NEW YORK -- Petrie Stores Corp. said it wants to dispose of its approximately 1,700 specialty stores by this fall.

Petrie, with sales of $1.48 billion last year, said it has held preliminary discussions with three potential buyers, including one who is working with the existing senior management group. So far, interested parties have placed the value of the chain between $200 million and $250 million.

Petrie said it might also try to dispose of its retail operations through a rights offering that would give shareholders the opportunity to purchase shares in a new holding company for the retail operations, or through an initial public offering of shares in a new retail holding company.

The company said its retail operations will continue uninterrupted, and senior management will remain in place through the transaction.

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