Retail group Saks Inc has turned down a buyout offer from The Bon-Ton Stores Inc for its Northern department store group as the $1 billion offer was too low, media reports say.

Saks will now attempt to sell off the Carson Pirie Scott, Younkers, Herbergers, Bergners and Boston Stores units separately, sources close to the discussions were reported as saying.

The regional chains, which comprise a total of 143 stores, contributed to about a third of Saks' sales last year.