Stage to purchase Moore's
Published 10:39 pm Thursday, March 2, 2006
By By Adam Prestridge
In the midst of moving its Atmore store across the street in the old K-Mart building, B.C. Moore &Sons, Inc. entered into a "definitive agreement" with Stage Stores, Inc. to sell its properties in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Stage Stores, Inc. will purchase the privately owned retail outlet for approximately $37 million, a transaction, which has been approved by the Board of Directors of Stage, and B.C. Moore, according to stagestores.com.
"We are extremely enthusiastic about this transaction due to its significant strategic benefits," Stage Stores, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Jim Scarborough said in a prepared statement. "It expands and strengthens our position in the Southeast, and it provides us with good real estate locations in many of our targeted markets in these states. It also eliminates a potential competitor, and it is consistent with our corporate strategy of increasing the concentration of our store base into smaller and more profitable markets."
The transaction is expected to be complete within the next month and is subject to customary closing conditions.
Work on a new Atmore Moore's location on Lindberg Avenue began in November 2005, which was recently completed. The grand re-opening of the retail store's new location, which has about 4,000 additional square feet of sales floor, will be held at 8:45 a.m. on March 2.
In purchasing B.C. Moore, Stage Stores, Inc. will acquire 78 retail locations, located in small markets including the Atmore and Brewton stores. The company's integration plan calls for 69 of the acquired locations to be converted into Peebles stores, and closing the remaining nine locations.
"The acquired locations represent an exceptional geographic fit with our existing store base with only a two-store overlap," Scarborough said. "Additionally, the locations meet our size and market demographics criteria, since the typical B.C. Moore store is located in a market area of less than 50,000 people, is strip shopping center based, and has an average of approximately 14,300 selling square feet. We expect to realize operating synergies as these stores are converted to Peebles stores, incorporated into our existing distribution system and managed from our South Hill, Virginia administrative offices."
According to a release issued by Stage Stores, all merchandise inventories will be liquidated at all stores, and the continuing 69 stores will be remodeled, re-merchandised and reopened as Peebles stores. The grand openings of the newly converted Peebles stores will occur in phases beginning in July and continuing until October.
"The acquisition of B.C. Moore represents a logical next step for us following our successful integration of Peebles," Scarborough said. "It significantly enhances the strategic and geographic development of our business, improves our competitive position and presents us with a compelling opportunity for increased sales and earnings. Our small market expertise, coupled with the investments that we have made in our systems, distribution centers and infrastructure give us confidence in our ability to successfully convert, integrate and grow these 69 additional stores.
The sell of B.C. Moore will also put an end to the retail store's remarkable history, which began in 1923 when Beauregard Crawford Moore opened up his first single "dry good" store, known today as Moore's, in the small farming community of Wadesboro, N.C. Moore's is now one of the largest privately owned department stores in the southeast.
With the assistance of his four sons and nephew, 19 locations were serving the two Carolinas by 1933. At the company's incorporation in 1946, 29 stores were in operation. Now more than 80 locations serve southern hometowns.
The new Atmore store location is scheduled to open in March of 2006.
According to stagestores.com, in order to allow it to remain focused on its core business and operations, the company expects to engage a third party to manage the acquired stores through the completion of the inventory liquidation sales process. Stage Stores, Inc. officials noted that it is not acquiring B.C. Moore's corporate office, two distribution centers or any other real estate. However, these facilities will be available for the company to use during the transition period.
Following the close of the sale, Stage Store, Inc. would have acquired nine stores in both Alabama and North Carolina for a total of 19 and 24 stores respectively, 26 stores in Georgia for a total of 28 and 25 stores in South Carolina for a total of 28.
When all the acquired stores are converted, officials believe Stage will contribute about $95 to $100 million in fiscal 2007, which would be its first full fiscal year of operation.