By  on August 2, 2006

NEW YORK -Belk Inc. has agreed to purchase Parisian from Saks Inc. for $285 million in a stock transaction.

The transaction, involving 38 Parisian units generating $723 million in sales last year, furthers Belk’s build up of its department store base in the South, while enabling Saks Inc. to put more resources into rehabilitating its core Saks Fifth Avenue division.

Belk, which is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., said it would convert the Parisian stores to Belks, a process seen taking 18 months. With Parisian, the $2.97 billion Belk will operate a total of 315 stores in 19 states, and generate approximately $3.6 billion in sales.

Parisian was once a dominant chain in the South, known for strong service and better merchandise, but its reputation has slipped in recent years. Belk, on the other hand, has been gaining ground and in July 2005 purchased 47 Proffitt’s and McRae’s department stores from Saks Inc. and converted 38 of them to Belks last March.

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