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ORLANDO-Scotty’s Inc., a 77-year-old, privately-held home improvement merchant, is going back to basics and phasing out its 18 months-old soft goods Bargain Outlet division.

The Winter Haven, FL-based retailer is giving the estimated 25,000 sf of space in each store back to the company’s core hardware business. Hardware and Bargain Outlet shared space in the same building locations. Winter Haven is 50 miles southwest of Downtown Orlando.

Scotty’s officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline. But area retailers following the Bargain Outlet’s performance tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity poor sales and a low traffic count caused Scotty’s to fold the new division.

Scotty’s hasn’t announced a timetable for closing all the Bargain Outlets and also hasn’t disclosed how many of its 85 active stores in Florida and Georgia share space with the soft goods division.

In Orlando, the company is shuttering Bargain Outlets on North Orange Blossom Trail and South Semoran Boulevard, and a South Florida location in Stuart, FL.

The company doesn’t disclose financials but trade publications estimate Scotty’s 1999 gross revenue at $500 million. Scotty’s at one time had 2,500 employees in 150 stores in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Annual revenue generated per employee was projected at $200,000, according to the trade press.

Scotty’s has been fighting hard for market share over the last eight years, competing against Lowe’s and Home Depot. Thomas E. Morris, Scotty’s chairman/CEO, and a management team bought the company from GIB Group in 1998 for an undisclosed amount.

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