Slogan: Bargains by the bagful!
Ames was one of my favorite regional retailer. With giants like Walmart, Target and Kmart, Ames stood in 4th position for a while. They acquired chain after chains to expand and get to that position. Of course, the Zayre acquisition has always been seen as one too many that almost killed the company. They came through Chapter 11and learned many lessons during that difficult period. Back then, Zayre was too big for the kind of chain Ames was. When the company emerged, Ames began a profitable journey that unfortunately ended in 2002.
From 1996 to 2000, Ames opened new stores, they acquired the 155-store Hills chain, they bought some former Caldor and Goldblatt's locations. Ames expanded to the mid-west and continued it's growth. They enjoyed a good period, but the Hills acquisition created a lot of debt and that, combined with a bad economy caused another "Zayre storm" for Ames.
They had to re-organize again under chapter 11 and had to close almost 130 stores (mostly former Hills). Other rounds of closings came, and in August 2002, the company had tu pull the plug on Amazing Ames and it’s long history.
The original Ames concept was «To bring discounts to the underserved rural areas» and they have done that very well. Ames began in 1958 when two Connecticut brothers, Milton and Irving Gilman, opened their first store in the Ames Worsted Textile Co. mill in Southbridge, Mass. In its first year of operations, the store generated $1 million in sales, encouraging a third Gilman brother, Herbert, to join the Company in 1959. The Company began opening stores in upstate New York and northern Vermont as it followed a business strategy of bringing discount stores to under-served smaller towns and rural areas in the Northeast. In 1962, the Company went public as Ames Department Stores, Inc., and by 1970, there were 23 Ames stores in operation, with $50 million in annual sales.
In March 1999, Ames closed 8 stores in markets where its Ames stores and its newly acquired Hills units overlapped. In November 2000, Ames closed 32 stores, 31 of wich were acquired from Hills. In August 2001, Ames closed another 47 stores and filled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Ames closed 16 stores and a distribution center in November that year. In December 2001, Ames closed an additional 54 stores leaving the chain with 333 stores. Ames closed 6 stores in June 2002. Ames announced on August 14 2002 it would go out of business closing it's last 327 stores after 44 years of operation.
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