True Value Co. gross billings slip 0.9% in first quarter

A nearly non-existant spring deflates sales for the Chicago-based hardware co-op.

Chicago-based True Value Co. reported first-quarter gross billings of $443.3 million, down 0.9% from the same quarter last year.

A nearly non-existent spring in many parts of the country hurt sales. The company also explained gross billings were affected by a decline in lumber and building material vendor direct-ship sales.

"While winter-related product sales exceeded the prior year, the general lack of spring weather this March versus last year was too much to overcome," said Lyle Heidemann, president ad CEO. 

Last year, True Value retailers' comp-store sales were up in the double digits, he said. This year, they were down a high single digit. 

As the weather goes, so go sales. "In April and early May, for the parts of the country where spring has arrived, our retailers on average are experiencing double-digit increases in their retail comp-store sales."

The co-op's revenue of $312.8 million was up 0.4%. The quarterly net margin of $0.4 million was down from $8.1 million in the same quarter last year.

The True Value co-op operates 4,500 independent retailer locations worldwide. 

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