AC Moore Closing Stores In Florida

AC Moore announced Monday that after conducting a several months long review of its real estate portfolio that it was going to close between seven and ten store locations in 2008, and scale back the number of new store openings.

Company executives didn’t waste any time implementing that plan. Employees of my local AC Moore store in Daytona Beach – open only about a year or so – were told when they arrived at work on Tuesday that the store would be closing. A consolidation crew arrived yesterday to mark down merchandise, and the store closing sale started that same day. Everything in the store is currently 25-50% off, with all sales final (no returns allowed). The planned last day for the store to be open is July 6th, if inventory holds out that long. The store was thronged today with bargain hunters scooping up supplies on sale.

According to my brief chat with the register clerk, the staff were told that AC Moore is either closing or bailing out of opening 10 stores, leaving only two in the state of Florida (one in Orlando and another one). If that is true, it means that the vast majority of the planned losses for AC Moore will be in Florida – a market that it only entered very recently.

And there’s more: The clerk said the staff was also told that the building has also been re-leased already – for a Joann’s store. Joann’s has one of their smaller style stores only a few miles away. It is possible that store will be relocating, if the information is true. The AC Moore building definitely isn’t large enough for a Joann’s superstore.

It is certainly interesting that, assuming the information is true, Joann’s would think they could make the building profitable for them when AC Moore couldn’t. Joann’s did increase their forecast of new store openings in their May 28th financial report up to 20-23 new stores for the fiscal year from the previous forecast of 12-15. They also increased the number of planned store closures to 30 from a previous forecast of 25. These moves are part of Joanns’ attempt to capitalize on current real estate conditions. Perhaps plans for this Daytona are part of that?

I will be following up on this story with both AC Moore’s and Joanns’ public relations staff on Monday, and will report anything new I learn for Scrapbook Update’s readers.

It is a unfortunate sign of times for the economy that this store could not survive. It was in a vibrant shopping area. It did have competition from a Michael’s that was very close by, but there was nothing else in the area except the small Joann’s in a run-down shopping area about 10 miles away. There seemed no reason that the market wasn’t big enough for both the Michael’s and the AC Moore, and personally, once the AC Moore opened I rarely set foot in the Michael’s. The scrapbook section at the AC Moore was simply much better.

Florida in general is having a really rough time economically. We are worse off than the national average as far as jobs lost and other economic indicators. Hopefully these closings are just a symptom of that and nothing more.

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