Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group (PLG), a division of Collective Brands, Inc., announced that it has opened a new combined European Headquarters and Distribution Center facility in Heerhugowaard, The Netherlands (near Amsterdam), as well as a new London-based product showroom -- enhanced facilities and infrastructure designed to help the company better meet the strong and growing European appetite for its portfolio of iconic American brands: Saucony, Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite and Robeez.
"We've seen growing international demand for our Performance + Lifestyle Group brands over the past several quarters, especially from the European market, and our investment here in Europe in these new facilities, as well as expanding our European associate base, will help us meet this increasing demand head on," said Matt Rubel, CEO of Collective Brands, Inc.
"We have a solid presence here, but see more demand across the continent. Through premium retail partners, we are thrilled to bring more consumers across Europe our American original brands including Sperry Top-Sider, which invented the boat shoe 75 years ago and today represents a Passion for the Sea nautical lifestyle, to Saucony with its intense focus on technical innovation and performance products for runners and athletes, Keds iconic sneakers representing a blank canvas and creative possibilities, and Robeez and Stride Rite, high-quality children's shoes that mom's trust and kids love."
PLG brands have a broad presence across Europe including in such key countries as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France with plans to continue its expansion across Europe by working closely with distributor partners in certain countries, as well as working directly with retailers.
"We are excited by the growth we are experiencing and our retail and distributors partners are equally excited about our current product collections and our strong prospects across the European market place," said Gregg Ribatt, CEO of Collective Brands PLG.
The European headquarters in Heerhugowaard has been expanded to consolidate several warehouses and a main Distribution Center into a single, larger facility вЂ“ more than triple the capacity of the former facilities. It includes 80,000 square feet of warehouse space and 13,600 square feet of office and showroom space. This move will improve the operational efficiency -- enhance the volume and speed of product distribution -- to an expanding group of retail partners and distributors for the company's branded products, which include primarily footwear, as well as accessories and apparel items. The Heerhugowaard facility will also house headquarters office space, creating a single focal point for the Collective Brands PLG operations in Europe.
Over the past two years, PLG has more than doubled its European operations employee base. The company said it expects to hire approximately 20 additional employees by the end of 2010 and will focus those roles primarily on merchandising, marketing and distribution center positions across Europe.
The company also announced the opening of a product and marketing showroom in central London, located at the corner of Maddox and Regent Streets, which is designed specifically to showcase its branded products for retail partners, the press and other European fashion and lifestyle influencers.