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Copp will store downtown store

Coop will close

downtown store

The Harvard Cooperative Society announced last week that it will close its downtown store at the expiration of its lease this September.

A 300 percent increase in rent prompted Coop President James A. Argeros to make the recommendation to the Coop's board of directors, he said. The decision to close was a difficult one because of the store's contribution to overall sales, profits and rebates to Coop members in the past, Argeros added.

According to Milton P. Brown, the Coop's chairman of the board, continuing operation of the downtown store under such an overwhelming overhead would immediately impact all Coop members by forcing the lowering of rebates.

The annual Coop patronage rebate has been declining in recent years. The rebate has dropped from 9.5 percent three years ago to this year's seven percent.

In addition to rent increases, Argeros has attributed the rebate drop to three additional sources of greater expenses: payroll, taxes, and health and welfare insurance. Together, these factors have more than matched the Coop's increase in sales, he claimed.

Argeros also noted that the retail business has become increasingly tight in recent years.

Other than some one-time write-offs of undepreciated assets and expenses involved in the closing, the board foresees no long-term unfavorable impact on its other operations.

The 15 employees of the downtown store, located on 1 Federal St., will be absorbed by the company's other six stores, Argeros said.