March 22, 2018 / 2:31 AM / a month ago

Crafts retailer Michaels to close all Aaron Brothers stores- source

March 21 (Reuters) - Michaels Companies Inc will shut down all of its approximately 100 Aaron Brothers framing and art supplies stores, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, as the largest U.S. crafts retailer grapples with the popularity of online shopping.

The move is the latest example of how brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to compete with e-commerce sites such as Amazon.com Inc. More than 15 U.S. retailers filed for bankruptcy last year.

The decision by Michaels, which owns and operates more than 1,300 stores in the United States and Canada, could be announced as early as Thursday, when the company reports fourth-quarter earnings, the source said, asking not to be identified because the move has not been made public.

A Michaels spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Aaron Brothers stores are located largely on the U.S. West Coast, offering custom framing and an assortment of painting and drawing tools.

Michaels acquired Aaron Brothers in 1995, when the frame retailer was a 71-store chain and then grew it over the years.

Michaels, known for its workshops and aisles of ideas for crafting projects, went public in 2014 and now has a market capitalization of close to $4 billion.

The company is approximately 40 percent owned by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Blackstone Group LP, the private equity firms that took it private in 2006 for $6 billion. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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