Despite the closure of its retail stores in the US and Canada, Payless Shoe Source country manager Jerus Mohammed said this will not affect TT operations as the footwear giant opened its second superstore at Gulf City Mall, La Romaine yesterday. According to US media reports in mid-March, the footwear chain, which has some 2,600 stores in North America, filed for bankruptcy protection on February 18, with all stores scheduled to close in May.
Speaking to reporters after the opening of TT’s second superstore, Mohammed, asked whether the US closings would have an impact on its TT operations said, “No, actually it’s the opposite.“So while we have started to shut our business in the US and Canada, we continue to grow within the region, so our Central American, South American and Caribbean businesses continue to grow.
This year we are on track to open about ten stores over the next 12 months in various countries, with this expansion to a superstore being the latest. We will continue to look for options to continue to grow our business in Trinidad and elsewhere in the region.”Asked how the company is able to expand despite the economic downturn, Mohammed said shoes remain a necessity for everyone despite the downturn.“You still find yourself having to purchase shoes for back to school, for going out, for casual and for work events. It is something that we realise and we continue to invest in the country in terms of opening stores, doing expansions where we can, and it’s been working out really well for us.“We continue to be one of the most profitable markets for Payless in the Latin American and Caribbean region.”
He said the Gulf City superstore, which boasts 4,200 square feet of shopping space employs 12 people and has a wide variety of styles and sizes which are not available at its regular outlets. “The Superstore is a different concept in terms of the product assortment: there are styles that are available only at superstore locations. "We have more availability of sizes and styles," he said, adding they stock sizes up to size 15 for men and 13 for women.
San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello confessed that both he and his son shop at Payless, as his son wears a size 15 and he wears size 13 shoes. In his remarks, Regrello said the shoe giant had chosen a right time to expand its operations in San Fernando as the southern city was on the cusp of developmental expansion.