Stride Rite Expands to Asia

Stride Rite is heading east.

Parent firm Collective Brands Inc. announced a licensing and development deal with Li & Fung Retailing to launch the children’s footwear brand in Greater China and Southeast Asia.

Under the deal, a newly formed subsidiary, LiFung Children Holdings Ltd., will market the brand through standalone retail stores, shop-in-shops and e-commerce in Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia and Brunei. The move marks the first time Topeka, Kan.-based Collective has brought any of its retail concepts or brands to mainland China.

Initial plans call for the opening of retail outlets in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia next month, followed by stores in China in 2011.

“We are excited to partner with LiFung Children Holdings to bring Stride Rite to Asia,” Sharon John, president of Stride Rite Children’s Group, said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing shoppers across the region our range of products for children, as well as a store format dedicated to properly fitting the child and servicing parents and grandparents.”

Citing Stride Rite’s 90-year heritage, Pieter Schats, a senior executive of Li & Fung Retailing, said the brand “is a natural addition to our portfolio of retail offerings in the region.”

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