REEDS AGREES TO ACQUIRE ALL OF MELART'S COMMON SHARES

NEW YORK--Reeds Jewelers Inc. said it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase all the common stock of The Melart Jewelers Inc., a private chain of 19 jewelry stores, for an undisclosed amount of cash. For the year ended June 30, Melart, based in Silver Spring, Md., had sales of $17.5 million. In the year ended Feb. 28, publicly owned Reeds, based in Wilmington, N.C., earned $4.1 million, or $1.08 a share, on sales of $77.5 million.
Melart operates most of its stores in regional malls in the Washington/Baltimore metroplex, the fourth-largest U.S. retail market, encompassing Maryland, northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The company, founded in 1939, operates 18 retail stores under the Melart name and one outlet under the Jewelry Vault name in Potomac Mills, Md., an outlet center near Washington.
Alan M. Zimmer, president and chief executive officer of Reeds, said the acquisition will allow the firm to move into contiguous markets in Baltimore and Washington. He added, "The purchase of Melart will afford us cost savings going forward as we will be able to leverage our operating, distribution and sourcing efforts."
Reeds operates 80 stores in regional malls in 11 states, principally in the Southeast.
--Fairchild News Service

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