights tap shoes are designed to be the
        instrument of creative dance. They are made with soft and durable
        materials, and provide a generous fit for a young dancer's growing
     -- Jazz shoes: ABT for Spotlights jazz shoes are designed with a soft,
        durable leather upper, breathable suede insole and a flexible split
        outsole to allow for superior expression.
     -- Accessories: designed with the dancer in mind, ABT for Spotlights black
        duffle and pink quilted satiny tote are perfect to carry dance gear.
     About Payless
     Payless ShoeSource, Inc., the largest specialty family footwear
 retailer in the Western Hemisphere, is dedicated to democratizing fashion
 and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion
 possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of the first
 quarter 2007, the company operated a total of 4,564 stores. In addition,
 customers can buy shoes over the Internet through at
     Payless is on a mission to democratize fashion, design and innovation
 in footwear and accessories, and this includes active lifestyle footwear
 like performance running shoes, basketball shoes, as well as authentic
 dance shoes. Having recently revamped its brand image, redesigned stores
 for an enhanced shopping experience, and launched Designer Collections
 (which hit the runway at New York Fashion Week) such as Abaete for Payless
 and Lela Rose for Payless, the company is also securing its position as a
 "House of Brands" retailer with an expanded portfolio of well-known brands
 now or soon-to-be offered at Payless stores including ABT for Spotlights,
 Airwalk(R), American Eagle(TM), Dexter(R), Tailwind(R), Champion(R),
 Spalding(R) and Dunkman(TM).
     About ABT
     American Ballet Theatre, America's National Ballet Company(R), is
 recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet
 companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Since
 its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the Unites States, performing for
 more than 600,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do
 so. It has made more than 30 international tours to 43 countries and has
 been sponsored by the State Department of the Unites States on many of
 these engagements.

SOURCE Payless ShoeSource, Inc.