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ALCO to close by Jan. 26 in Paulding PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, October 17, 2013 5:10 PM

By MELINDA KRICK • Progress Editor

PAULDING – It’s going to be harder to shop locally for those living in Paulding and Paulding County. ALCO Stores Inc. has announced at noon Thursday that it soon will close its store in Paulding.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 21, the store will mark down prices on many items prior to its closing date, which is anticipated by Jan. 26, 2014.

The store is located at 1035 N. Williams St. in the Paulding Place shopping plaza.

In making the announcement, Ricardo Clemente, sr. vice president for store operations, said, “The decision to close the store in Paulding was a difficult one. We have valued the opportunity to be a part of this community, but unfortunately the store’s performance does not meet our financial requirements. The economy has clearly had an impact on store sales, and we’ve made the very difficult decision to close.”

The discount retailer offers a variety of merchandise, including brand-name electronics, clothing, health and beauty products, small appliances, sporting goods, craft supplies, toys and more.

ALCO Stores operates 213 stores in 23 states. The closest store to Paulding, which was located in Delphos, closed earlier this year. Currently, the Paulding and New Bremen stores are the only ones remaining in Ohio.

The Paulding store manager declined to comment and directed any questions to corporate headquarters.

Clemente said employees of the Paulding store will have the opportunity to be considered for positions at other ALCO stores. ALCO did not disclose the number of full-time and part-time employees presently working there.

Clemente added, “This is never an easy decision to make, and we know it will have an impact on the Paulding community. We wish to express our thanks to the many friends that we have served over the past several years and also thank the employees who have served our company faithfully during that time.”

The Devonshire REIT in Whitehouse, near Toledo, owns and manages the property. When contacted, a spokesman said they were notified on Thursday of ALCO’s plans to close.

The company’s data sheet about the plaza indicates that ALCO occupies 22,306 square feet.

"They had to let us know by the end of October whether they would renew their lease," said property manager Diane Rowe. Devonshire REIT hope to attract new tenants for ALCO's space, plus the vacant facilities formerly occupied by Rite Aid and a laundromat. ALCO's departure "really leaves that center half-dark," Rowe added. Anyone interested in leasing information should contact leasing manager Eric Hutchins at 567-246-5335 or 419-283-1237.

The store’s closure will be a blow to the community’s retail sector, in addition to leaving numerous people without jobs. It’s the only general merchandise department-type store in the county, except for Dollar General stores in Paulding and Payne and one opening soon in Antwerp.

ALCO’s operating results for the first half of fiscal 2014, issued on Sept. 17, states net sales from continuing operations increased 3.9 percent from the same period last year, and same-store sales increased 1.4 percent.

ALCO Store Inc.’s. annual report released on April 23, 2013, showed that during fiscal year 2014, the company expected to open no less than five stores and was in process of closing four stores. During fiscal year 2013, the company opened five additional stores and closed four stores, resulting in a year-end total of 217 stores. The company’s strategy for store development is to increase sales and profitability at existing stores by refining the merchandising mix and improving operating efficiencies.

In fiscal year 2013, the company saw these operating results; sales increased to $496 million or 3.5%; same-store sales decreased 1.0%; net earnings were $1.7 million or $0.48 per share, compared to last year’s adjusted earnings of $0.21 per share; and adjusted SG&A expense was 27.2% of sales, a slight improvement over last year’s 27.4%.

ALCO Stores Inc., formerly known as Duckwall-ALCO, purchased the 14 discount stores owned Val Corp. of New Castle, Ind., in early 1997, including the Val store in Paulding.