Skechers USA Inc, the lifestyle footwear company, today reported that the first week of business at the company's first international flagship store on Oxford Street in London, England, has exceeded expectations.

"It was unbelievable. We opened the doors and it was like a vacuum with the number of people waiting to come in," began Gary Siegel, Skechers vice president director of retail, who was on hand for the opening on March 1, 2001. "On Saturday there seemed to be wall-to-wall people. At times there was a bottleneck just to enter the store."

"Being that the new Skechers store is in the prime tourist and shopping destination of Oxford Street, we expected to have a successful first day and weekend, but the amount of traffic in the store far exceeded our expectations," stated Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers.

The Skechers Oxford Street store has the largest representation of its product in Europe, showcasing a diverse assortment of sport, casual and dress casual for men, women and kids of all ages.

"We've developed an extensive and aggressive advertising campaign to support the brand internationally," explained Greenberg.

Building its Sport line for women, the company has launched an extensive print campaign in international teen publications that features singer Britney Spears. Similarly, the company is building its Collection line with a male-targeted ad campaign in international men's and pop culture magazines that features actor Matt Dillon.

The flagship store is located in one of London's busiest retail areas, frequented by both tourists and locals alike. Oxford Street's high-traffic, high-visibility shopping areas also include other prominent and global retailers such as The Gap, Foot Locker, H&M, Zara and Mango. An industry grand opening is scheduled for March 22, 2001 as both a launch of the new flagship store and a celebration of Skechers' wholesale presence in Europe.

The company announced in February that plans to establish direct control over its wholesale distribution, merchandising and marketing in the UK and Ireland.

A part of this initiative, the company has created Skechers USA Ltd, a subsidiary with headquarters in London. Effective immediately, Skechers will assume responsibility for sales and logistics from Sportsflair Inc, a subsidiary of The Pentland Group, which has handled distribution for the past five years.

Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers USA, said, "While the brand has experienced great success in the UK through our partnership with Sportsflair/Pentland, we feel there is a great deal of untapped potential for us in the UK - and other regions of Europe. As we've said in the past, we believe our international business will grow from approximately 10 per cent of sales today to 25 to 30 per cent over the next few years."