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UPDATE 1-GPA says sale of Via Varejo stake is only option on table

(Recasts with GPA statement)

SAO PAULO Nov 28 Brazilian retailer GPA SA insisted on Monday that a sale of its controlling stake in Via Varejo SA is its only strategic option, disputing comments by a Via Varejo executive who said other alternatives are available.

Earlier on Monday, Via Varejo's head of investor relations, Alexandre Gonçalves, told investors at a briefing that GPA viewed the stake sale as its best option, but that GPA had alternatives if the deal fell through. He declined to elaborate.

GPA said in a statement to Reuters that management was authorized to sell its Via Varejo stake in order to focus on its food business, as stated in a Nov. 23 securities filing.

"Other options were ruled out," GPA said on Monday.

Last week, a Brazilian newspaper reported Chile's SACI Falabella SA, South Africa's Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd and Brazil's Lojas Americanas SA are among the retailers interested in Via Varejo. ($1 = 3.3998 reais) (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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