Ace reports record performance
Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corp. reported today that strong performance in core categories lifted the co-op to what it calls its "best first quarter for both revenues and net income in its 90-year history."
The co-op reported total revenues of $1.1 billion for the first quarter, up 16.8% from the same quarter last year. Net income was $24.4 million, up from $4.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
"While the frigid winter certainly helped our Q1 business, I’m pleased to see our winter categories were less than 20% of our overall growth as all core hardline departments were up sharply and contributed significantly to our increase," said John Venhuizen, Ace president and CEO.
At Ace Retail Holdings, the co-op’s retail arm created with the late 2012 purchase of the Westlake Ace Hardware chain, sales increased 9.8% to $43.7 million. Once again, increased sales of winter goods bolstered sales.
During the quarter, the co-op added 84 new stores to its ranks, while canceling 35 stores. That activity brought the company’s global total store tally to 4,878.
The 3,100 Ace retailers who share POS data showed same-store-sales growth of 5.2%, the company said.
Regarding the company’s first-quarter acquisition of Maine-based regional distributor Emery-Waterhouse, the company said the move "serves as a catalyst to leverage wholesale purchasing power."
In Waco, Texas, Do it Best applauds safety
Do it Best Corp. recognized its Waco, Texas, Retail Service Center (RSC) team for recording four straight years without any lost time due to a safety incident or injury.
At Waco, and elsewhere throughout the Do it Best supply chain, the distributor has added morning stretches, safety tips and peer-to-peer observations into their work culture to proactively prevent safety incidents. The current safety streak is the longest of any of the co-op’s RSCs throughout the United States.
“Our staff culture thrives on a safety-first mentality, which ensures that each team member returns home without an accident or injury,” said Tim Miller, VP retail logistics. “This is a remarkable achievement, and a direct reflection of the outstanding commitment to serving our member-owners safely each and every day.”
The 525,000-sq.-ft. Waco RSC employs 99 people who routinely handle thousands of products, operate numerous pieces of material handling equipment, and move tons of freight on a daily basis. It is one of eight Do it Best Corp. distribution centers.
Ace kicks off Paint Studio campaign
Ace Hardware has rolled out what it’s calling its biggest ad campaign ever to promote the co-op’s new Paint Studio offering.
And if the ads look like a high-end cosmetic commercial, that’s by design. The campaign, jointly developed by Ace and Valspar, is called "Helpful is Beautiful." [Watch the commercial here.]
The Paint Studio is launching nationally this month at more than 3,200 Ace stores, according to the co-op.
“The Paint Studio at Ace is truly a new and better way to shop for paint,” said Mary Rice, president and general manager, Ace Paint Division. “With new colors, trusted brands and a boutique feel specializing in personalized attention and service, we are thrilled to provide consumers with a completely new paint shopping experience that’s designed to help them find their perfect color.”
The “Helpful is Beautiful” campaign is the largest ad campaign in Ace’s history. It includes television, radio, print, social, digital and point-of-sale components reminiscent of beauty advertisements.
“For years, women have expressed loyalty to their favorite cosmetics brands and the inspiring shopping experience that comes along with it,” said John Surane, executive VP marketing, merchandising and sales for Ace Hardware. “Ace and Valspar recognize the emotional response evoked by color and built the ‘Helpful is Beautiful’ campaign and The Paint Studio at Ace around this connection as a way to offer consumers a differentiating paint shopping experience featuring the brands they know and trust.”
Also today, the co-op launched ThePaintStudio.com to support and promote its paint offering.