Shop Talk: K-Swiss in L.A. … Payless Enters Philippines

Running On
K-Swiss has opened its first running store in the U.S.

The store, located in Santa Monica, Calif., will offer performance footwear, apparel and accessories, as well as lifestyle components for all levels of athletes. The company said it would use the shop to elevate the brand’s presence leading up to the March 2010 Los Angeles Marathon, for which K-Swiss is the official footwear and apparel sponsor.

“The Santa Monica store will play a key role in our partnership with the Los Angeles Marathon, especially [because] the finish line is less than a mile away from the store,” said David Nichols, EVP of the Westlake, Calif.-based company. “With product, experienced staff and coaching advice, we see the store as a go-to destination for runners as they train for this big event.”

Plans are also in the works to strengthen the brand’s relationship with the local running community by having a retail presence at local road races and offering the store as a gathering spot to running clubs and associations for group runs, meetings and clinics.

K-Swiss currently operates running stores in Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Heading East
Payless ShoeSource is making the move to the Philippines.

The company announced an agreement with franchise partner Stores Specialists Inc. to open five stores by mid-2010. Stores Specialists opened franchise locations for brands such as Zara and Debenhams, Gap, Marc Jacobs and Banana Republic in 2008.

“Payless brings the know-how in footwear specialty retailing, and our franchise partners, like SSI, bring their strong infrastructure and experience in the local region. Filipino people love to shop and have a strong appetite for American brands, fashion and footwear and accessories,” LuAnn Via, CEO and president of Payless ShoeSource, said in a statement. “Together with SSI, we are truly excited to bring the Payless brand to the Philippines and to affordably serve the footwear and accessory needs of families in the country.”

Earlier this year, Payless opened two stores in the Middle East. The retail chain said it also plans to bow two stores in Russia by the beginning of 2010 with M.H. Alshaya Company.

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