UPDATE 1-Macy's to close nine stores, affects 899 jobs
(Adds CEO comments, details)
NEW YORK Dec 28 (Reuters) - U.S. retailer Macy's Inc (M.N) said on Friday it would close nine underperforming stores in Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Texas.
Macy's said the closings would affect 899 employees, who would be offered positions in nearby stores where possible. It said employees laid off in the process would be provided severance benefits and outplacement assistance.
"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," Macy's Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said in a statement.
The company also said it expects to open five stores next year, with another six to eight stores currently planned for 2009.
Its shares were trading up 24 cents, or 1 percent, to $25.28 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Justin Grant and Bill Rigby, editing by Mark Porter)
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