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Kmart to Sell 18 Stores to Home Depot

TROY, Mich. (AP) _ Kmart Holding Corp. said Monday that under a final agreement with Home Depot Inc. it will sell 18 stores to the home-improvement retailer for $271 million.

Initially, Kmart said it would sell up to 24 stores to Home Depot. Earlier this month, it revised that to a minimum of 13 locations and a maximum of 19.

``The stores we are retaining from the originally announced transaction have been operating profitably and better than plan for this year,'' chief executive Julian Day said. ``We look forward to providing continued service to our customers at these locations.''

Kmart said it expects to have received $259 million by the end of the third quarter in October and the remainder by the end of the fourth quarter. The company already received $54.6 million from the transaction last quarter.

Approximately 1,600 people are employed at the Kmart stores being sold. About 230 people, or 41 percent of the full-time and management workers affected by the deal, will be offered jobs at other Kmart locations, the company said.

Three of the stores _ in Hanover, Pa.; New Milford, Conn.; and Champaign, Ill. _ will close late this month. Stores in Broomall, Pa.; Tempe, Ariz.; Levittown, N.Y.; Huntington Beach, Orange, Seaside and Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and Coconut Grove and Jacksonville Beach, Fla. will close in mid-October, Kmart spokesman Stephen Pagnani said.

A store in Houston that already is vacant also is part of the deal.

The company was waiting until it had notified workers at the remaining five stores before identifying them.

Home Depot spokesman Jerry Shields said the company would employ up to 200 people per store. Kmart currently employs 90 to 100 people at each of the open stores, Pagnani said.

In June, Kmart announced plans to sell up to 54 of its stores to Sears, Roebuck and Co. for up to $621 million. Sears says it plans to hire many of the employees at the stores it acquires.
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