After purchase, General Tools maintains focus
General Tools & Instruments, a Manhattan-based tool manufacturer with a storied history, has been acquired by private equity firm High Road Capital Partners.
Founded in 1922, General Tools & Instruments is a designer and developer of precision specialty hand tools and handheld test instruments for consumers and professionals.
Current General Tools CEO Joe Ennis will continue to lead the company. Ennis and other members of General Tools’ management team invested in the transaction, along with High Road.
“General remains focused on providing its customers with feature-rich, value-oriented specialty hand tools and test instruments,” Ennis said. “We look forward to working with High Road and continuing the company’s successful expansion.”
General Tools & Instruments’ products are available in big-box and specialty retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears, Ace Hardware and True Value Hardware stores, and through industrial distributors, such as Grainger, MSC Industrial Supply and McMaster-Carr.
High Road praised General Tools as a third-generation, family-run operation with an enviable customer base.
“General Tools & Instruments has a solid position as a leading provider of specialty hand tools and instruments across multiple industries, with a product portfolio of more than 1,500 SKUs,” said Jeff Goodrich, High Road partner. “Its strengths include an exceptional product development capability through which the company introduces new and innovative tools annually and provides professional-grade products to consumer markets.”
Retail sales up 0.3% in February
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales came in at $427.2 billion for the month of February, up 0.3% since January and 1.5% since February 2013.
The progress of retail trade sales matched those of the overall figure at 0.3%, with nonstore retailers up 6.3% year-over-year and health and personal care stores up 5.5% since last year.
Building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers posted the next-strongest year-over-year recovery, with sales improving 3.2% since February 2013 and 0.3% since last month.
Some categories fared a bit worse on year-ago terms, including department stores (-4.8%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-5.2%), gasoline stations (-4.6%) and electronics and appliance stores (-2.4%).
Additionally, the overall December 2013 to January 2014 percent change was downwardly revised from -0.4% to -0.6%.
Williams-Sonoma posts strong Q4
Williams-Sonoma reported net revenues increased to $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2 from $1.4 billion in the prior-year quarter. This year’s fourth quarter had just 13 weeks compared with last year’s fourth quarter, which had 14; excluding the additional week in the prior-year quarter, net revenues grew 10%.
Net earnings totaled $133.8 million, up from $133.7 million in the prior-year fourth quarter.
Williams-Sonoma president and CEO Laura Alber credited the strength of the company’s brands across retail and e-commerce for its performance in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2.
“Williams-Sonoma outperformed the retail industry this holiday season, gaining market share and demonstrating the structural advantage of our multi-brand, multi-channel platform,” said Alber. “We executed our strategic plan, investing in our brands and the supporting infrastructure to ensure sustainable long-term growth both domestically and around the world. The results speak for themselves: we delivered strong top and bottom line performance, which combined with over $350 million in share repurchases and dividends generated superior returns for our stockholders.”
Direct-to-customer (DTC) net revenues in the quarter increased to $706 million from $634 million in last year’s quarter. Excluding the additional week in the prior-year quarter, DTC net revenues grew 19%, primarily driven by Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma. DTC net revenues generated 48% of total company net revenues in the quarter, compared with 45% in prior-year quarter.
Retail net revenues in the quarter were $760 million versus $773 million in the prior-year quarter. Excluding the additional week in last year’s fourth quarter, retail net revenues grew 2.7%, primarily driven by Pottery Barn and West Elm, partially offset by a decrease in Williams-Sonoma and the company’s international franchise operations.