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MOSCOW-Payless ShoeSource has plans in place to expand into Russia starting in 2010. The company is entering into a franchise agreement with MH Alshaya Co., a Kuwait-based retail group.

Within the first year Payless, which is owned by Collective Brands, will open five stores. By 2015 the company will have at least 90 stores in Russia, with the long-term goal of 300 Payless stores.

“The franchise model is proving to be the most efficient way to reach more international markets with the Payless brand and all it has to offer,” says Matthew Rubel, CVEO and chairman of Collective Brands in a release. “Payless brings the know how in footwear specialty retailing, and Alshaya brings its strong infrastructure and local experience in Russia.”

Alshaya and Payless are currently franchisee partners in the Middle East, where Payless has opened stores in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Plus, plans are rolling out to open new stores in Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

Payless also has a joint venture agreement in Columbia, where there are now currently 30 stores. The company has more than 4,500 stores across the globe.

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