Leading California-based footwear designer and manufacturer Skechers USA Inc announced on Monday it had decided to relaunch its e-commerce store on its three-year-old website - www.skechers.com.

The company, which closed its mail order division last month and was considering outsourcing the e-commerce portion of the site, said it was in the best interest of the company and its consumers to maintain control of the image, offering and logistics of the online store.

Skechers say the result is site which now offers consumers a more focused and updated selection of its most popular styles for men, women and children in addition to a list of retail partners, a store finder and customer service assistance and corporate information.

President Michael Greenberg said: "In the face of slower sales growth after the events of September 11, the company took pro-active measures to improve profitability, which included evaluating all areas of the business.

"In so doing, we elected to stop our online sales efforts while we examined other e-commerce alternatives. "With an infrastructure already in place, Skechers' brand and marketing strength, and our first-hand knowledge of our customers' wants and needs, we believe continuing skechers.com's in-house operations is the most cost-efficient and effective strategy."

He continued: "In the three years since skechers.com's initial launch, we have seen sales steadily increase with the highest reported months in second quarter 2001, and we feel that we can build on that momentum and further grow our Internet sales in future years.''

Mr Greenberg added that the firm will utilise existing staff to maintain the site and operate customer service facilities, with the exception of order processing, which will be handled both in-house and through an outside agency as it had been initially.