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Ames closing 47 stores
August 16, 2001: 10:30 a.m. ET

Regional discount chain will trim 2,000 jobs as it strives to cut costs
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Ames Department Stores is shuttering 47 under-performing stores, leaving as many as 2,000 employees without jobs, as the discount retail chain cuts costs in the face of a slowing economy.

The company's shares, which have been trading under $1, fell 7 cents to 71 cents early Thursday.

The company said the stores will be closed by the end of October and it will offer positions in other locations to as many affected employees as possible.

Ames (AMES: down $0.07 to $0.71, Research, Estimates) is the latest regional discount chain to succumb to competition and the slowing economy. The Rocky Hill, Conn.-based company's announcement comes less than a year after rival Bradlees declared bankruptcy and went out of business, and about two years after Caldor, another competitor, closed its doors.

"We've continued to see a softening economy in the last several months and don't anticipate much improvement in the short term. In keeping with our ongoing review of operations, these stores have now become candidates for closure," Ames CEO Joseph Ettore said, adding that the company plans to focus efforts on its 400 viable stores.

The expansion of big discount chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, Target Corp., Kohl's Inc. and Kmart Inc. into more local regional areas where value chains like Ames once dominated, has steadily chipped away at market share, analysts have said.

The softening economy also has put pressure on sales, the company said.

Ames, with annual sales of $4 billion, operates 452 stores including those it plans to close. graphic