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Payless to open in the Middle East


KUWAIT CITY, and TOPEKA, Kan. Collective Brands Inc. and its Payless ShoeSource unit announced its plans for international expansion into the Middle East and that it has signed an agreement with M.H. Alshaya as its franchisee for the new market expansion initiative.

The two companies said they expect to start opening new Payless stores in 2009 in the region including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. This is a multi-year transaction. Additional terms were not disclosed.


"The people of the Middle East are young, vibrant and love to shop -- frequenting malls and other shopping venues is a significant leisure activity, with customer visits as often as three times a week. Consumers in the Middle East want the latest fashions and women, in particular, enjoy expressing themselves through shoes and accessories," said Matthew Rubel, ceo and chairman of Collective Brands. "We see a strong fit with the shoppers of this region and the Payless brand promise. We are thrilled to have such a tremendous franchisee in Alshaya, with its significant retail expertise, infrastructure and deep knowledge of the region. We look forward to bringing shoppers great style, quality and brand names -- all at a great price."

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