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Robeez Shoe Maker Closing Canadian Plant

Shoe seller Collective Brands said Thursday the Robeez unit of its Stride Rite subsidiary plans to shutter its remaining Canadian operations, eliminating more than 300 jobs.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Shoe seller Collective Brands Inc. said Thursday a unit of its Stride Rite Corp. subsidiary plans to shutter its remaining Canadian operations, eliminating more than 300 jobs.

The Topeka-based company said Robeez, which focuses on footwear for infants and toddlers, will close its manufacturing plant in Burnaby, British Columbia, in December and shift those responsibilities to outside companies.

Robeez will also shift customer service operations in Burnaby to an existing Collective Brands call center in Richmond, Ind., beginning in September, and move its management operations to Stride Rite's headquarters in Lexington, Mass., by February.

The moves will affect about 250 manufacturing employees and 60 headquarters workers, the company said. It added that it may add an undetermined number of jobs to its Lexington operations.

"This strategic plan is the result of a thorough eight-month study to review the Robeez infrastructure to best support our customers, maintain competitiveness and profitably grow the business over the long term," Susan Vann, general manager of Robeez North America, said in a written statement.

Collective Brands, which also operates the Payless ShoeSource chain, announced earlier this year that it planned to close a distribution center in Burnaby in September, costing 40 jobs.

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