A.C. Moore, which operates 139 stores from Maine to Florida, didnot reveal where the targeted units are located. A statement fromthe company said only that they are located in "certain marketswhere [they] cannot achieve operating efficiencies." The companyhad closed a total of just three stores over the past twoyears.

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"Store closings are extremely difficult decisions because of theeffect on our organization, our associates and our customers," saysRick Lepley, A.C. Moore's CEO, in a prepared statement. "However,we believe that these changes are necessary for the long-termprosperity of our company.

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"Improving our overall level of execution at the store andcorporate level, installing state-of-the-art systems and optimizingour 'Nevada Class' store prototype are paramount at this time,"Lepley says. "In addition to our real estate strategy, we areconfident that continuing these initiatives will provide a solidfoundation for future store count growth."

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As far as new store openings for 2008, company officials alsorevealed yesterday that the number would be fewer than originallyanticipated. Earlier this year, the intention had been to open 14new stores this year, but that number has been reduced to "betweeneight and 12," according to a company statement.

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Related to the closings, company officials say they expectpre-tax expenses to be between $7 million to $9 million, with about$4 million to $5 million of that related to lease liabilities andthe rest tied to general liquidation costs, fixture relocation,severance and non-cash fixed asset impairment. The company is alsocontinuing to analyze long-lived store assets under FinancialAccounting Standards No. 144 to determine whether the carryingvalue of assets may not be recoverable.

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In an unrelated matter, company officials indicated yesterdaythat they were rethinking their warehouse and distributionexpansion plans. "The company is…currently working with state andlocal authorities regarding a proposed expansion ofthe…distribution center facility located in Berlin, New Jersey,"reads a statement. "If the proposed expansion is finalized, thecompany intends to forego, in the near term, construction of asecond distribution center." Company officials declined furthercomment.

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