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HOWLAND D.I.Y. to close remaining 6 stores



Published: Tue, June 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Competition led to the end of Boardman's store in 1999; the rest of the stores will follow.

By DENISE DICK and DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITERS

HOWLAND -- D.I.Y. Home Warehouse will close its remaining six stores, including one on Elm Road.

The company, based in suburban Cleveland, said this morning that inventory closeout sales at all stores are scheduled to begin later this week and be completed by the end of August.

A woman at the Elm Road store said store officials have no comment, and company officials said there was no further information available beyond the news release.

They couldn't say how many people work at the Elm Road store or when it will officially close its doors.

The company's Boardman store closed in summer 1999.

Reason why: The company pointed to competition as contributing to the closings. Lowe's and Home Depot both operate stores near the Elm Road D.I.Y.

A review of projections indicated D.I.Y. would not be able to "operate profitably on a long-term basis given the continued competitive pressures from national warehouse retailers in its markets," the company said.

The company also plans to sell the store properties. Other closing stores are in Cleveland, Eastlake, Elyria, Akron and Ashtabula.

Financial prediction: Company officials think proceeds from the sale of merchandise will exceed outstanding obligations.

The company sold do-it-yourself home products.

D.I.Y. has been struggling financially for the past few years because of the spread of Home Depot and Lowe's into Ohio.

Its stock was trading at about $4 a share in 1996 but slid to under $1 a share in 1998. It recently has been trading at about 50 cents.

In April, it said it was closing stores in Brook Park, Medina and Mentor, leaving it with six stores. It had 12 stores in early 1999.

Last month, the company said it lost $2 million in the first quarter.

It also reported first quarter sales of about $11 million, which was 35 percent lower than the first quarter of last year. The company blamed the decrease on a reduction in the number of stores and competition from the national chains.

Discounting stores that had been closed, sales still decreased about 26 percent.

Competition: D.I.Y. said Lowe's entered its market in 1994 and Home Depot in 1997. Both have built stores in DIY's market each year and have plans for more stores this year.

Besides the additional stores, these companies were drawing away customers with price reductions and marketing campaigns, D.I.Y. said.




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