LEXINGTON, MA (August 18, 2008) â€“ Continuing to strengthen its premium positioning in the cross country running market, Saucony, Inc., a leading global supplier of performance athletic footwear and apparel, has launched Saucony XC 2008, a nationwide grassroots program designed to educate and inspire young runners prior to the start of their high school cross country season. The Saucony XC 2008 initiative includes a nationwide Spike Night event series; an online partnership with Flotrack; a special training insert with Running Network LLC; and a print advertising campaign featuring a tribute to cross country runner and Saucony athlete Ryan Shay and the shoe he inspired -- the Shay XC.
â€œAs participation in track and cross country continues to grow, we intend to be there every step of the way, not only with innovative products that enhance this young runner's experience, but with programs that help educate and inspire as well,â€ said Mary O'Brien, vice president of marketing for Saucony. â€œThis program underlines our continued commitment to the specialty run channel, helping to drive new and young runners into their stores,â€ she added.
According to the latest Running Specialty Shop Retail Audit (Fall 2007) Saucony captured the number one market share position for third quarter in the track, field and cross country footwear segment. Since that time, Saucony's cross-country shoe sales have continued to grow at specialty run, led by the Kilkenny XC Spike and the Velocity Distance Spike. For Fall 2008, the addition of the Shay XC to the line as a premium price point model reinforces the brand's leadership and commitment to the specialty retailer as well as the serious young runner.
The Saucony XC 2008 program features the following components:
* Throughout the summer, Saucony is sponsoring Spike Nights at over 200 select specialty run retailers reaching an estimated 12,000 high school cross country runners nationwide. Events feature product information clinics, footwear testing, group runs and giveaway items including t-shirts, nylon spike bags, socks, stickers, temporary tattoos and a memorial poster to cross country runner and Saucony athlete Ryan Shay. When an attendee purchases a pair of any Saucony cross country spike at a Spike Night event, they are entered into a drawing to win customized Saucony spikes for their entire cross country team. With any additional Saucony purchase, participants receive an extra entry for the drawing.
* In partnership with www.Flotrack.org, one of the fastest growing track & field community websites, Saucony has launched a branded resource platform where the high school cross country community can gain inspiration from professional athletes and coaches, learn about new product launches, and enter contests, including the Olympic Pick, to win free cross country gear. In addition, runners can access a Spike Night locator to find a participating retailer in their area.
* In order to help young runners get a jump on the cross country season, Saucony has teamed up with Running Network LLC to offer a 12 week summer/fall cross country training program published in American Track & Field, Athletes Only, and California Track & Running News. The guide is also available at www.saucony.com, www.atf-athlete.com, www.caltrack.com, and www.american-trackandfield.com
* In order to support the launch of the Shay XC, Saucony has launched a print ad featuring a tribute to cross country runner Ryan Shay. The ad runs concurrently with the Saucony Summer Training Program. The Shay XC cross country flat and spike is a lightweight, breathable and flexible race day shoe thanks to an air mesh upper with minimal synthetic suede overlays, a bootie construction and premium sockliner. The Shay XC was inspired by Ryan Shay's will, grit and determination. (Sizes: men's 7-13,14, and women's 5-11, 12; MSRP: Spike: $65.00, Flat: $60.00)
To find a retailer near you, please call 1.800.365.4933 or visit www.saucony.com.
About Saucony, Inc.: Saucony, Inc., a subsidiary of Collective Brands, is a leading global supplier of performance athletic footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony, Saucony Originals and Spot-bilt. For more information, go to www.saucony.com.
About Collective Brands, Inc.: Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its more than 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands American Eagleâ„¢, AirwalkÂ®, DexterÂ®, ChampionÂ® and designer collections AbaetÃ© for Payless, Lela Rose for Payless and alice + olivia for Payless, among others; Stride Rite, focused on lifestyle and athletic branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride RiteÂ®, KedsÂ®, Sperry Top-SiderÂ®, RobeezÂ®, and SauconyÂ®, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as AirwalkÂ®, Vision Street WearÂ®, LamarÂ®, SimsÂ®, LTDÂ®, geneticÂ®, Dukesâ„¢, RageÂ®, Ultra-WheelsÂ®, and Skate AttackÂ®. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at http://www.collectivebrands.com.