Department store retailer Stage Stores Inc is launching a new off-price concept called Steele's for small town America.

Houston-based Stage Stores plans to open three stores under the new banner on 1 November in
Beeville, Texas and in Bastrop and Minden in Louisiana. It is aiming for another 25 to 35 new Steele's stores in 2012.

"We are very excited to be adding an off-price concept to our retail mix," said president and CEO Andy Hall. "Steele's is a perfect complement to our successful small town department store business model and expands our small town customer reach.

"Last year, we began developing our off-price concept with the goal to leverage our small market expertise with a complementary format to our department store model.

"Our research indicates that there is significant growth potential in the under-served small market off-price niche. We believe the Steele's customer will not overlap with those in our department store model as Steele's is targeting a lower household income consumer."

The new concept will offer brand name family apparel, accessories, shoes and home décor at 30% to 60% off department store prices. It is headquartered in New York City, and operates as a stand-alone buying division that is being led by Lisa Seigies, Steele's chief merchandising officer.

Stage Stores also operates 805 stores under the Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage names.