(Article on Saks store closing updated with comments from Saks CEO.)
CEO Stephen Sadove said during Citigroup's (C) Retail Conference, which was broadcast over the Internet, that Saks could close money-losing stores as their leases come due.
The company said in a release on Tuesday that it will shutter its Saks Fifth Avenue stores at Pioneer Place Mall in Portland, Ore., which will affect about 100 employees.Sadove said there won't be a ton of store closures, but there most certainly won't be many new openings. "This is not where the growth is going to be," he said. Instead, Sadove is looking to boost profitability at existing stores. Saks' Internet operation, which Sadove said has become the biggest store in terms of sales, is another area for growth. The goal: to boost gross margins, bringing them back to 2007 levels, which Sadove said is possible as sales improvements seen over the holidays are expected to continue.