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BENSALEM, PA-Charming Shoppes, the owner of the Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines chains, is negotiating leases with landlords in efforts not to close some of the 100 underperforming stores it planned on shutting this year. So far, the retailer has “received a number of rent reductions,” at stores, said Alan Rosskamm, Charming Shoppes’ chairman and interim chief executive officer, during its fourth-quarter conference call.

“We’ve gotten very good cooperation from the landlord community and are looking for more,” he said. “We want to give our landlords the chance to keep those stores open by making them cash-flow positive with their cooperation.”

If the negotiations are successful, Charming Shoppes might not have to close as many units as anticipated. The biggest opportunities lie in malls, where “rents per square foot are much higher” than community centers, Rosskamm said.

Same-store sales across Charming Shoppes’ chains decreased 15% year-over-year during the fourth quarter, while total sales dropped 14% to $631.9 million. It posted a loss of $108.5 million.

Charming Shoppes executives plan to open six stores over the coming year, relocate 12 and have capital expenditures of $24 million. The company currently operates 897 Fashion Bugs, 892 Lane Bryants and 463 Catherines.

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