TOPEKA, Kan., July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Payless ShoeSource, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) and ShopKo Stores, Inc. (NYSE: SKO) today announced a strategic alliance and have signed a definitive agreement for Payless to operate the shoe departments in ShopKo's stores under the "Payless ShoeSource" name. Payless will begin operating the shoe departments in 13 ShopKo stores in late 1999, and expects to begin operating the shoe departments in all ShopKo stores by the fall of 2000. The shoe departments will offer the same footwear and accessories available in Payless ShoeSource stores. "The combination of ShopKo stores with Payless ShoeSource branded shoe departments presents an exciting opportunity for both companies. The substantial overlap between the customers we serve and our complementary product offerings provides another great avenue to serve our customers," remarked Steven J. Douglass, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Payless. "This collaborative agreement represents our commitment to meeting ShopKo's customer lifestyle needs, and is yet another example of a strategic business alliance providing growth for ShopKo," said ShopKo President and Chief Executive Officer William Podany. "Payless' sourcing and merchandising expertise will result in a much enhanced footwear offering at ShopKo, and the well known Payless brand will have instant credibility with our customers." Payless ShoeSource, Inc. is North America's largest family footwear retailer. The company operates 4,414 Payless ShoeSource stores offering quality family footwear at affordable prices. Payless also operates 215 Parade of Shoes stores featuring fashionable mid-priced women's footwear. In addition, customers can buy shoes online anytime from the company's E-Commerce site at www.payless.com. ShopKo Stores, Inc., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, operates 314 retail stores in 22 states, primarily in the Midwest, Western Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions. Retail operations include 158 specialty discount stores operating under the ShopKo name in mid-sized and larger cities, 152 Pamida discount stores in smaller, rural communities, and four Heartland Furniture stores. The company also serves the rapidly growing managed health care industry through its subsidiary, ProVantage Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: PHS). ProVantage is a leading health benefit management company providing health benefit management services, pharmacy mail services, vision benefit management services, and health information and clinical support services. For more information about ShopKo, Pamida or ProVantage, visit their web site at www.shopko.com. This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include the timing of store openings and the expected advantages of operating shoe departments in specialty discount stores. A variety of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results and expectations to differ materially from the anticipated results or expectations. Additional information concerning a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the information contained in this release can be found in Payless ShoeSource, Inc.'s 1998 Annual Report to Shareowners and its Form 10-K for fiscal 1998, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in ShopKo Stores, Inc.'s current Annual Report on Form 10-K and as may be described from time to time in ShopKo's subsequent SEC filings.
SOURCE Payless ShoeSource