Attention shoppers:

Saks

(SKS)

today announced that the spin off of its

Saks Fifth Avenue

,

Saks Direct

and

Saks Off 5th

units into a separate publicly owned company is expected to be completed in the first half of 2001. The company had previously anticipated a November closing.

The spun off company will be named

Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises

. After the split, Saks will consist of its

Proffit's

,

McRae's

,

Younkers

,

Parisian

,

Herberger's

,

Boston Store

,

Carson Pirie Scott

and

Bergner's

stores.

In a move to boost its earnings and stock price, the company

decided in July that two groups would perform more efficiently than one. At the time of the announcement, Saks chairman and chief executive, R. Brad Martin, stated that "over the past 18 months, we have witnessed a general contraction of department store-valuation multiples." Martin added that "our share price has been additionally discounted because of the failure to achieve our targeted earnings growth."

In recent trading, shares of Saks--which had traded as high as $27.13 earlier this year--were up 6 cents to $10.44.

As a result of the spin off, each Saks shareholder is expected to get one share of SFA Enterprise stock for every three shares of Saks common stock.

In recent trading, Saks was up 6 cents to $10.44.