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Charming Shoppes to Consolidate Catherines Operations

Bensalem, Pa., Charming Shoppes Inc. said Thursday it will consolidate its Memphis-based Catherines Plus Sizes subsidiary into its Bensalem, Pa. headquarters.

The measure is part of a larger cost savings plan outlined by Charming Shoppes, whose 2,425 stores trade under the names Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines.

Catherines will move its operations by the end of March 2008, which will result in annual savings of $8 million, the company said. About 117 local employees will be affected. Charming Shoppes Inc. spokesman Steve Wishner said employees will have an opportunity to choose between a severance package and a relocation package. All members of senior management have indicated their willingness to relocate, he said. Memphis-area stores will not be affected.

The move will result in a one-time, pre-tax expense of $4 million related to severance, retention and relocation costs. It will also mean $4.5 million in pre-tax charges related to write-downs of fixed assets in Memphis.

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