BERLIN —A.C. Moore craft stores is closing all of its locations, including 18 in New Jersey.

But the chain's parent company said 40 locations will reopen as Michael’s stores.

The chain joins a long list of retailers that closed large numbers of location in 2019 including Sears and Kmart, Victoria's Secret, the Gap, Payless Shoes, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier 1, Gymboree and JC Penney.

A.C. Moore opened its first store in Moorestown in 1985 and expanded in the eastern United States with 145 stores from Maine to Florida, selling items from beads to frames and yarn to scrapbooking supplies. The chain's headquarters and distribution center are in Berlin with a second New Jersey distribution center in Moorestown.

"For over 30 years, our stores have been servicing the creative community with a vast selection of art and craft materials, with one common focus, the customer. Unfortunately, given the headwinds facing many retailers in today's environment, it made it very difficult for us to operate and compete on a national level," CEO Anthony Piperno said in a statement of the decision by Nicole Crafts.

The company has already stopped taking online orders. A timetable to shut down stores is yet to be announced and Piperno said stores would operate as normal for the foreseeable future.

Crafting rival Michael's will take over the leases on up to 40 stores, one of its distribution centers and some of A.C. Moore's intellectual property. Some of A.C. Moore's 5,000 employees could land jobs with Michael's, according to Piperno.

The chain has not filed a Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification (WARN) notice with the state about layoffs, according to the state Dept. of Labor website.  The notice is required to give at least 60 days notice of a mass layoff for employers with 100 or or more employees.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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