Something You Should Know About Polish Shoes – Boots – Footwear in History

Kangaroos Signs Pacts to Import Soviet Footwear

ST. LOUIS — Kangaroos USA Inc. has signed agreements with various companies in the Soviet Union under which Kangaroos, predominantly an athletic shoe company, will import Russian-made leather footwear.

Donald A. Simon, Kangaroos’ chairman, said in a telephone interview he hopes the Russian imports eventually will exceed two million pairs a year.

He said the first shipments are expected to be delivered in early July and will consist of several styles of men’s and women’s classic fleece-lined boots that will retail at about $40.

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Kangaroos, through its Trans-World shoe division, has been a major importer of similar leather footwear from Poland for more than 20 years, Simon noted.

That footwear is sold under the Aspen brand name and under private labels to large retail chains such as K mart and Wal-Mart, he added.

“The Soviet Union orders represent an opportunity to expand our production sources for leather footwear to supplement our Polish operation under the Trans-World banner,” Simon said.

Jerome B. Richter, vice chairman of Kangaroos and chairman of Kangaroos International, said in a statement that during negotiations with the Russians, which began late last year, it was learned that numerous changes have taken place in the footwear industry in the Soviet Union.

“New shoe factories are being built and old ones remodeled,” he said. “A significant portion of the production of these factories will be dedicated to export to enable the Soviet Union to earn much needed hard currency.”

Richter said the meetings in the Soviet Union attracted high-level interest and support within the state of Russia as well as the Soviet Union itself.

Richter said firm orders were placed during a signing ceremony earlier this year in Moscow during which he and Simon were accompanied by, among others from the Soviet Union, Yevgeny B. Bihofski, deputy minister at the Ministry of Light Industry of the U.S.S.R., and Alexander A. Biryukov, Minister of Light industry for the state of Russia.

“Subsequent meetings were held with the Russian ministry staff who were most cooperative and supportive of us,” Richter added.

Richter said the arrangements include a joint venture between Kangaroos and an Italian company, Cogolo & Igi, which is acting as prime contractor for the projects and is supplying technology, expertise, design and supervision, while Kangaroos is responsible for sales and marketing of the Russian-made footwear.

“The Italians also will handle quality control, which will give us a high quality product,” Richter said.

Simon added, “We are buying Italian footwear made with Russian labor at the lower prices traditionally associated with our Polish business.”

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