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ZCMI SAYS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR SALE

ZCMI said Tuesday that rumors the department store chain is for sale are unfounded.

"ZCMI is not, has not been and will not be for sale to any individual or other concern in the foreseeable future," the company said in a joint statement by its board of directors and executive officers.The statement said ZCMI, America's first department store, has been approached by several national retail companies during the past several years because of its "exceptional financial showings" during difficult times for retailers across the nation. The chain's location in the fast-growing Mountain West was also cited as a reason for outside interest in buying the company.

"Corporate management considers such outside interest healthy and complimentary," the company said, "but wishes to communicate ZCMI's desire to remain independently and locally owned." ZCMI is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The statement also said ZCMI will continue its policy of remaining closed on Sundays.

ZCMI, which was founded by Brigham Young, said the decision to remain independent was based on its current "strong financial record" and its "important historical significance" in the Mountain West.