NEW YORK CITY-Jones Apparel Group is selling Barneys New York, its high-end department-store chain, to Dubai-based private-equity firm Istithmar for $825 million. Jones is selling the 34-unit chain to “reduce the level of required capital expenditures (so) we will have greater financial flexibility in the execution of our business strategy,” according to a company statement.

The Barneys portfolio is made up of flagship stores here, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Boston and Dallas; two regional full-price stores; 14 CO-OP Barneys New York stores; and 13 outlet stores. In the fall the chain is scheduled to open its fifth flagship store, in San Francisco.

Jones acquired Barneys in 2004 for $400 million. At that time, the chain operated 21 stores across the country.

Istithmar sees “incredible growth prospects” for Barneys, says David Jackson, the firm’s CEO. The outfit has also invested in the US off-price chain Loehmann’s.

The Barneys buy is part of a string of private-equity acquisitions in the retail industry in the last few years. Chains that have recently been bought include Outback Steakhouse, Claire’s Stores and Dollar General.

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