Payless ShoeSource helps footwear enthusiasts worldwide shop like Imelda Marcos. One of the top shoe retailers in the world, Payless ShoeSource operates about 4,100 stores throughout the Americas and an online store. It also has about 175 franchised stores located primarily in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Payless shops offer dress, athletic, and casual shoes; slippers; boots; and sandals for men, women, and kids. The discount shoe chain targets women age 18 to 49. Its North American stores stock about 6,600 pairs of shoes in 500 styles. Payless ShoeSource is owned by Payless Holdings, formed following the sale and breakup of its former parent company Collective Brands.
Collective Brands (formed in 2007 when Payless acquired Stride Rite) was taken private in October 2012 by rival Wolverine World Wide and a pair of private equity firms, Golden Gate Capital (GGC) and Blum Capital, in a deal valued at $2 billion. Following the sale and division of the company, GGC and Blum Capital jointly own Payless and Collective Licensing International (CLI) through newly-formed Payless Holdings. Payless ShoeSource's new owners have recruited retail executive W. Paul Jones (formerly CEO of ShopKo Stores) to run the company. (Payless and CLI operate as a standalone entity, with Payless remaining at its headquarters in Topeka, Kansas.)
As in recent years, Payless International outperformed the domestic business in fiscal 2012 (ends January). Indeed, international sales increased 2%, while domestic sales fell by 4%. Also, the domestic business lost money, while international posted a modest profit. The cornerstone of Payless's strategy to improve sales is to reconnect with budget-conscious customers who historically have made up the largest segment of its customer base. – less