Saturday, January 29, 2000

Elder-Beerman wraps up sale of shoe chain




BY LISA BIANK FASIG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. has finalized the sale of its 50-store Bee-Gee Shoe Corp. chain to a business group formed by two out-of-state firms and Bee-Gee's management.

        Albertine Industries, a merchant banking firm in Washington, D.C., and Ark Capital, a private equity fund in Chicago, agreed to buy the shoe chain in September. The new owners plan to keep Bee-Gee's offices and corporate employees in Dayton, Ohio, but will convert the name of Bee-Gee into Shoebilee Inc.

        Bee-Gee operates El-Bee and Shoebilee chains. El-Bee specializes in factory close-outs and overruns. Shoebilee carries a full line of branded assortment at value prices.

        “What we've been doing is converting (El-Bee) into the Shoebilee,” said Ervin Mat thews, chief financial officer of Shoebilee. Bee-Gee's 20 corporate employees will remain. Also, Gordon Partin, vice president and general manager of shoes at Bee-Gee, was appointed chief executive of the new company. Elder-Beerman will continue to provide support services.

        Elder-Beerman and Shoebilee declined to disclose the purchase price, but the shoe chain had represented less than 5 percent of Elder-Beerman's sales, or about $30 million.

        Elder-Beerman sold its shoe chain to strengthen its core department store business and become profitable. It does not expect the deal to affect 1999 earnings.

        Locally, the new Bee-Gee operates El-Bee stores in Groesbeck and at Forest Fair Mall, and a Shoebilee in Westwood. The El-Bees will be converted to the Shoebilee format.

       



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