Ace expresses year-to-date growth
Ace Hardware Corp. announced growth and plans for expansion in priority markets across the country.
“Our aggressive, long-term growth strategy features a total package of resources and support to ensure a successful future for our retailers,” said Mike Berschauer, director, retail development for Ace Hardware. “After a prosperous second quarter focused on store activations and conversions, Ace is on track to achieve its goal of opening 170 new domestic stores in 2012.”
Ace retailers opened 30 stores in the first quarter and 36 stores in the second quarter for a total of 66 new activations year to date, an 8% increase compared with 2011.
By region, Ace experienced 31 openings in the Midwest, Northeast and Atlantic Coast; 17 openings in the Southeast; and 18 openings in the West.
Store conversions also increased. To date in 2012, 31 retail locations have converted to Ace Hardware from competitive formats — in comparison to 16 conversions in the first two quarters of 2011. A number of these openings and conversions are attributed to the launch of the Ace Hardware “Express” format, the co-op said.
The Express format is designed specifically for stores with 5,000 sq. ft. or less. To date, there are Express format Ace Hardware locations in seven states across the United States – including California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
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Do it Best boosts cleaning category
Cleaning supplies and storage have become a separate category with their own dedicated buyer at Do it Best Corp., the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op. Amanda Harmeyer, the organization’s former associate merchandise manager for housewares, has been promoted to merchandise manager for Cleaning Supplies and Storage, a newly created position.
A five-year veteran of Do it Best, Harmeyer previously worked in merchandising for two international retailers.
“This category is an important and promising area of growth for our members, which is why we’ve invested in this new position on our merchandising team,” said Steve Markley, VP merchandising for Do it Best.
With annual sales of $2.68 billion, Do it Best Corp. serves more than 4,000 member-owned locations in the United States and in 53 foreign countries.
True Value gets focused on the farm
When Mike Clark, True Value’s senior VP and chief merchandising officer, talks about growth areas, he points to canning, he points to pet food. He points to strength in these warm times, of anything that moves cool air through a ouse, or moves water around the yard.
But Clark seems most excited about initiatives in farm and ranch.
Research showed that about 500 to 600 True Value members were involved in one or more of the farm and ranch categories. These categories represented about a third of their businesses, on average. But the members were buying their product somewhere else.
“We have 12 DCs,” Clark said. “These are loyal members. That’s why we believe we can develop warehouse programs to allow them to buy in smaller increments. We can competitively price this product.”
In June 2011, increased its sku count by 200%. The co-op now has more than 10,000 skus available in the key areas of farm ranch, which includes specialty pet and automotive products.
The plan includes regional education meetings with members and a farm and ranch retail council, to provide guidance and feedback on assortment and planograms.
The co-op’s story in farm ranch will be on full display at the Fall Market in Salt Lake City Sept. 21-23.
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