Stage Stores, Inc. is a specialty department store retailer offering brand name and private label apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear for the entire family. As of February 1, 2003, the Company operated 354 stores under the Stage, Bealls and Palais Royal trade names in 13 south central states. With an average size store of approximately 17,000 selling square feet, the Company's principal focus is on consumers in small and mid-size markets. The Company offers a selection of moderately priced, branded merchandise within distinct merchandise categories such as women's, men's and children's apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear. The merchandise selection ranges from basics, which covers such things as denim, underwear and foundations, to more upscale, fashionable offerings. Merchandise mix may also vary from store to store to accommodate differing demographic factors.