Shoe retailer Sterling Shoes has signed agreements in principle to open ten stores over the next year, subject to final lease documentation.

Vancouver-based Sterling expects to finalise the deals by the end of March.

President and chief executive Jeremy Horwitz said: "We continue to solidify and expand our market share in all regions in which Sterling Shoes operates."

Sterling plans to open the stores between April 2006 and February next year. The company had previously announced plans for eight new stores, which are expected to be opened over the next eight weeks.

The ten newly announced stores will bring the company's total number of stores to 123 across its four banners: Sterling, Joneve, Shoe Warehouse and Freedman's.

Sterling sells private label and brand name shoes and accessories across five Canadian provinces.