NEW YORK — Blue Holdings is expected to announce the acquisition of specialty retail chain Up Against the Wall on Tuesday morning, according to market sources.

Official confirmation of the acquisition will reportedly occur just minutes before Paul Guez, chief executive officer and president of the Commerce, Calif.-based premium denim manufacturer, rings the opening bell of the Nasdaq stock market here. The event is scheduled to commemorate the company’s move to trading on the Nasdaq capital market, which occurred on April 26.

A spokesman for Up Against the Wall said the company was in a quiet period and could not comment, but indicated that an announcement regarding the retail chain would be released Tuesday morning.

Paul Guez did not respond to calls to his office and an email by press time.

Expanding Blue Holding’s direct retail operations has been a priority for Guez. During a March conference call with analysts to discuss year-end result, Guez expressed his desire to expand the company’s portfolio of brands and obtain retail stores to showcase them.

“My goal is to have six to 10 brands and between 100 and 200 retail stores where I’ll have my brands and others,” said Guez at the time, adding that some of those stores would appear this year. The company’s Antik Denim, Taverniti So Jeans and Yanuk brands fueled sales of $36.4 million in 2005, with Antik accounting for 70 percent of sales.

Up Against the Wall has 24 stores, the majority of which are located around the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, Virginia and Virginia Beach. The company has also a store in Miami and six on the West Coast. A Las Vegas location is expected to open in 2007.

For complete coverage, see tomorrow’s issue of WWD.

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