(Article on Saks store closing updated with comments from Saks CEO.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Saks ( SKS) may close some underperforming stores, the company said during an investor conference Tuesday.

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.
Saks

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.

Separately, Saks was upgraded on Tuesday to overweight from neutral by JPMorgan ( JPM), which cited higher sales, cost controls and inventory management for its revised opinion on Saks' stock. The company has seen its same-store sales rise for three months straight.

JPMorgan's analyst, Charles Grom, wrote in a note that Saks is coming out of the recession strongly, with lower costs, a stable balance sheet and long-term opportunities.

Grom also upped his price target on the stock to $11 from $7.

Shares of Saks hit a new 52-week high of $9.57 earlier Tuesday, before pulling back. In afternoon trading, the stock was changing hands at $8.93, up 1.9%.

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

More from Stocks

Market Can't Handle the Wild Ride: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Thursday 5/24/18)

Market Can't Handle the Wild Ride: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Thursday 5/24/18)

Replay: Jim Cramer on North Korea, Oil Prices, Apple and Carnival Corporation

Replay: Jim Cramer on North Korea, Oil Prices, Apple and Carnival Corporation

Canopy Growth: First Cannabis Firm on the NYSE Fails to Generate Buzz

Canopy Growth: First Cannabis Firm on the NYSE Fails to Generate Buzz

Video: This Startup Connects Buyers and Sellers of Legal Marijuana

Video: This Startup Connects Buyers and Sellers of Legal Marijuana

Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Tumble After Trump Calls Off North Korea Summit

Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Tumble After Trump Calls Off North Korea Summit