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The Bon Buys 2 Gottschalks Units

NEW YORK -- Strengthening its dominance in the Northwest, The Seattle-based Bon Marche division of Federated Department Stores Inc. will take over two Gottschalks stores, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and in Kennewick, Wash., and reopen both by late...

NEW YORK — Strengthening its dominance in the Northwest, The Seattle-based Bon Marche division of Federated Department Stores Inc. will take over two Gottschalks stores, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and in Kennewick, Wash., and reopen both by late fall. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Both properties will be remodeled beginning in August and renamed The Bon.

Daniel Edelman, chairman and chief executive of The Bon Marche, said, “Federated continues to invest in our developing Northwest market.” The Bon also plans to open a 110,000-square-foot full-line store in Yakama, Wash., in August and a 120,000-square-foot, full-line store in Redmond, Wash., in 2003. Stores range from 40,000 in Coeur d’Alene to over 358,000 square feet at the Seattle downtown flagship.

The Coeur d’Alene store in the Silver Lake Mall will occupy 44,000 square feet and operate as a full-line store. The Bon will continue to operate its resort location on Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

The Kennewick store in Columbia Center Mall will occupy 40,000 square feet and sell an expanded assortment of men’s and children’s merchandise. The addition also enables the existing 80,000-square-foot Bon store in the center to broaden its selection of women’s, home, cosmetics, accessories, intimate apparel and shoes, with men’s and children’s moving to the new site.

“We’ve been looking for a way to expand our Columbia Center store for years,” Edelman said. “It’s been a terrific location, posting well over $300 in sales per square foot.” The expansion will lead to a drop in productivity, he acknowledged, but he expects the store to eventually bounce back to the $300 range.

In several cities around the country, Federated has two stores in the same center. Macy’s West, for example, has two stores in more than 15 communities.

With the addition of the Coeur d’Alene store, The Bon will have 45 locations. Columbia Center will still be counted as one location.

Last year, the company racked up just under $1.1 billion in revenues and opened an 80,000-square-foot prototype in a strip center in Helena, Mont., that is smaller than most Bon stores, with only one floor, a central checkout, shopping carts and a streamlined assortment that exudes brands but excludes furniture. It’s a move that aims to draw on the successes of Kohl’s, provide faster, easier shopping and potentially be a venue for entering smaller markets.

“The store is doing well,” Edelman said. “We are definitely thinking about future locations,” under the same format. “We don’t have anything yet, but we are looking at a variety of markets.”

Gottschalks’ sale of the two stores is a sign that the chain’s Northwest incursion, far from its California base, has not met expectations.”