Ace unveils its new paint brand, Clark + Kensington
Oak Brook, Ill.-base Ace Hardware Corp. introduced Clark + Kensington, a new line of premier paint of the paint-and-primer-in-one variety.
Ace will begin shipping Clark + Kensingtron from its distribution centers beginning Sept. 6, and it will go nationwide during the first two quarters of 2012.
The line of 100 percent acrylic, low-VOC paint is named after Ace’s first retail location on Chicago’s Clark Street and the site of their worldwide headquarters.
The introduction comes in Ace Hardware’s second year of a five-year plan to boost its paint category market share from 4% to 8%.
“The Clark + Kensington paint-and-primer-in-one truly reinforces our core brand message of helping people maintain their homes while saving them time,” said Mary Rice, a 20-year paint industry veteran who took over the new position of president/general manager of the paint division for Ace last year. “The new Clark + Kensington brand will deliver everything consumers want from their paint: fashion, style, inspiration and sophisticated colors that create inviting spaces.”
The introduction of a line that eliminates the need to prime surfaces and paint separately underscores Ace’s strategy and commitment to providing the most helpful experience for customers by delivering top-notch service and products. Ace will manufacture Clark + Kensington paint and primer in its two manufacturing facilities in Matteson, Ill., and Chicago Heights, Ill.
“The paint-and-primer-in-one will stand for quality and durability, characteristics often attributed to locally owned and operated Ace stores in communities across the country," said John Surane, senior VP consumer marketing, merchandising and paint for Ace.
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At Do it Best market, praise for endcaps
A practical session designed to helped retailers make the most of their floor space taught Do it Best dealers several truisms about consumer habits. For instance, odd price points — such as $3.43 — create the perception that every possible penny has been slashed from the price; and most people walk to the right side of the store first.
But more importantly, the presentation by Do it Best’s Lyndsey Steffen, category management coordinator, shared the concept that endcaps sell up to 50% more than an adjoining aisle. It turns out that maximizing these sales is a blend of art and science.
"Product considered for an endcap needs to meet one of the following criteria: the product should evoke an emotional response from the customer, should be consumable or should be seasonally focused," Steffen said.
The three main types of endcaps are: 1) price perception, 2) theme and 3) vendor. The price perception endcap conveys to a customer that the store is a low price leader. It can be a single item or a collection of items all below a single low price point. Theme endcaps are collections of related items. And the vendor version is a collection of items from a single vendor.
According to Steffen, a single store should include all three varieties — ideally with price perception endcaps accounting for 45% of all endcaps; theme endcaps accounting for 40% and vendor endcaps accounting for the remaining 15%.
The presentation took place at the 2011 Do it Best May Market.
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For fifth-straight year, Ace leads J.D. Power list
The J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Store Satisfaction Study ranked Ace Hardware highest in customer satisfaction among home improvement retail stores. It’s the fifth straight year for the recognition.
“Ace is a go-to resource in communities large and small throughout America, and our retailer-owned stores know how to deliver on the brand’s helpfulness promise,” said Ray Griffith, president and CEO of the Oak Brook, Ill.-based hardware co-op with some 4,500 stores. “We strive to make a positive impact on our customers and be the ‘helpful place’ they know and trust.”
The J.D. Power and Associates study is based on responses from more than 6,900 consumers who purchased home improvement products or services in the previous 12 months. Ace Hardware ranked highest among major retailers with an overall satisfaction index score of 786 on a 1,000-point scale. According to consumers, Ace performs particularly well in the staff and service and store facility categories.
The score is based on performance in five areas: merchandise, price, sales and promotions, staff and service, and store facility.
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