DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Ace awards ‘cool’ to six of its stores

BY HBSDealer Staff

As is its annual custom (now in its fourth year), Ace Hardware Corporation recognized a new spate of Ace stores in its 2014 "Coolest Hardware Store" awards. Six stores nabbed the title out of 4,850 Ace stores worldwide, named officially during Ace's Platinum Conference held in Las Vegas.

“Being a ‘Coolest Hardware Store’ isn’t just about having a unique building and products," said VP retail operations and new business Kane Calamari. "It’s about meeting the community’s needs in a way that only a small business can, just as the teams at these stores do every day. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners for their commitment to providing a consistently amazing — and cool — shopping experience for their customers and community.”

The winners included Palestine, Texas-based Braly Builders Supply, which makes good use of historic decor from the former Rusk Elementary School that houses the location; Mary's Ace Hardware in New Orleans, which is based in the ever-cool French Quarter and houses a restaurant and kitchen supply section, as well as specialty goods for homeowners in the historic district; and Nutter Hardware in Upper Arlington, Ohio, which is tricked out with a functioning potbelly stove and other vintage hallmarks of a classic general store (such as a willingness to help out in a city-wide emergency).

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Rylee's Ace Hardware also made the cut, thanks to its unique used ice skates section and its free weekly cooking demonstrations. Steamboat Ace Hardware in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, nabbed a designation for its community involvement and log cabin exterior with two covered patios and a 20-ft. water wheel. Last but not least, Ace honored Steve's Ace Home & Garden in Dubuque, Iowa, which features three greenhouses and a two-acre nursery, as well as a variety of special events, such as Ladies DIY Night, Terrarium Making Class, wine and cheese tastings and canning classes.

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True Value sales jump on expanded product lineup in Q2

BY HBSDealer Staff

True Value Company reported strong results in the second quarter, with a revenue boost of 4.5% driven largely by an expanded assortment of farm, ranch, automotive, pet, seasonal and plumbing products.

Reported revenue for the co-op was $429.5 million for the three months ended June 28, compared with $411.2 million year-over-year.

"In the second quarter, we saw a continuation of first-quarter sales increases," said president and CEO John Hartmann. "In fact, on a year-to-date basis, we had revenue increases in all regions of the country and in all 10 of our product departments. From a profit perspective, the incremental gross margin from the sales increase was offset by higher inbound freight expenses and our planned one-time expenses and retailer subsidies related to the rollout of our new ‘Color by Design’ paint colorant systems, equipment, displays and collateral."

Other metrics of note included comparable-store sales, which were up 4.2% in the quarter and 4.8% year-to-date. The quarterly net margin came in at $23.2 million, down 2.5% from last year’s $23.8 million.

Gross billings sales from new stores made up for lost sales from closed stores by $10.7 million for the six-month period ended June 28.

True Value also noted its addition of 428,000 sq. ft. of retail space, as well as the addition of 34 new members in 2014.

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Ace and RONA strike a deal in Canada

BY HBSDealer Staff

Ace Hardware has struck a deal with RONA, a Canadian retailer and distributor of hardware, building materials and home renovation products, to forge a long-term agreement for master licensing of the Ace brand in Canada.

Under the terms of the new deal, RONA will enjoy certain rights to various Ace Hardware brands, retail operating systems and Web portals, as well as various distribution rights via Ace (including through its China direct programs). The move will help RONA in its effort to expand its network of affiliated dealer stores in Canada while supporting the growth of Ace in Canada.

“The Ace Hardware brand is well recognized in the U.S., Canada and internationally," said RONA president and CEO Robert Sawyer. "This agreement will enable us to improve our offering to small dealers across the country, to leverage our existing distribution infrastructure and to strengthen our portfolio of banners. Canadian customers will also benefit from this new relationship as RONA will put important efforts in collaboration with Ace Hardware International in the development of the brand, which will perfectly complement RONA’s existing brands, especially in some areas of the country where RONA has a limited presence."

"Ace has been thoroughly impressed with RONA’s commitment to the independent Canadian retailer, their rigor in crafting an efficient country-wide supply chain and their intimate knowledge of and experience in Canada,” said John Venhuizen, president and CEO, Ace Hardware. “I believe Ace’s combination of strengths with RONA will be an exceedingly compelling proposition for both independent hardware and lumber dealers and the Canadian consumer for a very long time to come.”

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