Special Report: Raiders on The Run: Debacle on 34th Street

How takeover debt helped kill off the venerable B. Altman chain

As shoppers streamed through the B. Altman department store in Manhattan last week, many of them looked wistfully at the lush elegance that surrounded them. The Renaissance-style emporium, completed in 1914 and situated across the street from the Empire State Building at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, boasts crystal chandeliers and parquet floors, lofty ceilings and broad aisles. B. Altman, with its 124-year-old reputation for quality and gentility, is going out of business. Six of Altman's seven stores, situated mostly in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, will be shuttered next month because its current owners were unable to attract any...

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