Industry News 3/6/2007

Collective International Acquired By Payless

Collective International, LP, Owner of Iconic Youth Lifestyle Portfolio, Announces Strategic Acquisition by Payless ShoeSource
Acquisition Will Provide Foundation to Perpetuate Company’s Successful Youth Lifestyle and Fashion Athletic Brand Model

(ENGLEWOOD, CO) March 6, 2007 – Collective International, LP (Collective), a Denver, Colorado-based leading youth lifestyle licensing company, announced today that the company has entered into an agreement for acquisition by longtime licensee Payless ShoeSource (Payless), the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere.  Founded as a design, marketing and global licensing firm by CEO and President Bruce Pettet, Collective has built a powerful portfolio of some of the world’s most recognized and authentic youth lifestyle and board-sports inspired brands including Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®,  Sims®, Lamar®, LTD®, genetic™, Dukes®, Rage®, Ultra-Wheels®, and Skate Attack®.  Under the agreement, Collective will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Payless under the leadership of Pettet.

Since Collective’s inception, the company has built a proven brand model to design, market and license its portfolio of youth lifestyle brands in order to build and maintain an authentic and internationally cohesive presence for each brand.  In its short history, the company has formed licensing partnerships for its portfolio of brands with over 30 licensees in over 100 countries around the world. Collective’s world-class team of design, marketing and branding experts deliver working toolkits to its license partners across the globe, providing strategic architecture, communication tools, design direction and consumer insights using the most state-of-the-art technology available.  The team serves as a filter for all brand interests worldwide and invests 100% of its energy to each licensee’s development and long term sustainability. 

“With the resources that Payless will add to our foundation, Collective will be able to perpetuate our proven youth lifestyle and fashion athletic licensing model, and continue building our iconic portfolio with strategic brand acquisitions,” said Pettet. 
Payless has been a licensee of the Airwalk brand since 2003 and features the brand on a wide range of footwear and accessories.  Leveraging Airwalk’s 21-year global reputation as one of the most iconic youth lifestyle brands, the two companies have worked together to grow the Airwalk brand to its highest sales and distribution level in history.

Collective will provide immediate brand development and management capabilities for Payless with the youth lifestyle, athletics, and outdoor categories for the Payless core product line of footwear and accessories.  Collective will also bring a broad corporate intellectual property management and brand development capability that services various distribution channels, categories, and markets, both domestically and internationally. 

“This acquisition is another significant step in our strategy to position Payless as a vertically integrated, House of Brands retailer offering well-recognized brands with on-trend, high-quality footwear and accessories at a great price,” said Matthew E. Rubel, President and CEO of Payless.  “Collective owns some of the most popular youth lifestyle brands.  Through this acquisition, we have an opportunity to expand Airwalk, an important brand for Payless, secure access to great brand management talent and expertise, and establish a platform to enter the brand development, management, and licensing business beyond Payless.” 


About Collective Licensing:
Collective was formed in January 2004 and is the owner and/or license operator of the Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Sims®, Lamar®, LTD®, genetic™, Dukes®, Rage®, Ultra-Wheels®, and Skate Attack® brands.  Collective is based in Englewood, Colorado.

About Payless
Payless ShoeSource, Inc., the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere, is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value.  As of the end of the fourth quarter 2006, the company operated a total of 4,572 stores. In addition to its stores, customers can buy shoes over the Internet at