Department-store operator Dillard's Inc. has agreed to sell 26 stores owned by Mercantile Stores Co. in separate transactions to Proffitt's Inc. and the May Department Stores Co.

Dillard's stores in Utah are not affected by the deal. Terms were not disclosed.The sales will take effect upon closing of Dillard's $2.9 billion acquisition of Mercantile, expected this month. Dillard's, a chain of traditional department stores based in Little Rock Ark., had said it planned to convert most of Mercantile's 103 department stores to Dillard's, after announcing the acquisition in May, though it planned to sell about 25 stores.

The stores to be sold are in markets in which Dillard's has a strong presence.

Under one transaction expected to close by Sept. 4, Dillard's will sell 11 stores to May, based in St. Louis. The sale includes six Jones Stores in the Kansas City area and one in Topeka, Kan.; two Joslins stores in Colorado, one Bacons store in Owensboro, Ky., and one Root's store in Terre Haute, Ind.

In the other deal, expected to close in late September, Dillard's will sell 15 stores to Proffitt's, including three stores in Orlando, Fla.; two stores in Baton Rouge, La.; five stores in Nashville; and one store each in Lafayette, La.; Hattiesburg Miss.; Spartanburg, S.C.; Duluth, Minn.; and Fargo, N.D.