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May Combining Famous-Barr and L.S. Ayres Into One Division

October 25, 1991

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ May Department Stores Co. said Friday it was combining its Famous-Barr and L.S. Ayres department stores into one division and closing five branches.

Jim Abrams, a spokesman for May, said the stores would continue to operate under their current names, but the Ayres headquarters would be moved from Indianapolis to St. Louis.

Famous-Barr’s 18 stores are located in Missouri and Illinois. The 15 L.S. Ayres branches are in Indiana.

Anthony Torcasio, president and chief executive of the L.S. Ayres division, will become president and chief executive of the combined division. The merger will be effective Feb. 1.

Torcasio said in a statement the merged divisions would form ″a powerful regional department store, with centralized administrative and marketing functions to realize both cost savings and operating efficiencies.″

Abrams said the five stores being closed suffered from low productivity.

The branches include the Southtown Famous-Barr in St. Louis, the downtown Indianapolis L.S. Ayres, and three additional L.S. Ayres stores in Indiana - at Scottsdale Mall in South Bend, in Evansville and at Southtown Mall in Fort Wayne. They are expected to shut by Jan. 1.

Abrams said he did not know how many jobs might be lost, but some employees will be offered positions at other stores or at the division’s headquarters.

Abrams said the company planned to open a new 130,000-square-foot L.S. Ayres at Tippecanoe Mall in Lafayette, Ind., by fall 1993 and to close its current store there.

In St. Louis, the company is planning to expand the capacity of its Famous- Barr distribution center. About 250 jobs are expected to be added there, Abrams said.

May is one of the largest retailers in the country, operating more than 325 department stores and 3,100 Payless ShoeSource stores. May sales in 1990 were $10.04 billion, including $507 million from Famous-Barr and $345 million from L.S. Ayres.

The company’s other department stores include Lord & Taylor, Foley’s, Filene’s, Hecht’s, Kaufmann’s, May Co., Robinson’s and May D&F.

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