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With 4,500 stores, it can be a daunting task to call or visit a statistically relevant sample of locations to get a pulse on Payless’ promotional activity.  However, the internet can be a powerful tool and so is our ability to look back at Payless’ promotional activity over the last 30 days.  Take a look at this snapshot that compares this year’s promotional activity with last year and precisely depicts the timing and nature of each of Payless’ campaigns over the September/October time frame.

PSS: BOGO? Yes.  Less Promotional? Yes. - 1

While the BOGO promotion remains key to the company’s strategy, look at the company’s online campaigns over the month of September.  As you’ll see, Payless DID NOT anniversary last year’s clearance events.  Everything else remains pretty much the same, barring a timing shift of a day or two here and there.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be watching closely to see how aggressive the BOGO message is delivered.  As you can see, Payless ran 28 days of BOGO throughout much of October ’08.   We think this is pretty relevant in light of the company’s change in focus starting this fall to direct-market to its core customer after 4-years of collecting data. Heading into next week’s analyst event, this is a good nugget in our book.