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YORK, PA-Bon-Ton Stores Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement with Charlotte, NC-based Belk Inc. to acquire four Parisian department stores and the rights for construction of a fifth. The purchase price is $22 million in cash, including the assumption of liabilities, which are not quantified. The transaction is expected to close on Oct. 30.

The four existing locations are: a 148,000-sf unit at Laurel Park Place, a regional mall in Livonia, MI; a 120,500-sf unit at Meadowbrook Village, a lifestyle center in Rochester Hills, MI; the 130,199-sf unit at Fairfield Commons, a regional mall in Beavercreek, OH, and the 144,000-sf unit at Circle Centre, a downtown mall in Indianapolis. Construction of the fifth location, a 120,000-sf store at Partridge Creek, a lifestyle center in Clinton Twp. MI, will begin this year and is scheduled to open in October 2007.

Belk acquired 38 Parisian units earlier this year from Saks Inc. for $285 million. In addition to the sales to Bon-Ton, Tom Belk, chairman and CEO, says his company will sell seven more Parisian units in Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Tennessee, but no buyer has yet been identified.

Meanwhile, locally based Bon-Ton will continue operating the four Parisian units it acquired, which generated net sales of $90 million in 2005. During the transition period, Belk will provide support services, including information technology, credit services and other back-office functions.

“We are extremely pleased with the opportunities that this acquisition affords our company,” said Bud Bergren, Bon-Ton president and CEO, in a statement. The Parisian units “fit geographically into our existing markets, strengthen our position in the Midwest and add to our customer base. We look forward to welcoming the Parisian associates to the Bon-Ton team and integrating their strong base . . . which are integral to the success of our company.”

On completion of the transaction, Bon-Ton will operate a total of 282 stores in 23 states with estimated annual net sales of $3.4 billion. It operates units under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers brands.

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