LensMaster, the large Russian optical retail chain owned by GrandVision, is aiming to expand its retail network in the country by offering franchising agreements to other retailers except in the downtown areas of Moscow and St. Petersburg, where it wants to operate directly. At the beginning of this year, LensMaster was running a retail chain of 97 stores, located primarily in those two cities. The company is proposing to let the franchisees build new stores under its own banner or to convert existing ones to the LensMaster format. It estimates that they could get a payback on a new store within two years or less with an initial investment of five million rubles (€68,000-$77,000) and average revenues of around 1.7 million rubles (€23,000-$26,000) a year in a city with a population of one million people. There are several eyewear retailers offering franchising deals in Russia, among them Aicraft, Optimist Optika and Smart Vision.