updated 9/7/2005 2:26:35 PM ET 2005-09-07T18:26:35

The Mervyns department store chain plans to close nearly a quarter of its stores nationwide and lay off 4,800 employees as its new owners attempt to improve the retailer's profitability.

The Hayward, Calif.-based company said Wednesday it will close 62 stores in eight states. All Mervyns stores in Michigan and Oklahoma, and some in Colorado, Louisiana and Texas, will close by February 2006.

The company also will close three stores in California, Oregon and Utah, and two distribution centers in Texas and Utah.

The stores were money-losers and comprised just 17 percent of total sales, Mervyns said in a statement.

About 1,200 full-time employees and 3,600 part-time workers will be laid off, the company said.

Mervyns LLC was sold last year by Target Corp. to a private investment consortium in a deal worth $1.65 billion.

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