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Dayton-Hudson Plans to Sell B. Dalton Book Chain

Associated Press

Retailing giant Dayton-Hudson Corp. announced plans today to sell its B. Dalton Bookseller division, the nation’s largest bookstore chain.

B. Dalton continues to be a profitable, growing specialty store company, said Boake A. Sells, Dayton-Hudson president.

The announcement by the nation’s No. 4 retailer did not specify a sale price or any possible buyers.

B. Dalton is the largest bookseller by revenues in the nation. Its headquarters and 24 of its 777 stores are in the Minneapolis area, where the company employs about 1,100 people. B. Dalton employs about 8,000 people nationwide.

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Started by Dayton-Hudson in 1966, B. Dalton has been plagued by limited growth potential and eroding profit margins for the last three years. Dayton’s, with its Target and Mervyn’s department stores, is a fashion-driven general merchandise retailer. Analysts said B. Dalton does not fit that mold.

The Minneapolis Star and Tribune said Sears, Roebuck & Co., the nation’s largest retailer, might be a prospective buyer.

B. Dalton had an estimated operating profit of $21 million to $27 million on revenues of $538.1 million in 1985. That means the company generated less than 4% of Dayton-Hudson’s total operating profit of $681.6 million and about 6% of Dayton-Hudson’s sales of $8.8 billion.

Dayton-Hudson’s 1985 revenues were $8.79 billion. It operates 1,226 stores nationally.

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