There was nothing wrong with the locations. But Federateddecided to shut down its Stern's division, mostly because of itssubstantial overlap with other Federated divisions. Most of theformer Stern's stores have become either Macy's or Bloomingdale's,but stores being vacated at the 1.5-million-sf Monmouth Mall here,and the one-million-sf Ocean County Mall in Toms River were put onthe market because both centers already had a Macy's, andBloomingdale's wasn't compatible.

But no sooner had the two Stern's closed when they had areplacement. Boscov's will spend $2 million to renovate the formerMonmouth Mall Sterns and hopes to have it ready by mid fall. Theformer Stern's at Ocean County Mall will be expanded from 140,000sf to 170,000 sf and renovated to the tune of $4 million. Bothstores will employ 450 when fully up and running, according toBoscov officials.

"We are an old-fashioned department store," explains Boscov'sCOO Ken Lakin. He's referring to the fact that the chain offerseverything from appliances to fashion apparel, which is unusual inthis age of retail specialization.

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