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TJX to close A.J. Wright banner, cut 4,400 jobs

BY CSA STAFF

Framingham, Mass. — TJX Cos. said Friday it will close its A.J. Wright discount stores by mid-February, cutting 4,400 jobs. The move comes as the company’s T.J. Maxx and Marshalls chains have become better at attracting the lower-income customers that A.J. Wright targeted.

Ninety-one A.J. Wright stores will be converted into T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores, and 71 stores and two DC’s will close entirely. About 3,400 employees will keep their jobs and another 4,400 – half part-time and half full-time – will be cut.

TJX said the move allows the company to focus on its more profitable businesses.

"Over the past two years, we’ve learned how to better serve the A.J. Wright customer demographic with T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s," said CEO Carol Meyrowitz.

All 162 A.J. Wright stores will close by mid-February. The 91 will reopen under a different name after eight weeks.

TJX operates 924 T.J. Maxx stores, 832 Marshalls and 36 HomeGoods in addition to the 162 A.J. Wright stores. It will cost $150 million to $170 million to close the stores, and $12 million to $15 million for the store conversions.

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Survey: Holiday credit-card use drops to new low

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A survey released Friday by America’s Research Group found that after the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, just 17% of shoppers were paying with credit, representing about half of last year’s level and the lowest rate in the 27 years that the firm has conducted the survey.

“The consumer really feels a lot of pressure from previous debts, and they just aren’t going to dig themselves into that kind of hole,” said Britt Beemer, CEO, of America’s Research Group.

Click here to read more.

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Duckwall-Alco loss widens in Q3

BY CSA STAFF

Abilene, Kan. — Duckwall-Alco Stores reported Friday that its loss for the quarter ended Oct. 31 widened from $1.4 million to $2 million.

The small-town retailer also reported that revenue dropped 0.6% to $110.5 million. Same-store sales decreased 2.3%, which was an improvement over the second-quarter same-store sales drop of 7.2%.

The company has been in the throes of a turnaround plan that includes the shuttering of the Duckwall-branded stores; a remerchandising and reset of all 214 Alco stores to expand key trip-driving departments, such as food, paper and cleaning products; updated graphic signage; improved value proposition in the consumables businesses; and new space management tools designed to improve shelf productivity.

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