Duckwall-Alco Company to close stores across the state including in Stafford.


Duckwall-Alco Company to close stores across the state including in Stafford/nr/Zook 11/29/2010

ABILENE - A new strategic plan in its business platform is resulting in Duckwall-Alco to close a number its smaller Duckwall stores, including the one in Stafford.

The company announced the closing of 44 Duckwall stores including more than a dozen in small communities across Kansas. The company says its also pushing to expanded products and services to the Alco stores and is changing the company name to Alco Stores Incorporated. The closing will affect more than 260 full time employees.

Plans are to close the store in Stafford by the end of January.

Rich Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “After careful analysis, we have concluded that the small, limited-selection Duckwall stores no longer meet the needs of most shoppers. These stores account for only 3.9% of sales and little or no profit. Duckwall locations, averaging just 6,755 square feet, consume a disproportionate share of resources in distribution, back-office support, inventory investment and other costs. Plus, the necessary technology upgrades to bring these stores into the corporate IT infrastructure would be costprohibitive. These factors led us to conclude that the best course of action is to close the Duckwall stores. We expect that redeploying the resources used in the Duckwall stores to our more productive ALCO stores will improve the Company’s earnings.”

Among the 400 new items in ALCO stores are high-quality, lower-cost “Best Choice” and Always Save” grocery and paper products. These private-label brands are provided through a new partnership with Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG), which allows ALCO stores to reduce inventory, improve turnover and lower expenses at its distribution facility in Abilene. “Our relationship with AWG will allow us to grow profitability in the coming months,” Wilson noted.

Wilson added that consumers have responded positively to the many changes, improving the recent sales trends in ALCO stores and the productivity of space and inventory.

Conversely, sales at Duckwall stores have been declining in recent years.

Duckwall/Alco operates 214 Alco stores in 23 states. They have an Alco store in South Hutchinson.