FAIRFIELD, OHIO Dillard's Inc., one of the nation's biggest department store operators, said Monday it would expand with the $2.9 billion purchase of competitor Mercantile Stores Co. Inc.
The deal will create a Midwest and South retailing powerhouse.
Mercantile operates 119 stores under a variety of names including McAlpin's, Bacons and Joslins in 17 states, mainly in the Midwest and South. Dillard's, based in Little Rock, Ark., operates 272 stores in 27 states, mainly in the Midwest and Sunbelt.
Dillard's plans to sell off about 25 Mercantile stores and put the Dillard's nameplate on all those it keeps.
The combined companies have nearly $10 billion in annual sales.