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Boscov: "Chain Needs Miracle"

Al Boscov admits his bid to regain control of the department store chain named after his family is the final hope for the bankrupt retailer's survival.

“We have to sort of pull off a little bit of a miracle,” Mr. Boscov said Wednesday. “If I can't raise all the money, the only thing you would have is liquidation.”

His comments came a day after the current operators of Boscov's Inc. terminated a deal to sell the chain to a Philadelphia private equity firm and signed a purchase agreement with a family group headed by Mr. Boscov and his brother-in-law, Ed Lakin.

The two men, former co-owners of the chain, need some $240 million in financing to assume control and operate the chain, and they are about $35 million short, Mr. Boscov said. The group is struggling to secure funds quickly in a severe credit environment, which apparently knocked their rival out of the competition.

“Banks aren't lending right now, especially for retail. The market is frozen,” Holly Guthrie, a retail analyst at Boenning & Scattergood Inc., a Philadelphia-area investment firm, said.

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