Macy’s Inc. will close nine underperforming stores within the next several weeks, affecting just under 900 workers.

Most of the stores are in malls where Macy’s sees little growth potential and extensive retail vacancies.

In addition to the closures, there has been speculation that Macy’s may embark on other cost-cutting maneuvers, such as consolidating certain regional operations. One source said that could include Macy’s regional headquarters in Miami and Atlanta.

Macy’s would not comment on the speculation.

In a statement Friday, Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s Inc., said, “While the decision to close stores is difficult, it is necessary that we do so selectively in locations with declining sales and where we have been unable to identify sufficient growth opportunities. At the same time, we continue to open new Macy’s store locations in communities where we believe we can operate successfully.”

He also indicated that Macy’s opened 10 new stores and one furniture gallery in 2007, and that in 2008, the retailer expects to open five stores, with an additional six to eight new locations planned for 2009.

The stores being closed include three in Ohio, in Rolling Acres Mall, Akron; Canton Centre, Canton, and Randall Park Mall, North Randall. Two Texas stores are being closed in Valley View Center, Dallas, and Sharpstown Center, Houston.

The others being shut down are in Washington Square, Indianapolis; Prien Lake Mall, Lake Charles, La.; Crossroads Mall, Oklahoma City, and Family Center at Riverdale, Riverdale, Utah.

The nine stores are separate from the duplicate locations that Macy’s has been disposing of since its acquisition of May Department Stores in 2005. Of the 80 duplicate locations earmarked, Macy’s has disposed of about 70, and could decide to retain some of the remaining 10 units.

For full coverage, see Wednesday’s WWD.