A.J.Wright Stores Closing, 4,400 Jobs Cut

FRAMINGHAM (AP/CBS) — Framingham-based TJX Cos. says it is shuttering its A.J. Wright discount stores by mid-February, cutting 4,400 jobs and converting some stores to other brands such as T.J. Maxx.

Ninety-one stores will be converted into T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores, and 71 will close entirely, along with two distribution centers. About 3,400 staffers will remain employed at the converted stores.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports.

The move hits local employees hard. The A.J. Wright headquarters in Framingham will closed, as will a distribution center in Fall River and stores in Fitchburg, Malden, Medford, Methuen, New Bedford, Quincy, Somerville, Springfield (Lowe’s Plaza), Waltham, Worcester (Perkins Farms Plaza), and Nashua will be closing.

About 800 workers are employed in the Fall River distribution center. More than 1,000 people work for A.J. Wright state-wide.

“All associates will have the opportunity to be compensated through the holiday season, and about half of the positions will be retained through late January,” CEO Carol Meyrowitz said.

WBZ News Radio’s New England Business Editor Anthony Silva talks with Analyst Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics in Swampscott about the A.J. Wright chain closing.

All 162 A.J. Wright stores will close by mid-February; 91 will reopen under a different name after eight weeks.

TJX said the move allows the company to focus on its more profitable businesses. Most positions cut are part time.

After the cuts TJX will have about 150,000 staffers. As of December, the company operated 924 T.J. Maxx stores, 832 Marshalls and 36 HomeGoods in addition to the 162 A.J. Wright stores.

The company said it will cost $150 million to $170 million to close the stores and $12 million to $15 million for the store conversions.

TJX launched A.J. Wright in 1998 as a discount store brand similar to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, selling clothing, home decor, shoes and other items, but it never performed quite as well as its sibling stores. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have benefitted as shoppers hunt for bargains due to high unemployment and the uncertain economy.

But A.J. Wright stores offered even lower-priced products than T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, and that turned out to be not as appealing to shoppers.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Ron says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously, it’s terrible that people will lose their jobs. However, I remember the AJ Wright when it first opened in Medford. You could actually buy some very nice dress clothes at incredible prices. Then their clothing selection went downhill very fast as they shifted to mainly faux-gangsta apparel. Their housewares area became a catch-all for damaged goods and boxed items that were marked down because they were missing half the stuff that was supposed to be inside. Maybe the stores could have been more profitable if they’d carried things that people would want to buy. There are already too many stores hawking tacky garbage.

    1. Makala says:

      i believe the smae aj wright was right by my house and i was there alot their prices were low and i got boots for 4.00$ wow i love aj wright and i want them back NOW!!!!!!!!

      1. donna says:

        Me too! I live in the Harrisburg, PA area and lost ours in the uptown area.
        I drove over to visit for the first in a couple years .. only to find out they wre closed. I ‘luvd’ their gift and kittchen area.

  2. Italo says:

    I agree, and I think what happened to them sounds like what occurred with similar big department store chains’ Boston suburbs outlets that eventually closed in decades past, ones I remember like the old Raymond’s, Gilchrist’s, and similar that used to be in places like Lynn or Malden, etc. I think all store chains have their certain heydey. Frankly, I think that this economic downturn is going to change future department store operations — more flexible opening and closing hours, for example.. I mean, when we Baby Boomers grew up, going to department stores on weekends or weekend nights was a big family event. Now, who really has the time to spend a weekday or weeknight in stores — how do they stay open weekdays, and for whom? Maybe they could all save money by not opening until 1 or 2 pm in the afternoons during the week.

  3. Sacal says:

    Waltham. My Mom Works there…

    1. donna says:

      i’M SO SORRY – MAYBE SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPPENED….. POSSIBLY…. NO SACRIFICE —– PROFIT AREAS MENTIONED IN NEWS RELEASES….

  4. Bob says:

    What happened? Deval Patrick said Massachusetts was moving in the right direction? DUH!!!!!

  5. Bob says:

    The latest in a long list of layoff announcements since Deval’s re-election.

  6. Kato Capone says:

    That place is nothing but hood wear.
    Ever go to the one in Lawrence?

  7. mal g. says:

    What is hood wear?

  8. Kiara says:

    Hood wear is an image the media is creating for the outsiders. If you know how to put your clothes togehter you wont have that problem. A.J. Wright is more for the young adults, teens, and children. The other stores are based on the business class (Marshall’s) and older adults (T.J. Maxx). A.J.Wright maybe even making most of the money and they are upset about that. Some of the products maybe damaged because some parents don’t know how to control their children. A.J.Wright is the best store ever hands down every store has its flaw. It would be good to be able to see the poll that was created with the locations because i think that their numbers are wrong and the store should stay open.

  9. Land says:

    i too believe there numbers are wrong. But yet they are gonna spend millions of dollars to close the stores. Something bout that just doesnt sound right to me…and its messed up that we the shoppers dont even get a say in the matter. ive been shopping there for the past 5 years. i like there prices more so than Tjmaxx and Marshalls. This store will truly be missed.

  10. Annoyed Bargain Shopper says:

    The numbers have to be wrong, aj wright has a great selection of clothes for both youths and adults. Something doesnt seem right, ans nobody will probably ever no what is the real reason for the closings, and conversions…if you ask me marshalls is the store that should close, there apparel is stained, ripped, they have more items broken then i have seen at aj wright!!!

  11. Emily says:

    I think that aj wright should stay open if they have to pay to close but i always liked aj wright more than marshalls and tj maxx. Aj wright will be missed.!

  12. Dennis and Mildred Schmelz says:

    My husband and I are sadden by the closing of these stores. I would find wonderful bargains for my entire family, especially my grandchildren. We don’t understand why these stores were not making a profit…the stores in Atlanta were always packed with customers who appeared to be buying. We are so very disappointed by the closings.

  13. crystal says:

    I’m from New Orleans and had my first time to visit both locations in Atlanta, fell in love with it, was looking forward to have a big shopping spree on my next visit to Atlanta until my daughter called and gave me the news we have marshalls and tjmaxx,it doesn’t compare to A.J.Wright BIG MISTAKE I’m very sadden disappointed and will miss A.J.Wright

    1. donna says:

      I truly bellieve, it’s about ‘profit quotas’ SOMEONE OUT THERE, PLEASE STAY OPEN FOR THE TAX BRACKET THAT YOU OPENED WITH TO APPEAL TO, WHILE SUSTAINING YOUR OWN BRACKET!

  14. donna says:

    lost VALUE CITY too! Anybody remember that simiilar Dept Store…. they’re gone!

  15. Eva says:

    It sucks that AJ stores are closing. I found some of the coolest home decor that you can only find here. Plus I was able to buy an entire set of stainless steel cookware for less than half of what you would pay at a regular department store. I like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls too but they just don’t have the same variety, flavor, or the lowest bargains.

  16. Ruth says:

    i like your AJ stores especially in the underwear section for full figure women. I used to find very nice things.

  17. BARB says:

    I LOVE AJ WRIGHT STORES N I WANT THEM BACK TOO! THIS REALLY SUCKS!!! i WENT THERE ALL THE TIME BECAUSE I DID LOVE THEIR PRICES FOR WHATEVER I WAS SHOPPING FOR N I LOVE HOW I ALWAYS FOUND WHAT I NEEDED! I USE TO ALWAYS DRIVE WAY OUT MY WAY JUST TO SHOP THERE N IM VERY UPSET THEY ARE GONE!!! THE ONLY PROBLEM I HAD SHOPPING AT A J STORE RIGHT HERE IN MICH. WAS THE CASHIER WERE SLOW BESIDES THAT I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT IT! GOOD LUCK ON GETTING ME TO SHOP AT YOUR OTHER STORES BECAUSE I,M A BARGAIN SHOPPER SO U LOST MY BUSINESS!!

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