Flip Flop Shops and Ritz Interactive Redefine e-Retail: Joint Venture Provides Well-Needed Jolt for Footwear Industry

Two Industry Titans Join Forces to Launch Innovative Internet Flip Flop and Sandal Shop at FlipFlopShops.com

February 02, 2011 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – One has achieved status among the world's retailers as today's hottest concept. The other is recognized as an unquestioned leader in specialty online retail. Together they are revolutionizing e-Retail, "flipping" the online footwear world on its head with an online shop sure to change the way we buy flip flops and sandals for the foreseeable future.

Flip Flop Shops and Ritz Interactive today announced a landmark joint venture agreement, which gives way to the development of new e-commerce technology on FlipFlopShops.com. Like the Flip Flop Shops retail locations, the innovative new online shop will offer all of today's hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals from big names such as REEF, Sanuk, Flojos, VANS, havaianas, OluKai, Cobian and O'NEILL. Plus, with no space constraints, the easy-to-navigate online experience will offer even more styles from the prominent brands sold at Flip Flop Shops.

"We're stoked to bring our 'Free Your Toes' mentality to the online world with Ritz Interactive," said Brian Curin, the President (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops. "The launch of FlipFlopShops.com will allow us to bring even more of the hottest brands and latest styles to those customers that don't have a shop near them…yet."

In addition to consumers hopping on the inviting site from home, Flip Flops Shops' growing collection of franchise locations, now at more than 35 shops, will have an expanded opportunity to offer their customers more of the fashion-forward footwear for which the concept has come to be known.

"As a brand with unrivaled consumer appeal and a concept that industry leaders have anointed as an icon among growing retailers worldwide, Flip Flop Shops clearly fits in with our family of renowned online retail shops," said Fred Lerner, the co-founder, president, CEO, and director (Size 11) of Ritz Interactive, Inc. "Flip Flop Shops has energized our organization. To show how excited we are, we've instituted Flip Flop Fridays at our office. We're proud to be working with them to offer consumers the very best selection."

The online retail shop will offer 24-hour customer support, seven days a week via e-mail, chat and telephone. It also offers remarkable scalability. Flip Flop Shops is on pace to double its presence around the globe in the next six to nine months, with more than 90 shops open and in its development pipeline. As it grows, the online retail shop will grow with it.

"We've been strategic about our growth with highly qualified franchisees, and we've taken that same thoughtful approach in selecting the right e-commerce partner," said Darin Kraetsch, the CEO (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops. "With limitless boundaries we are primed to give even more people around the world the chance to 'Live…Work…Play With Their Toes Exposed®' while wearing the freedom of flip flops on their feet...this will be an epic launch."

Ritz Interactive is a sister company to Ritz Camera and Wolf Camera, two leading photography industry retail companies. David Ritz, the CEO of Ritz Camera & Image, has a long, storied professional career, including several industry accolades and a place among today's most decorated company executives. He is also chairman and director of Ritz Interactive. Evidencing the dynamic nature of its business, Ritz Interactive has a proven track record with some of the world's elite brands. Leading marine retailer Boaters World and famed golfer turned clothing industry icon Greg Norman have established partnerships with Ritz Interactive. Norman, who merchandises his apparel with Ritz Interactive at ShopAtShark.com, also is on the Board of Directors of Ritz Interactive.

Bursting onto the retail scene in 2004, Flip Flop Shops quickly became North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals from such leading brands as REEF, Sanuk, Flojos, VANS, havaianas, OluKai, Cobian and O'NEILL, among others. Their mission: to provide the opportunity for anyone, in any climate around the globe, to "Live…Work…Play With Their Toes Exposed®" while wearing the freedom of flip flops on their feet.

About Flip Flop Shops

Founded in 2004, Flip Flop Shops is North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals from big names such as REEF, Sanuk, Flojos, VANS, havaianas, OluKai, Cobian, and O'NEILL. The recipient of the International Council of Shopping Centers' prestigious "Hot Retailer Award," Flip Flop Shops began franchising in January 2008. Flip Flop Shops is an Environmentally Responsible Retailer™ and encourages the nation to Free Their Toes®. The executive team boasts more than 50 years of franchise experience building and growing some of the world's fastest-growing franchise concepts, category leaders and some of the world's most well-known brands, including Cold Stone Creamery, Moe's Southwest Grill and Nike. With more than 35 shops currently operating and 50-plus in development, the company plans to open 236 shops by 2013. For more franchise opportunity information, visit www.flipflopshops.com.

About Ritz Interactive, Inc.

Ritz Interactive is an award-winning, specialty online retailer and e-commerce service provider that operates a network of websites offering high quality, branded lifestyle products. Since its inception in Irvine, California in 1999, the company has become a leader in providing a full selection of photographic and consumer electronics products as well as a wide range of marine, boating and fishing products, at competitive prices for online shoppers. Ritz Interactive's leading photo-specialty and consumer electronics e-commerce websites are RitzCamera.com and WolfCamera.com, while the company's leading marine e-commerce website is BoatersWorld.com. Each of the individually branded and marketed websites offers a broad and deep selection of competitively priced products, how-to tips and articles, and customer product reviews. See http://www.ritzinteractive.com/ for more information.



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