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The Associated Press March 16, 2010, 1:58PM ET

Moody's lifts Saks outlook to stable

Moody's Investors Service lifted its outlook for Saks Inc. on Tuesday, saying the luxury retailer is likely to fatten operating income over the next two quarters.

Moody's boosted Saks' rating to stable from negative and also upgraded its senior unsecured notes one notch in junk status to "B3" from "Caa1" on the repayment of a revolving credit agreement.

All other ratings were maintained, including the "B2," or junk, corporate family rating and the "B3," or junk, probability of default rating.

Earlier this month, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported that shoppers returned in surprising numbers during February.

Shoppers largely ignored snowstorms and ongoing fears about the economy and headed back through the doors of luxury retail stores.

Luxury chains like Saks have helped that process along. The company is putting more emphasis on lower prices and concentrating on its discount Off Fifth chain.

Shares of Saks added 10 cents to $8.52 in afternoon trading. The stock reached a 52-week high of $8.55 earlier in the session.

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