ALCO Stores

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ALCO Stores, Inc.
Type Discount store
Industry Retail
Founded 1901
Headquarters Coppell, Texas
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, market, housewares

ALCO Stores, Inc. (formerly Duckwall-ALCO Stores) is a retail chain operating 198 stores in 23 states, primarily in the United States Midwest. The company was founded in 1901 in Kansas by Alva Lease Duckwall.[1] It has its headquarters in Coppell, Texas.


An ALCO store that was closed April 29, 2013 in Vermilion, Ohio.
Duckwall's variety store photographed in Brush, Colorado, in 1991.

In its early years the company operated five and dime (or "variety") stores called Duckwall's. In 1968 it began to move into the discount retail business and opened stores that were bigger than their five and dime counterparts called ALCO. ALCO stores (somewhat smaller than a non-supercenter Walmart) provide the full selection of merchandise offered by the company, while the Duckwall stores provide a limited selection.

In 1985, after three acquisitions, the company went through a management-led leveraged buy-out. The company had 127 ALCO stores, and 33 Duckwalls in 14 states at that time.[2]

In May 1989, Duckwall-ALCO filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, emerging in 1991 after securing financing from GE Capital, its primary creditor.[3] At least 52 stores were closed during this period. After 1989 they switched to their current business strategy of targeting communities where no direct retail competitor existed (such as Walmart, Target or Kmart). The strategy proved to be successful for Duckwall-ALCO and as of June 2008 there were 205 ALCO stores and 59 Duckwall stores.

The company previously experimented with a combination discount and food store called C.O.L.A. (Cost of Living Adjusters) in Mineral Wells, Texas, which was discontinued.[3] The company also began a supercenter concept, ALCO Market Place, by providing limited perishable goods. (There is only one store that is an ALCO Market Place in the United States) These stores are considerably smaller than Walmart's or Target's supercenter stores.

The company's 352,000-square-foot (32,700 m2) distribution center is located in Abilene, Kansas.

Duckwall-ALCO stores announced on November 29, 2010 that it will close all 44 of its Duckwall stores, thus ending the Duckwall name. The store in Hettinger, North Dakota would be reopened as an ALCO while the remaining 43 stores would permanently close.

In the Fall of 2011, Duckwall-ALCO stores opened its first store in Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas in Grand Prairie, Texas but plans to close its Grand Prairie, Texas store in May 2014.

On April 10, 2013, ALCO Stores, Inc. announced that the Company will move its corporate headquarters from Abilene, Kansas, to Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

On October 12, 2014, ALCO Stores Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing "increased competition" and "declining consumer and business confidence, which has led to decreased customer traffic and reduced levels of consumer spending, particularly on discretionary items." [4] On November 17 bidding on the company through bankruptcy court ended with the sole "stalking horse" bidder, a liquidation firm, being selected as the winning bidder. Going-out-of-business sales at all locations started on November 21, 2014.


Duckwall-ALCO has grown through various acquisitions over the years.

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