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Keds Introduces Breakthrough Sneaker Concept

Revolutionary Product Addresses Girls Trend

LEXINGTON, MA February 14, 2000 --- Keds Growing Girl’s design team has taken heart-shaped buckles and beaded laces to the next level. An industry first, Keds has developed Express Yourself, a sneaker collection that lets girls customize their footwear with colorful decals that are erasable. Contained in a clever mini-purse key chain, the Keds decals represent all that is fun when you’re young: bright colored butterflies, pretty flowers and moon slivers with stars.

“The special bead adornments on last season’s Ready To Wear collection not only provided a strong sell-in to the retailer, but an incredible sell-through to the consumer, “ says Robert Obershelp, Keds Children’s Product Manager. “Extensive market research concluded that young girls are constantly looking for fun shoe concepts, and our new Express Yourself is perfect for the market.”

Over one million pair of Keds Ready to Wear shoes have been sold since its launch in 1998. Keds is projecting to exceed that number with the launch of Express Yourself in 2000.

Besides the element of fun, the Express Yourself sneakers also offer comfort, including a soft leather upper and a padded collar for better fit. The sneakers are available in three popular styles, including a circular vamp oxford (CVO), a lace-to-toe (LTT) and a high-top LTT bootie.

The Stride Rite Corporation markets the leading brand of high quality children’s shoes in the United States. Footwear products for children and adults are marketed by the Company under well-known brand names, including, Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Tommy Hilfiger, Nine West Kids, Grasshoppers and Street Hot.