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Fortunoff: We're not for sale

Contradicting reports last week in some New York area newspapers, Fortunoff on Friday told HTT that it is not for sale.

The 82-year-old company confirmed that it has retained the services of retail bank Peter J. Solomon Co., but only to find a financing partner, not a buyer, according to Arlene Putterman, Fortunoff's vice president of public relations.

"The story here is expansion, not selling," she added. "We are looking for a financial partner to help us grow. We're not a public company; we don't have funds at our fingertips."

A financing partner, if found, will not be offered a stake in the company, she said. Fortunoff expects to generate approximately $500 million in sales this year.

The company wants to open more big box stores as well as satellite units, which average 12,000 to 18,000 square feet and carry seasonal merchandise. Fortunoff recently opened three satellite stores: Eatontown, N.J.; Lawrenceville, N.J.; and Norwalk, Conn.

Although Fortunoff is seeking capital, it is not planning to step up its expansion rate, Putterman said.

"In the next five years, I think you may see us add a couple more stores, but we're not going to double the number we have now," she said.

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