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STAGE STORE SET TO CLOSE

Stage Stores Inc. announced this week that their store in Harbor is one of the 120 stores it will close by the end of the year.

According to Sheila Hagbom, store manager, most of the 10 employees of the Harbor store have already located new employment.

The store will remain open until the inventory, which has been purchased by a liquidation group, has been sold.

The going-out-of-business sale began Tuesday.

Currently all merchandise in the store is marked down at least 20 percent, including fragrances and Levis, Hagbom said. Much of the merchandise has additional markdowns.

We have some great buys, she added.

I want to thank the area people who have supported us. Many have come in and called to say how sorry they are, and I appreciate that.

Stores in Cottage Grove, Hermiston, Hood River, Ontario and The Dalles will also be closed, but Oregon is not the only state affected.

Other states losing stores are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The forced closure of 120 of the corporations 591 Stage, Palais Royal and Bealls stores, is part of its June 1 filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

We deeply regret having to take this step, says Jack Wiesner, chairman, interim chief executive officer and president of the corporation. ....However, for Stage Stores to survive and regain strength, weve had to make the very difficult decision to close some stores, even in communities that have meant so very much to us.

Subject to bankruptcy court approval, a three-year, $450 million debtor-in-possession credit facility with Citicorp USA Inc., as agent, will refinance some indebtedness and provide working capital for continued operation, according to Wiesner.

The announcement stated other job opportunities will be offered to associates whose stores are closing, however, in order to take advantage of those opportunities employees would have to relocate to the mid-west, Hagbom said.

And everyone likes Brookings too much.

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