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Ames to Close 15 Stores in February

December 28, 1989

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (AP) _ Ames Department Stores Inc., still adjusting to its purchase last year of hundreds of Zayre stores, announced Thursday that it will close 15 stores in Feburary.

The retailer said most of the stores are former Zayre stores and 14 of them are in areas where Ames stores will continue to operate. The chain announced the closing of three other stores on Christmas Eve.

″After we acquired the Zayre stores in October 1988, we closed 74 underperforming stores,″ Peter B. Hollis, Ames president and chief excecutive officer said Thursday.

″We also identified additional Ames and Zayre stores with overlapping trade areas,″ Hollis said. ″After reviewing recent sales results, which reflect a fragmentation of the market, we have decided to close these 15 stores and focus our efforts on the remaining stores in these areas.

″We have no current plans for future closings, and hope to be able to offer positions in nearby Ames stores to many of the affected stores associates,″ Hollis said.

Bill Roberts, a spokesman for Ames, said sales at the 15 stores were not strong, but he said the chain was also concerned about the prospect for future sales.

″When you have two stores in that proximity, you’re essentially competing with yourself,″ he said.

Ames, one of the nation’s biggest discount retailers, operates 629 Ames stores and 61 Zayre stores in 20 states.

The stores to be closed Feb. 3 are in Norwich, Conn.; Panama City, Fla.; Brunswick, Maine; Rockland, Maine; Ellsworth, Maine; Presque Isle, Maine; Plaistow, N.H.; and Somersworth, N.H.

Also to be closed are stores in Lockport, N.Y.; Brockport, N.Y.; Plattsburg, N.Y.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Cleona, Pa.; Woodbridge, Va.; and Barre, Vt.

The retailer announced Dec. 24 that it was closing stores in Seabrook, N.H., Muncie, Ind., and West Bridgewater, Mass.

Ames, based in Rocky Hill, Conn., bought Zayre Corp.’s discount division for $778 million in October 1988. The acquisition included more than 300 stores and the names on 254 of them were changed to Ames this past October.

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