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APPA stats show growth of pet category

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Statistics from the American Pet Products Association estimate a 5% increase in total U.S. pet industry expenditures in 2014, bringing the figure to $58.5 billion. 

Compared with 10 years ago, pet expenditures are up 68%.

The APPA’s estimated breakdown of the $58.5 billion spending on pets has food at the top of the list, with $22.62 billion. That’s followed by supplies/OTC medicine, $13.72 billion; vet care, $15.25 billion; live animal purchases, $2.19 billion; and pet services (grooming and boarding), $4.73 billion. 

According to the 2013-2014 APPA "National Pet Owners Survey," 68% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 82.5 millions homes. In the first year the survey was conducted, 1988, 56% of U.S. households owned a pet.

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Tractor Supply overcomes early Q2 headwinds

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Despite soft sales early in its second quarter, Tractor Supply Co. reported a sales gain of 8.8% and comparable-store sales of positive 1.9%.

The Brentwood, Tennessee-based farm-and-ranch-store giant reported $1.58 billion in sales for the period ended June 29, compared with $1.46 billion in the same quarter last year. 

Net income for the quarter increased 8.0% to $133.4 million, up from $123.6 million. 

"Sales in our everyday core C.U.E. offerings were strong throughout the second quarter," said Greg Sandfort, president and CEO. "However, unseasonably cool weather in the early part of the quarter negatively impacted sales of spring seasonal merchandise." 

Comparable-store sales were driven by continued strength of consumable, usable and edible products (C.U.E.) and solid traffic counts, the company reported. But growth in these areas was partially offset by deflation, continued softness in its safe category and weaker-than-expected sales of certain seasonal products primarily in the northern regions. 

Gross profit increased 8.8% to $550.5 million from $506.1 million in the prior-year’s second quarter. As a percent of sales, gross margin was flat to prior-year quarter at 34.8%, as increased transportation costs, mix of products and the impact of slightly more sales-driving promotions offset the favorable impact of the company’s key gross margin-enhancing initiatives and the impact of deflation. 

Based upon the second-quarter results, the company anticipates its fiscal year 2014 results will be at the low end of the previously provided ranges of $5.62 billion to $5.70 billion in net sales, and 2.5% to 4.0% in comparable-store sales. 

The company opened 23 new stores in the second quarter, compared to with new store openings in the prior year’s second quarter.

"Despite some of the early headwinds, we successfully delivered positive comparable-store sales in each month of the quarter while minimizing the impact to merchandise margins," Sandfort said.

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Robert Bowden chooses Epicor software to run operations

BY David Salazar

Marietta, Georgia-based wholesale building supply company Robert Bowden announced this week that it would begin using Epicor’s BizTrack software.

According to the company’s CFO Greg Lucas, the switch from a proprietary planning system is the result of Robert Bowden’s growth since starting in 1983.

“When you are a small startup, you might be able to track your operations with spreadsheets,” Lucas said. “However when you reach a certain size it is important to have a system in place that will support, measure and report on your ability to maintain your core business values. BisTrack will give us the advanced controls and structure to make sure that we keep true to our principles.”

Robert Bowden will use BizTrack as a point of sale system, as well as a method to keep track of inventory, orders, purchases and delivery, among other business aspects.

“We believe it is going to lead to fewer inventory adjustments and overall less inventory because of its comprehensive inventory tracking and management features,” Lucas said.

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