The owner of crafts retailer A.C. Moore, Nicole Crafts, on Monday said it is leaving the retail business, with plans to close most locations. The privately held retailer in a press release said that it stopped accepting online orders as of Monday, but would ship previously placed orders.
Rival Michaels "will assume leases for up to 40 store locations and a lease on an east coast distribution facility plus purchase intellectual property," according to the release. Those stores will reopen under the Michael's banner, the company said.
A.C. Moore runs more than 145 stores and has offices and distribution centers in Berlin, New Jersey (its headquarters); Chicago; Moorestown, New Jersey; and Ningbo, China. The company said it would provide more details on store closures in coming weeks.
Two years ago, the retailer invested heavily in e-commerce, acquiring online crafts supplies retailer Blitsy outright and forging an exclusive partnership with handcraft marketplace Zibbet. Growth plans included offline expansion as well: That year the retailer opened a massive 27,000-square-foot flagship in downtown Philadelphia, its first urban location, and said it would expand to more cities and into the West, from its mostly suburban, East Coast operations.
At the time, Anthony Piperno, who was then A.C. Moore chief marketing and merchandising officer, said the company was "entering a period of unprecedented growth."
That appears to have waned considerably. On Monday, Piperno, who took over from his father as CEO in August, said in a statement that business had grown too challenging. The company's exit from retail (after spending many more decades in the space as a wholesaler) comes during Thanksgiving week, just as most retailers are ramping up for Black Friday.
"For over 30 years, our stores have been servicing the creative community with a vast selection of art and craft materials, with one common focus, the customer," he said. "Unfortunately, given the headwinds facing many retailers in today's environment, it made it very difficult for us to operate and compete on a [n]ational level."