Plus-size women's apparel retailer Charming Shoppes is to set up 75 outlet stores under its Lane Bryant brand after signing a lease agreement with Retail Brand Alliance.

The deal will see Charming Shoppes taking over most of the outlet locations currently operated by Casual Corner Annex, which will cease its outlet operations early in 2006.

In the transaction, Charming Shoppes is acquiring the leases, leasehold improvements and fixtures for this group of store locations for a cash payment of approximately US$2.8 million.

Commenting on the announcement, Dorrit J Bern, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Charming Shoppes, said: "This agreement gives our flagship chain a significant presence in many of the country's leading outlet centres, a distribution channel that we have targeted for additional growth within the Lane Bryant brand."

The outlet stores will be operated under the Lane Bryant Outlet nameplate, and are expected to open during the second and third quarters of 2006.