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Payless ShoeSource Announces the Philippines as Newest International Market for Retail Chain

Payless and Stores Specialists, Inc. to Bring Payless Brand Promise of Affordable Fashion, Brands and Quality to Millions of New Customers in the Philippines

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MANILA, Philippines and TOPEKA, Kan., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Payless ShoeSource announced plans today for the continued international expansion of the Payless retail chain. Through an agreement with franchise partner Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI), the Philippines will be the next country in Payless' strategic global expansion initiative, with the first stores planned to open by mid-2010.

SSI has a strong background in developing well-known international brands in the Philippines, and is the leading fashion specialty retailer in the country, managing 72 well-known brands and 340 retail stores.

The two companies said they expect to start opening new Payless stores in 2010 and that the Philippines -- the 12th largest country by population with more than 97 million people, and a family-oriented culture that is attracted to affordable fashion -- appears to be a strong fit for the Payless offering and brand promise. Approximately five stores will open in the Philippines beginning mid next year, and more stores are scheduled to open in the coming years to ensure that the market is fully served. This is a multi-year transaction; additional terms were not disclosed.

In the past year, Payless has announced franchise arrangements for the company's global expansion initiative, with six new stores now in the Middle East and stores planned for Russia next year with M.H. Alshaya Company.

"The franchise model is proving to be the most efficient way to reach more international markets with the Payless brand and all it has to offer -- great fashion, well-recognized brands and quality all at a great price," said LuAnn Via, chief executive officer and president of Payless ShoeSource. "Payless brings the know how in footwear specialty retailing, and our franchise partners like SSI bring its strong infrastructure and experience in the local region. Filipino people love to shop and have a strong appetite for American brands, fashion and footwear and accessories. Together with SSI we are truly excited to bring the Payless brand to the Philippines and to affordably serve the footwear and accessory needs of families in the country."

Through the franchise arrangement, Payless provides SSI with seasonal product assortments, as well as expertise in retail operations, merchandising, marketing and brand strategy. SSI provides retail location strategy, construction, logistics, and store training and staffing. SSI will utilize Payless' newest store format, the "Hot Zone" layout, and will purchase Payless product directly from Payless' seasonal assortment.

Like the Payless stores in the U.S., the stores in the Philippines will 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.

"We are thrilled to bring Payless and all it represents to the Philippine market," said Anthony Huang, executive vice president of SSI. "As a retailer and fashion brand, Payless is doing tremendous things for people across the globe with its mission to democratize fashion and design in footwear and accessories for all to enjoy. We believe this brand promise will do well here, as it has in the U.S. and other areas of the world."

Payless and its more than 4,500-store chain has an expanding global presence today in countries and territories including the United States, Canada and in Central America, the Caribbean, South America and the Middle East.

The international franchise strategy is 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.

About Payless & Collective Brands, Inc.

Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and 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 second quarter 2009, the company operated more than 4,500 stores. In addition, customers can buy shoes over the Internet through Payless.com® at www.payless.com.

Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its more than 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk®, Dexter®, Champion®, Zoe & Zac(TM), the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, alice + olivia for Payless, Christian Siriano for Payless and STLP x Airwalk, among others; Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite®, Keds®, Sperry Top-Sider®, and Saucony®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.

About Stores Specialists, Inc.

Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI) is a wholly Filipino-owned corporation belonging to the Rustan Group, a leading retailing and wholesaling conglomerate in the Philippines. SSI was established in 1985 with the mission of pioneering into freestanding specialty store concepts. It broke ground in specialty retailing by expanding its distribution through freestanding stores in prime shopping malls in Metro Manila. Through the last two decades, SSI grew its retailing operation by acquiring the exclusive marketing rights and franchise of some of the finest and most prestigious international brands in the world. Year 2003 in particular marked the beginnings of a new wave of growth for the company with the acquisition of the local franchise for the brands under the Gucci Group. This was followed by the much awaited store openings of other well known brands: Zara and Debenhams in 2005, Gap in 2007, and Marc Jacobs and Banana Republic in 2008, to name a few.

SSI is now the leading high-end fashion specialty retailer in the Philippines, with the biggest lifestyle brand portfolio and the largest network of retail outlets all over the country. The numbers tell the story: Over 70 brands, close to 350 free-standing and shop-in-shop locations, totaling over 250,000 square feet of prime retail space in the major shopping centers of Manila, Cebu, Davao and Baguio. More information can be found at www.ssigroup.com.ph.

SOURCE Payless ShoeSource



RELATED LINKS
http://www.payless.com
http://www.collectivebrands.com
http://www.ssigroup.com.ph

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