By  on September 3, 2008

Payless ShoeSource is moving its message of affordable, fashionable footwear into the Middle East.

The retailer, a unit of the Topeka, Kan.-based Collective Brands Inc., signed an agreement with franchise firm M.H. Alshaya Co. to open stores in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan by 2009.

“Consumers in the Middle East want the latest fashions and women, in particular, enjoy expressing themselves through shoes and accessories,” said Matthew Rubel, chief executive officer and chairman of Collective Brands. “We see a strong fit with the shoppers of this region and the Payless brand promise.”

Payless and Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya, said the Middle East in the long term could support more than 200 Payless stores.

“We believe the Payless name and all it represents, including great brands, a fun, inspiring shopping experience, the latest affordable fashions and high quality will do well here,” said Alshaya.

Payless operates more than 4,500 stores and has an expanded international presence in 13 countries and territories, including Canada, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

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