BON-TON DEBT OFFERING: The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. on Friday said it plans a $525 million debt offering to fund its $1.1 billion purchase of Saks Inc.'s Northern Department Store Group. The offering, through a private placement made by the retailer's subsidiary, The Bon-Ton Department Stores Inc., is expected to be completed next month. The notes will be due in 2014. The deal for the Northern Department Store Group, expected to close this spring, includes the nameplates Carson Pirie Scott, Boston Store, Younkers, Herberger's and Bergner's.GROWING BEAN: L.L. Bean Inc. said Tuesday it will open three stores — in Burlington, Mass., in September; Center Valley near Allentown, Pa., in October, and South Windsor, Conn., in summer 2007. Locations in greater Boston are being sought for 2007 and 2008 openings. The stores will be similar to Bean's five existing units, which are in Maryland and New Jersey and each have about 30,000 square feet. They will sell apparel and outdoor gear. L.L. Bean also has 14 outlets. "In addition to expanding our retail presence in the Northeast, we are also moving forward with significant new investments at home here in Maine," said Ed Howell, chief retail officer, referring to the Freeport campus, where adjacent property has been purchased for retail expansion and additional landscaping and parking. "We envision a major transformation for downtown Freeport," said president and chief executive officer Chris McCormick. "The changes represent tens of millions of dollars of new commercial investment in our hometown." Fulfillment operations are also being expanded.

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