Department store chain Saks Inc is to shut two of its Parisian chain stores in Birmingham, Alabama.

Saks said it will close its Eastwood Mall store at the end of January 2005 and its Western Hills store in mid-March.

The 210 employees affected by the decision will either be transferred to other stores or will be given severance packages.

George Jones, president and chief executive officer of Saks Department Store Group said: "The planned closing of the Eastwood and Western Hills locations is consistent with our strategy of rationalising our real estate portfolio to focus our resources on our most productive units."

Saks announced in October that it is to shut nine of its Saks Fifth Avenue stores and three Off 5th locations.

Saks Incorporated operates its Saks Department Store Group with 241 department stores under the names  Parisian, Proffitt's, McRae's, Younkers, Herberger's, Carson Pirie Scott, Bergner's, and Boston Store and 31 Club Libby Lu specialty stores.

The company also operates Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises  which currently consists of 64 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 54 Off 5th stores, and