Payless puts best comps foot forward in Q1

TOPEKA, Kan. — Net sales at Collective Brands during the first quarter increased 5% to $912.1 million over the same period last year, driven in part by an 8.1% increase in comparable-store sales. The company reported net income of $33.2 million, or 54 cents per share, compared with $26.4 million, or 42 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2011.

"Our first quarter results show that the new Payless strategy is working domestically and the turnaround in that business has begun," said Michael Massey, CEO of Collective Brands. "At Payless we are employing a strategy that emphasizes re-connecting with our core budget-conscious consumer with more relevant price points and styles.  We are now implementing these strategic changes across Payless internationally and seeing some positive results there as well.  Similarly, the double-digit same store sales growth at Stride Rite retail stores demonstrates the progress we are making at the Stride Rite Children's Group, which helped offset a slightly more challenging wholesale environment at the Performance + Lifestyle Group."

During the first quarter, the company added 7 new stores (5 Payless and 2 PLG), closed 27 stores (25 Payless and 2 PLG), and relocated 12 stores (11 Payless and 1 PLG).

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