MIKE ARMSTRONG: Coming up. A South Jersey company that’s built a big business in arts and crafts is looking to reframe its chain. Nearly a month after a devastating earthquake in China, a local company says its factory is up and running. We have the update. Another South Jersey company certainly isn’t getting lost in translation. International sales lifted Franklin Electronic Publishers to a profit last year. We’ll tell you where the growth was. Philadelphia Business Today starts now.
MIKE ARMSTRONG: Thanks to softness in the retail business, A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts says it will open fewer stores than expected this year. Also the Burlington, New Jersey chain intends to close between seven and ten stores. Now retailers are always shutting stores that don’t measure up to sales targets, but the moves by A.C. Moore which sells art supplies and provides framing services reflect a wholesale review of its real estate including the 139 stores it currently operates. A.C. Moore had expected to open 14 stores in 2008. Now it’ll be more like eight to 12. Shares of A.C. Moore have lost to 67 percent of their value over the last year.
Slowly companies are getting back to business in the earthquake damaged regions of China. Philadelphia’s Technitrol said the factory it leases in the Sichuan province is back in production and shipping orders. Technitrol makes electronic components there. The company said it was able to resume production two weeks after the May 12th earthquake which has claimed the lives of more than 69,000 people. No Technitrol employees were killed in the quake. Its building sustained only slight damage. Technitrol said it expects to be operating at pre-earthquake levels before the end of June.
Franklin Electronic Publishers which makes those hand-held dictionaries and translators saw a turnaround in its business last year. The Burlington, New Jersey company said today that it had a profit of $2.5 million or 31 cents per share for its year ended March 31st. The previous year Franklin lost $3.2 million or 39 cents per share. But business in the United States has been slow. Europe and Australia is where the growth has been. Franklin eliminated about a dozen jobs in the U.S. in May. That’s about ten percent of its domestic workforce.
That’s it for today. At The Inquirer, I’m Mike Armstrong for Philadelphia Business Today.