BOSTON (AP) _ The Stop & Shop Cos. Inc. announced plans Wednesday to spin off its Bradlees Discount Department Store business into a separate public company.

Stop & Shop said it expects to gain $390 million through the deal, which will involve an initial public offering of stock in the new company, Bradlees Inc.

The money would be used by Stop & Shop, which was taken private in a $1.5 billion levaraged buyout in 1988, to help pay off its debt.

Stop & Shop expects to report a $175 million book loss from the sale.

Bradlees, which operates 127 discount stores in the Northeast, will have approximately $260 million in debt after the deal, the company said.

Barry A. Berman, Bradlees' president and chief operating officer, will become chairman, president and chief executive of the new company.