Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. sought to quash Internet rumors that it planned to close some or all its stores with Wednesday’s announcement that the Oklahoma City retailer will open 70 new stores this year.
The planned expansion, which includes the firm’s first arts-and-crafts stores in Oregon and Vermont, would increase the company locations to 626 across the nation.
Hobby Lobby is owned by its founders, David and Barbara Green, who operate the business according to the family's Christian convictions. The firm is in the midst of a legal battle against mandates in the Affordable Care Act requiring firms to provide insurance coverage for certain contraceptive drugs and devices that the Greens believe conflict with their religious beliefs.
The company acknowledged that the lawsuit “may be driving the incorrect rumors” of store closings. In at least a couple of instances that have been spread via social media, websites have printed the statement the company issued when it filed the lawsuit underneath a headline reporting that the firm would close stores. The company’s initial statement did not mention store closings.