FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- Mercantile Stores Co. has merged its Joslins division, based in Denver, with its Jones Store Co. division, based in Kansas City.

The merger will result in a one-time charge for severance and related costs of approximately $3 million. After the first year, annual savings resulting from the merger are estimated at $3 million.

The projected savings will come from the elimination of 90 to 100 jobs that duplicate functions in such areas as group buyers, support staff and advertising staff, mostly out of the Denver office.

The new division of 24 stores includes Joslins in Colorado and Wyoming; Hennessys in Billings, Mont.; Glass Block in Duluth, Minn.; de Lendrecies in Fargo, N.D., and the Jones Store Co. in Missouri and Kansas.

The individual store names will be retained.

Gregory A. Brandjord, 46, president of the Jones Store division, has been named president of the merged unit.

Roger D. Derr, 58, president of Joslins, citing recent health problems, has decided to retire in lieu of transferring to a senior management position at Mercantile's corporate headquarters. Derr has been with Mercantile 35 years.

Robert Miller, a 39-year Mercantile veteran, has been appointed area manager for Joslins, reporting to Brandjord and remaining in Kansas City.

Over the past three years, Mercantile has consolidated its divisional operations from 11 to five.

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