LAREDO, Texas -- H.E. Butt Grocery, San Antonio, recently opened a store here with a Payless ShoeSource Express, the footwear retailer's first permanent store-within-a-store department and the company's first test of its Payless Express format.
"We are pleased to offer our shoppers new products and services that will enhance their overall shopping experience and be a good match for their busy lifestyles," said Jeff Thomas, senior vice president and general manager for H-E-B's south Texas region, in a written statement. The retailer declined further comment.
"What we saw was an opportunity to help the grocery industry in their challenge to continue to increase the market basket of the customers coming into their stores," John Haugh, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of business development, Payless ShoeSource, Topeka, Kan., told SN.
The 700-square-foot section is located in the front of the H-E-B store, and it offers an "abbreviated" collection found in full-scale Payless stores, Haugh said. The Payless Express concept features women's and children's shoe products and accessories to match the main demographic of the grocery retailer, Haugh said.
Men's shoe products are not included in the format because of space limitations, he said.
"H-E-B is the market leader in markets it competes in, [it has] larger footprints, high dollars per square foot, a mid-to-upscale customer base, and it is an innovative and progressive grocer," Haugh said. "We thought it all made sense for us to launch this [format]."
Additionally, he said, the concept enhances H-E-B's one-stop-shopping image, creates incremental sales, and it gives Payless an opportunity to bring the footwear to consumers in an even more convenient way.
Plans are under way to open more Payless Express sections inside other H-E-B stores, Haugh said.
Payless is eager to work with other grocery partners, Haugh noted, since H-E-B has geographical limitations. "We are exploring other options. It would only make sense for us to look for other partners that can cover other geographical areas."