Breaking records, making news
Tired of reading about declining statistics? Here’s a breakdown of some numbers traveling up the charts, including a couple of new record highs.
In March, the last month for which statistics are available, homechannelnews.com showed some big readership numbers. Never before had a homechannelnews.com Web story crossed the 8,000 page-view mark for a single month.
In March, it happened twice.
The first, under the headline “Wolseley outlines Stock’s losses,” racked up 8,159 clicks, surpassing “Home Depot to close 15 stores” (7,523 views), which had held the record since May 2008. But the new all-time single-month record holder for page views stands at 8,365. It belongs to a little news article about a Houston-area hardware store: “Dream Ace store closes.”
(Note to Web trend analysts: We realize that Hannah Montana’s home page probably generates that figure in half the time, but we maintain that quantity must be balanced with quality in these matters.)
The new record holder is an unlikely article to hold our new record. There were several stories we considered more likely to draw readers—for instance: “Home Depot closes Expo” from January of this year. In terms of square footage, dollar volume and impact on suppliers and competition, this article had the look of an all-time leader.
It just goes to show: You never know where the next winner is going to come from.
As editors, we want to boost readership with articles that in form and interest our readers, and tracking the Web stats gives us valuable feedback to achieve that goal. (You can see our most-clicked stories on a weekly basis at homechannelnews.com .)
Here’s what we do: We gather information, we write, we edit and, finally, we publish. We do our best to make the information reader-friendly, then we let the chips fall where they may and move on to the next story.
On a certain level, that’s something our core readers can appreciate. In their effort to buy products and sell them at a profit, they gather information, make decisions, do their best to make their stores consumer-friendly, then let the chips fall where they may.
Speaking of chips, in this issue of HCN, our editors look to Las Vegas, site of the 2009 National Hardware Show from May 5 to 7. Our special section begins on page 19 and focuses on some of the trends that affect retailers and their make-or-break merchandise decisions.
This magazine has always promoted the idea of industry networking, mutual cooperation and conference participation. In tough times, even more so. We’ll be at the Hardware Show in force covering the products, the trends and the news.
One reason: You never know where the next winner is going to come from.
Indiana hardware store turns 65
Umber’s Do It Best Hardware, which has stores in Waynedale, Ind., and Georgetown North, Ind., is celebrating its 65th anniversary May 1 to 3, the News Sentinel reported.
The fourth-generation family-owned business held a drawing for a $1,000 shopping spree, door prizes, events and more.
Umber’s opened in 1944 in Waynedale. After closing a third store in early 2006, Umber’s changed co-op affiliations from Ace — which it had been with for 55 years — to Do it Best in October 2008.
The Waynedale and Georgetown North stores have 30 full- and part-time employees.
Sun shines on Scotts Miracle-Gro
Scotts Miracle-Gro, the industry’s largest supplier of lawn and garden products, reported sales of $960.1 million for its second fiscal quarter, a 0.2% rise over sales of $958 million in the same period last year. Net income for the quarter, which ended on March 28, was $77.4 million, compared with $58 million in the second quarter of 2008.
Reported sales in the North American consumer business increased by 10% in the quarter. Consumer sell-through of the company’s products — as measured by available point of sale data from U.S. retailers — improved 18%, led by strong growth in both lawn fertilizer and growing media, according to Scotts.
The European consumer business did not fare as well. The company posted a 25% decrease in sales on a reported basis and a 7% decline, as measured in local currency, primarily due to delayed purchases by several key retailers.
Scotts LawnService reported a 3% increase in sales to $32.8 million from $32 million. The division recorded a $16.2 million loss for the second quarter of 2009, compared to an $18.5 million loss in the corresponding period of 2008.
Smith & Hawken reported $19.3 million in sales for the quarter, compared with $24.8 million last year, a 22.23% decline driven by a decline in both retail and trade sales, according to Scotts.
“We are extremely pleased with the improvement in gross margin rates,” said Dave Evans, the company’s chief financial officer, in a prepared statement. “We established a goal of restoring gross margin rates to historic levels in order to continue investing in key initiatives to drive future growth. This is a step in the right direction.”
Based in Marysville, Ohio, Scotts Miracle-Gro recorded nearly $3 billion in worldwide sales last year.