FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 09, 2005

Ellen Qualls
www.governor.virginia.gov
(804) 786-2211, x2379


Bob Aronson
Stage Stores, Inc.
(713) 663-9746
Christie Collins
VEDP
(804) 371-4074
PEEBLES EXPANDS IN MECKLENBURG COUNTY
-Governor Warner announces facility expansion that will increase employment by 107 workers-


RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that Stage Stores, Inc. will invest $6.5 million to expand and upgrade its Peebles Department Stores headquarters building and distribution center, both of which are located in South Hill. The company’s investment in its Peebles distribution center will keep 244 jobs in South Hill and create 107 new jobs once the expansion is completed. Virginia successfully competed with Tennessee and Texas for the project.

“Peebles is a Virginia tradition with a reputation for excellent customer service and community involvement,” said Governor Warner. “This Virginia-born company continues to achieve success in the Commonwealth with the support of its dedicated Southside workforce.”

Peebles, which was acquired by Stage Stores in November 2003, opened its first store more than 100 years ago in Virginia. Through the acquisition of several small department store companies over the years, and with expansion into new markets, the Peebles name is now on 149 stores, 33 of which are located in Virginia.

Jim Scarborough, Chairman, President and CEO of Stage Stores, Inc., said, “We greatly appreciate the cooperation and assistance that we have received from both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the local governing bodies on this project. We are committed to keeping the Peebles operations in South Hill and we are looking forward to expanding our presence in this great town even further. Peebles has a long and successful operating history in Southside Virginia, and we believe their future is bright.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg County to prepare the state’s proposal and negotiate an incentive package that secured the project for Virginia. Governor Warner approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Mecklenburg County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $275,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds to support Mecklenburg County with the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training through its Workforce Services Program.

“We are very happy that the Peebles operations will remain in South Hill and will invest an additional $6.5 million plus, adding 107 new jobs, totaling 351 jobs,” said South Hill Mayor Earle Horne. “Peebles is a proven leader in their industry and they have played a huge part in our Town's growth. We are very blessed to have them in South Hill and in our Commonwealth.”

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