Boscov's to acquire 10 stores Five will be Strawbridge's, four in the area. The Reading retailer's is the first of the sales of 78 Federated properties.

Posted: February 07, 2006

As Strawbridge's begins to fade from Philadelphia, Boscov's Inc. announced plans yesterday to make a bigger mark on the department-store scene.

The Reading-based retailer said it would acquire 10 stores from Federated Department Stores Inc. - including five Strawbridge's - in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey.

The 10 are among the 78 mall stores that Federated previously announced it would eliminate as a result of its acquisition last year of May Department Stores Co.

Four of the 10 stores are in the region. They include the Strawbridge's stores at the Deptford Mall, Montgomery Mall, Oxford Valley Mall and Willow Grove Park mall.

Federated and Boscov's officials would not disclose the terms of the sale.

By April, Cincinnati-based Federated will sell or close all Strawbridge's anchor stores in shopping malls that also contain a Macy's - another Federated-owned chain. Strawbridge's employees can reapply for Macy's jobs, although additional positions will be few, the company said.

Macy's will continue to serve customers in these malls, including in locations where May company nameplates will be converted into Macy's, according to Federated.

"We started announcing back in July duplicate stores that we've been divesting," Jim Sluzewski, spokesman for Federated, said yesterday. "This is the first sale of those 78 stores across the country that we've reached actual agreements to sell."

Still to come is a retailer or retailers to replace the Strawbridge's in four other Philadelphia-area malls: Cherry Hill Mall, Christiana Mall, King of Prussia mall and Springfield Mall.

Founded by Solomon Boscov in 1921, Boscov's touts itself as the country's largest family-owned department store company. The company said it had sales revenue of $1.1 billion in 2005 and operated 40 Boscov's in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and employed about 10,000.

Last week, Kenneth S. Lakin was named chairman and chief executive officer of Boscov's, assuming control of the retailer from his uncle, Albert R. Boscov, and his father, Edwin A. Lakin. That move and recapitalization completed last month will keep the company in the Boscov and Lakin families' hands.

In the news release announcing his promotion, Ken Lakin said he expected to add 10 or more stores in the next few years.

Last month, the company was named by the trade publication Women's Wear Daily as one of the top five retailers in the nation from a customer-service standpoint.

Federated operates more than 850 department stores and more than 720 bridal and formalwear stores in 49 states. Its stores include Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Famous-Barr, Filene's, Foley's, Hecht's, Kaufmann's, and Lord & Taylor.

Joseph Coradino, vice president of retail for Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns six shopping malls, including Willow Grove Park mall and the Lehigh Valley Mall, said the move by Federated meant that Boscov's would soon become a household name in the region.

"Before, we knew them as 'the other store.' Now, Boscov's will be 'the store,' " Coradino said. "It will become the new Strawbridge's. It's going to be the new family department store in Philadelphia."

Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or

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