LEXINGTON: Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group (PLG), a division of Collective Brands, Inc., announced today that it has opened a new combined European Headquarters and Distribution Center facility in Heerhugowaard, The Netherlands (near Amsterdam), as well as a new London-based product showroom -- enhanced facilities and infrastructure designed to help the company better meet the strong and growing European appetite for its portfolio of iconic American brands: Saucony, Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite and Robeez.
"We've seen growing international demand for our Performance + Lifestyle Group brands over the past several quarters, especially from the European market, and our investment here in Europe in these new facilities, as well as expanding our European associate base, will help us meet this increasing demand head on," said Matt Rubel, CEO of Collective Brands, Inc.
"We have a solid presence here, but see more demand across the continent. Through premium retail partners, we are thrilled to bring more consumers across Europe our American original brands including Sperry Top-Sider, which invented the boat shoe 75 years ago and today represents a Passion for the Sea nautical lifestyle, to Saucony with its intense focus on technical innovation and performance products for runners and athletes, Keds iconic sneakers representing a blank canvas and creative possibilities, and Robeez and Stride Rite, high-quality children's shoes that mom's trust and kids love."
PLG brands have a broad presence across Europe including in such key countries as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France with plans to continue its expansion across Europe by working closely with distributor partners in certain countries, as well as working directly with retailers.
"We are excited by the growth we are experiencing and our retail and distributors partners are equally excited about our current product collections and our strong prospects across the European market place," said Gregg Ribatt, CEO of Collective Brands PLG.
The European headquarters in Heerhugowaard has been expanded to consolidate several warehouses and a main Distribution Center into a single, larger facility – more than triple the capacity of the former facilities. It includes 80,000 square feet of warehouse space and 13,600 square feet of office and showroom space. This move will improve the operational efficiency -- enhance the volume and speed of product distribution -- to an expanding group of retail partners and distributors for the company's branded products, which include primarily footwear, as well as accessories and apparel items. The Heerhugowaard facility will also house headquarters office space, creating a single focal point for the Collective Brands PLG operations in Europe.
Over the past two years, PLG has more than doubled its European operations employee base. The company said it expects to hire approximately 20 additional employees by the end of 2010 and will focus those roles primarily on merchandising, marketing and distribution center positions across Europe.
The company also announced the opening of a product and marketing showroom in central London, located at the corner of Maddox and Regent Streets, which is designed specifically to showcase its branded products for retail partners, the press and other European fashion and lifestyle influencers.
About Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group
Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group is a leading provider of iconic performance and lifestyle brands, each with unique personalities and strong marketplace positions focused on distinct and targeted consumer segments. The company's brand portfolio includes Saucony, a top global running specialty brand; Sperry Top-Sider, a global nautical lifestyle brand reaching consumers who share a passion for life in, on and around the sea; Keds, an iconic American lifestyle fashion brand that launched the first sneaker brand in 1916; and Stride Rite, the leading provider of premium children's footwear in the United States.
With an expanding global presence in more than 80 countries, Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group sells its products predominantly through wholesalers in a wide variety of retail formats, including premier department stores, independent shoe stores and specialty and boutique retailers. The Stride Rite unit also sells its children's products through more than 350 wholly-owned Stride Rite stores that are located in malls and select factory outlet centers.
About Collective Brands, Inc.
Collective Brands, Inc. 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, the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, Christian Siriano for Payless, Isabel Toledo for Payless, and STLPxAirwalk, 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, Robeez, 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.