GEOX

GEOX

May 03, 2005 09:00 ET

GEOX TAKES OFF IN CANADA BY OPENING ITS FIRST TWO CANADIAN STORES

No. 1 Italian Footwear Brand to Launch two Canadian stores and four shop-in-shops Attention: Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, Lifestyle Editor, Media Editor, Photo Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 3, 2005) - GEOX, the premier Italian footwear brand known for its "shoes that breathe," officially opened its first Canadian store today at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto as a result of increasing demand in Canada for its infamous breathable footwear. The brand is an international phenomenon that is successfully making more then 9 million followers in 68 countries around the globe each year. GEOX was formerly accessible in Canada through a network of 200+ quality retailers from coast to coast. The new 1100-square-foot retail location will carry a comprehensive mix of GEOX footwear for men, women and children, as well as GEOX's new clothing collection, available for the first time in Canada. Simultaneously, GEOX is opening a second location at Carrefour Laval in the greater Montreal area.

"It is time to take GEOX to a new level of success, and opening stores in Canada is an integral part of this strategy," said Mario Moretti Polegato, founder and president of GEOX and the inventor of this revolutionary technology. "Toronto and Montreal are leading fashion shopping destinations, and we are thrilled to provide a broader range of our technologically advanced, fashion footwear to both markets."

In only three short years, GEOX Canada has grown to be one of Canada's leading shoe brands. "Most retailers are ecstatic with double digit growth, explains Gino Stinziani, Vice President for Canada, but GEOX Canada has had 100% growth each season since landing here in 2003. For this next phase of our growth, we are now solidifying our brand positioning with the opening of two stores and four shop-in-shops concepts featuring unique, modern design that will raise the bar for the entire shoe industry."

The opening of the GEOX stores are part of a greater North American strategy for the brand, which includes the rollout of other Canadian stores and shop-in-shops, the licensing of the GEOX breathable clothing line to like-minded Canadian retailers and the opening of a new 2800 square-foot GEOX store on Madison Avenue in New York City this summer.

The new stores, designed by in-house Italian architects, will boast a modern design aesthetic that includes red leather sofas, red carpeting and charcoal-colored walls. Footwear will be displayed on pedestals like art in a contemporary gallery, so that customers can have a 360-degree view of the product. Display fixtures and cash counters will be made from Koto wood, a dark brown African wood. Plasma-screen televisions will run loops of the story, philosophy and technology behind GEOX. The store also will also include a colourful children's area.

Sales personnel have been trained to explain the technological features of GEOX's product, which include dress, casual and sport shoes for men and women, as well as athletic footwear for children.

THE GEOX REVOLUTION

Founded in 1995, GEOX shoes boast a patented technology: microholes in the rubber outsoles manage moisture and heat, while the protective, breathable membrane keeps water out and feet dry. GEOX's revolutionary technology provides comfort and health benefits for both rubber and leather soles, making them waterproof and breathable, recreating an ideal microclimate inside the shoe to keep feet cool and dry.

ABOUT GEOX

GEOX is the number one casual footwear brand in Italy for women, men and children. It was founded just ten years ago by Mario Moretti Polegato. Since then, the company has experienced an average growth rate of 40% year-over-year. GEOX employs approximately 5,000 people, and sells in 68 countries through 9,000 independent retailers. The two new GEOX stores will be joining a family of more than 275 GEOX concept stores around the globe.

In Canada, GEOX currently caters to the Canadian market via its channel of over 200 quality retailers from coast to coast. To find a GEOX retailer near you, please visit www.GEOX.com or call 1-866-454-4369.

GEOX has been listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since December 04. New financial results show consolidated sales of €340.1 million, up by 34% from 2003. The group expects significant improvement in its 2005 results thanks to an order backlog for the 2005 Spring/Summer collection that indicates a growth of approximately 30% compared to the same period in 2004. IN: RETAIL

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