FINANCE

A.C. Moore to Shutter Seven to 10 Stores

BY CSA STAFF

Berlin, N.J. Arts and crafts retailer A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Inc. said Monday it will close between seven and 10 locations in 2008.

The company said the decision to close the stores was based on the results of a real estate portfolio review. During that review, A.C. Moore said it identified underperforming locations to determine which stores “are no longer strategically or economically viable.”

The company said it expects to report expenses between $7 million and $9 million in 2008 related to the impairment analysis and store closures.

A.C. Moore added it will also open between eight and 12 stores in 2008. Previously, the company had said it expected to open 14 stores during the year.

The company said it will consider moving some existing stores “to take advantage of the current real estate environment.”

A.C. Moore said it is also working with state and local authorities to expand its distribution center in Berlin, N.J. If it goes ahead with the expansion, the company said it will not build a second distribution center.

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Ceo: Wal-Mart needed more in tough economy

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Speaking at Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders meeting, president and ceo Lee Scott said that Wal-Mart would become increasingly more important to its consumers as economic conditions make it tougher to make ends meet.

Citing rising gas prices, food inflation and higher health care costs, Scott said that the challenge to provide for one’s family has become increasingly more difficult.

“During difficult times in the past, Wal-Mart has been there for our customers and our members, said Scott. “But I think we are there for them now more than ever before.”

Scott highlighted examples of how the company was helping people save money, including its CFL light bulbs, which he said will save consumers nearly $6 billion over the life of the product, and its $4 prescription program, saving customers more than $1.1 billion.

With the presidential election looming, some may have expected Scott to give his insight into which candidate would be best, however, the ceo said that Wal-Mart was ready to work with whoever becomes the new President and the next Congress.

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Ahold reports U.S. sales growth

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM Ahold reported that first quarter sales at Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover were $5.1 billion, up 1.3% compared with the same period last year. Identical sales were up 1.2% at Stop & Shop (0.2% excluding gasoline net sales) and down 1.5% at Giant-Landover (1.6% excluding gasoline net sales), impacted by lower pharmacy sales.

For the first quarter, net sales at Giant-Carlisle were up 9.2% to $1.4 billion compared with the same period last year. Identical sales were up 5.7% (3.7% excluding gasoline net sales).

Ahold ceo John Rishton said, “In the United States, the roll-out of our Value Improvement Program at Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover remains on track. The price investments related to the roll-out continue to impact margins and sales, with improvements expected later in the year. Giant-Carlisle reported solid sales and margin growth and continues to gain share in a very competitive market. We continue to respond to the turbulent economic environment and its impact on consumer and competitor behavior. We are confident that the actions we are taking to bring value to our customers are the right ones.

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