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Saks sells off nine stores

BIRMINGHAM, AL -Saks Inc. has agreed to sell nine department stores and related assets to The May Department Stores Company for approximately $310 million, closing the deal in March.

The properties include five Proffitt's stores in Nashville, TN; a McRae's store in Baton Rouge, LA; and three Parisian stores in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, LA, and Orlando, FL. These stores were acquired from Dillard's Department Stores in fall 1998.

May plans to briefly close the eight Tennessee and Louisiana stores before reopening them as Hecht's stores in Tennessee and Foley's stores in Louisiana. The Orlando store will be remodeled and reopen as a Lord & Taylor in February 2002.

Saks will use the proceeds from the sale to reduce debt and, to a lesser degree, to repurchase equity.

"The sale of these stores is consistent with our strategy of rationalizing our store base and our asset base in a fashion that creates a higher-growth, higher-margin, value-creating department store business," said Brad Martin, chairman and ceo of Saks.

After completion of the transaction, Saks' department store group will have a total of 243 store locations.

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