A.C. Moore to shutter stores, as Michaels eyes space

BERLIN, N.J. – The parent company of the arts and crafts retailer A.C. Moore announced Monday, Nov. 25, that it is closing all of its stores, including two in Delaware, citing its struggles to compete.

Nicole Crafts has retained Gordon Brothers, a national advisory and investment firm, to wind down its retail operations, and appointed Matthew Pascucci, of national restructuring advisory firm Mackinac Partners, as chief restructuring officer.

In a statement announcing the closure, A.C. Moore CEO Anthony Piperno 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 national level.”

A.C. Moore’s parent company announced Nov. 25 that it would close all storefront locations, including this one near Wilmington. DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

A.C. Moore has two Delaware locations, one at 4433 Kirkwood Highway in the Kirkwood Plaza shopping center near Wilmington and one at 277 N. DuPont Highway in The Centre at Dover shopping center in Dover. It has about 145 locations nationwide, largely on the East Coast.

On Tuesday, Nov. 26, the Wilmington-area store was still open and busy with customers as it prepared for its Black Friday sales.

In conjunction with the brand’s closure, one of its biggest competitors, Michaels, will assume the leases for up to 40 store locations and an East Coast distribution facility. It will also buy A.C. Moore’s intellectual property.

In a statement, Michaels CEO Mark Cosby said, “This transaction enables us to further expand our presence in strategic markets and serve even more customers both online and in store. We are looking forward to reopening these stores under the Michaels name in 2020 and welcoming new team members.”

It is not yet known whether Michaels will take over either of the Delaware locations, and Piperno said that plans for individual locations will be announced in coming weeks on its website. Michaels already has five locations in Delaware, however, including Wilmington, Christiana, Middletown, Dover and Rehoboth Beach.

A.C. Moore has stopped taking online orders, but it will fulfill any order placed by Nov. 25, officials said.

The family-owned retailer opened its first location in Moorestown, New Jersey, in 1985 and today employs about 5,000 people. Like many retailers, it struggled in the e-commerce boom as competitors like Amazon offered cheap craft supplies shipped direct to consumers and Etsy offered handmade arts and crafts products made-to-order.

In July, Piperno succeeded his father, Pepe, as president and CEO. He had previously spearheaded A.C. Moore’s 2017 acquisition of online arts and crafts retailer Blitsy and investment in handcraft marketplace Zibbet, which now powers its Etsy-rivaling A.C. Moore Marketplace.

At that time, Piperno, who was then serving as chief marketing and merchandising officer, said that “A.C. Moore is entering a period of unprecedented growth.”

By Jacob Owens

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