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Wedbush Morgan Ups A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts to Buy

Wedbush Morgan upgraded A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts (ACMR) to buy from hold, citing more confidence that the specialty retailer's management will improve the company's business.

Analyst Joan Storms says the 2006 Craft & Hobby Association show had a positive tone, especially toward scrapbooking, which was a dominant portion of the exhibitors. Jewelry, kids craft, and floral categories also remain strong. After meeting with the company management, Storms has increased confidence that the company is focused on addressing key factors that should aid its execution and drive sales, among other things. She expects improvements in merchandising, marketing, store operations, and payroll. She also says she sees major chains like A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts facing easier sales comparisons starting in the first quarter. She maintains her 71 cents 20 06 earnings per share and 90 cents 2007 estimates.

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