Robeez Announces Plans to Strengthen Its Operation for Future Brand Growth, Including Maintaining Leadership in Core Infant Shoe Market, Global Expansion and Product Innovation



    
    Plans Include Moving Burnaby Headquarters Operation to Lexington, Mass.,
to
    Leverage Stride Rite Children's Group Competencies and Support
    Infrastructure; Closing Manufacturing Operation and Shifting Product
    Sourcing to Collective Brands Inc.'s Global Sourcing Team and Third-Party
    Manufacturers

    
    BURNABY, British Columbia, July 31 /CNW/ -- Robeez, a unit of the Stride
Rite Corporation of Collective Brands Inc. (NYSE:   PSS), announced today its
strategic plans aimed at building upon its leadership position in soft-sole
footwear for infants and toddlers up to two years old and seizing growth
opportunities through global expansion, innovative product line extensions
targeting older age groups and new product categories.
    To support the plan, Robeez will shift operations responsibilities from
Burnaby to the Stride Rite Children's Group (SRCG) corporate offices in
Lexington, Mass.  These changes will enable the brand to better integrate with
SRCG to leverage the group's core competencies in children's footwear
including in brand management, product development and marketing, as well as
its support infrastructure in areas such as finance, information technology
and human resources.   The transition will include moving the Robeez customer
service operation to an existing Stride Rite call center located in Richmond,
Ind.  This will result in the closing of the Robeez headquarters in Burnaby.
The plan also includes closing down the Burnaby manufacturing facility and
shifting all Robeez(R) product manufacturing to third-party manufacturers
through the Collective Brands, Inc. Global Sourcing and Supply Chain
organization, a shared resource that serves all of Collective Brands'
businesses.
    More than 300 Canadian Robeez associates -- approximately 250 in
manufacturing and 60 at the headquarters operation -- are affected by the
plan.  Robeez will support affected employees with separation packages and
incentives, as well as outplacement services and job placement support.
    The headquarters' functions will move in phases beginning in September
with the customer service operation, followed by the remaining roles
transitioned to Lexington by the end of February.  A small transition team
will remain in Burnaby through June 2009 to ensure a smooth transition of all
critical functions.  Robeez said it expects to add new positions based in
Lexington as needed to support this plan.
    The manufacturing shut down will take place in early December affecting
all manufacturing associates. Also as part of the strategic plan, by the end
of 2008, Robeez will redirect sourcing of all Robeez(R) branded products to
third-party manufacturers through Collective Brands' Global Sourcing team.
This decision will create a more flexible manufacturing resource with the
diverse capabilities to support the long-term growth of the Robeez brand and
its strong focus on quality and product innovation, as well as enable the
company to significantly reduce manufacturing costs to ensure competitive
pricing.
    "This strategic plan is the result of a thorough eight-month study to
review the Robeez infrastructure to best support our customers, maintain
competitiveness and profitably grow the business over the long term," said
Susan Vann, general manager of Robeez North America. "We have reported to the
Stride Rite Children's Group for the past year and these moves make sound
business sense and will better position Robeez for a strong future."
    Pam Salkovitz, president of the SRCG said, "We truly appreciate all the
hard work and efforts of the local team that helped bring Robeez to where it
is today. These decisions are an important strategic step to leverage the
common infrastructure and expertise of the Stride Rite Children's Group and to
enhance the Robeez manufacturing capabilities to seize the opportunities
before us -- especially as we expand Robeez into new global markets and drive
product innovation for future growth."
    The expense impact of these changes is not expected to be material to
Collective Brands, Inc.
    
    About the Companies and Forward Looking Statements
    
    Robeez is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Stride Rite Corporation, a
unit of Collective Brands Inc. The Stride Rite Corporation, headquartered in
Lexington, Mass., operates several businesses including the Stride Rite
Children's Group, Sperry Top-Sider(R), Saucony(R), and Keds(R). Robeez, which
reports to the Stride Rite Children's Group, provides premium baby shoe
products focusing on soft- and flex-soled footwear that supports the healthy
development of little feet. Always functional and fashionable, Robeez shoes
are a favorite with parents and medical experts. More information about Robeez
and its products can be found at http://www.robeez.com.
    Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE:   PSS), headquartered in Topeka, Kan., 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, also
headquartered in Topeka, focused on democratizing fashion and design in
footwear and accessories through its more than 4,500-store retail chain, with
its brands American Eagle(TM), Airwalk(R), Dexter(R), Champion(R) and designer
collections Abaete for Payless(TM), Lela Rose for Payless(TM) and alice +
olivia for Payless(TM), Patricia Field for Payless(TM), among others; Stride
Rite, based in Lexington, Mass., focused on lifestyle and athletic branded
footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through
wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite(R), Keds(R), Sperry
Top-Sider(R), Robeez(R), and Saucony(R), among others; and Collective
Licensing International, Denver, Colo., the brand development, management and
global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk(R), Vision
Street Wear(R), Lamar(R), Sims(R), LTD(R), genetic(R), Dukes(TM), Rage(R),
Ultra-Wheels(R), and Skate Attack(R). Information about, and links for
shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at
http://www.collectivebrands.com.
    This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding
anticipated financial performance, business prospects, and similar matters,
which are not historical facts and are subject to a number of risks and
uncertainties.  Statements including the words "expected," "should," "plans"
and "will" or variations of such words and similar expressions are
forward-looking statements.  Actual results may differ materially.  Please
also refer to "Risk Factors" in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended
February 2, 2008 and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended July 2, 2008 for more
information on risk factors and other factors that could impact
forward-looking statements. We do not undertake any obligation to release any
revisions to such forward-looking statements to reflect events or
circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of
unanticipated events.
    
    Media: Mardi Larson, 612.928.0202
    Financial: James Grant, 785.559.5321

    




For further information:

For further information: media, Mardi Larson, +1-612-928-0202, for
Collective Brands, Inc.; or financial, James Grant of Collective Brands, Inc.,
+1-785-559-5321 Web Site: http://www.robeez.com                
http://www.collectivebrands.com

Organization Profile

ROBEEZ

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890