Collective Brands buys Payless brand in SA
Dened buys fellow mini-chain Shoeperama
Durban (SA) – Mini-chain Dened cc has bought fellow mini-chain Shoeperama, and will now trade mostly under the Shoeperama brand following the sale of its own principal trading name, Payless, to US group Collective Brands Inc.
Collective Brands owns Payless ShoeSource, which it describes on its website as “the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the US, as well as the entire Western Hemisphere”.
Dened acquired 8 Shoeperama stores – 7 in Pretoria, 1 in Rustenburg – to add to its own 10 Payless stores – 9 in KZN, 1 in East London – and its 2 Vogue stores, also in Pretoria.
In terms of his agreement with Collective Brands, Dened member Ed Lahee will have to hand over everything to do with the name Payless in the next few months.
He said negotiations with Shoeperama owner Bill Zurich began in 2007. “They haven’t been easy but Bill and I have finally reached an agreement and he is currently relaxing in the Wilderness. I call him on a regular basis as he loves to know what’s going on – understandable after 35 years in the hot seat.”
Negotiations with Collective Brands started last year to discuss ownership of the Payless name in SA. Dened registered the name in SA in 1992. After some months of negotiations he accepted an undisclosed offer in January this year. “That left me in need of a new trading name,” he said. “Bill and I signed an agreement in February, effective from March 1.” He did not disclose the price.
With Dened’s retail operation almost doubling, he said “the entire business will be evolving over the next 18 months”.
The company has bought a 700 m² warehouse and head office premises in Briardene, which will also house his other company importing footwear to supply to other footwear retailers.
To manage the growing businesses, he and his wife Cheryl have also involved 2 of their 3 sons. Brett, who returned from the US 18 months ago, and is in charge of operations and admin, while Ryan, who has recently joined them, “will be hands on in the field”. His other son, Craig, is MD of Ritewear Footwear in Cape Town, “and contributes as a family member”.
“Shoeperama and Payless were similar in merchandise and feel,” he said. “We’re not going more upmarket in terms of product or prices, but we want to make the shopper more comfortable in value surrounds. Pretoria customers are slightly different to KZN customers, as we know from our Vogue stores, so there will be regional variation.
“Change is a constant in retailing – you can’t stay in a comfort zone.”
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