Payless opens stores in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

Topeka, Kan. Payless ShoeSource said Tuesday it has opened its first stores in the Eastern Hemisphere. In partnership with its franchisee M.H. Alshaya Co., the leading retailer in the region, Payless celebrated the grand opening of its first Payless ShoeSource stores in the Middle East, with a 220-sq.-meter store located in The Avenues mall in Kuwait, and a 240-sq.-meter-store in the Sahara Mall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

"These grand openings represent a significant milestone in the international expansion of our Payless stores, as well as many firsts for Payless - our entrance into the Middle East, the Eastern Hemisphere, and to franchise our stores,” said Matthew Rubel, chairman, CEO and president of Collective Brands, which owns Payless ShoeSource.

Rubel said Alshaya will utilize Payless' newest store format, referred to as the "Hot Zone," and purchase Payless product directly from Payless' seasonal assortment.

Like the Payless stores in the United States, 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.

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 the United Arab Emirates, 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 more than 200 stores.