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Bob Taylor shares optimism with Presidents Council

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Las Vegas — Do it Best CEO Bob Taylor offered a dose of industry optimism during the Presidents Council lunch event here during the National Hardware Show. 

Taylor, who reminisced briefly about his childhood trips to the National Hardware Show with his father, said it was encouraging to see "renewed growth" at the show. 

Gauging industry sentiment from visiting with many of the Do it Best members, Taylor said that even with a weather-induced slow start in the North, the business attitude in general is "extremely optimistic" for 2014 and beyond. 

"When you ask them where they intend to be in the next five years, you get answers like ‘I’m going to double my business.’ "

He added that the independent retailers that are going to grow are the ones that have positioned themselves correctly during the downturn. "We’re fortunate to have a number of those in the Do it Best family," he said.

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Sears plans to close more stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

There are more store closings in Sears’ future. In an address at Sears Holding Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting, chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said the company would close stores and look for ways to leverage its real estate as it continues to focus on integrated omnichannel retail and its Shop Your Way rewards program.

"Closing stores is going to be part of our future," Lampert said. "I’d rather do (fewer closures) rather than more, but the world has shifted."

He did not give an estimate on how many stores Sears would close. But with regards to marginally performing stores, Lampert said "the decision more often than not is to not renew the lease."

"We think you don’t need 2,000 stores to be relevant in the United States," he said.

Lampert said that rental income from subleasing store space in Sears stores to other retailers is likely to increase going forward.  Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and has spun off its Orchard Supply Hardware, Sears Hometown and Lands’ End businesses. The company currently operates approximately 778 full-line namesake stores and 1,152 Kmart stores in the United States.

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Day two of NHS salutes the Homeland

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Las Vegas — Day two of the National Hardware Show continued with a decidedly more patriotic bent than Tuesday’s globally minded theme, with an All-American Awards ceremony and a first-ever dedicated section on the show floor to Made-in-USA products, where over 125 companies were represented.

The NRHA Stage was also the site of several presentations regarding the current home buyer climate in the United States.

(From around the National Hardware Show floor, click here for new product highlights.)

Following the Made-in-the USA Grand-Opening Ceremony with special guest John Ratzenberger, a panel of various home buyers discussed their preferences and experiences. The skinny? An increasing amount of single female home buyers are subtly changing the retail landscape.

In the keynote address (dubbed "Millennial Homebuying Preferences"), Jill Waage, editorial director for home content of Better Homes and Gardens, clued retailers in to the needs of the millennial home buyer. Technology, to no one’s surprise, is a key component to reaching this younger audience.

The NRHA also presented the Industry Top Gun Awards, which recognize retailers with an especially strong commitment to innovation and the industry in general. This year’s winners included Brent Burger of Campbell’s True Value, Joe Taylor of Taylor’s Do it Centers and Michael Wynn of Sunshine Ace Hardware.

Drew and Jonathan Scott, known best as The Property Brothers, drew a large crowd with their appearance at the stage in a seminar titled "Keeping Your Home on Trend and Money in Your Pocket." Many show attendees lined up for a chance to get their pictures taken with the tall HGTV celebs, who were also promoting their new Scott Living home furnishings and accessories collection.

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