HARDWARE STORES

California hardware owner buys fourth store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

California hardware store owner Larry Hassett recently added to his portfolio of stores by purchasing Wisnom’s Hardware of San Mateo from Dick and Suzi Nelson, the Coastsider reported.

Hassett and his sons, Richard and Eric, also own Ocean Shore Hardware in Half Moon Bay, Palo Alto Hardware in Palo Alto, and Willow Glen Hardware in San Jose.

Hassett, who has been in the hardware business since 1957, carries a full line of hardware and building materials, an extensive selection of housewares, garden tools, pet supplies, giftware and a fireplace shop in his stores. He will extend Wisnom’s store hours and open his doors on Sundays, the article said.

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B&Q retreats in China

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In reaction to the slowdown in China’s housing market, the country’s largest home improvement retailer, British-owned B&Q, will reduce its store count from 63 to 41 units.

The March 26 announcement by parent company Kingfisher, reported by the Daily Telegraph and other British media outlets, was made as part of Kingfisher’s annual financial results.

B&Q opened its first store in China in 1999, modeling itself after Home Depot’s large format, gray warehouse racking and orange color scheme. Based in Shanghai, B&Q set its sights on China’s growing middle class and expanded to Beijing in the north, Shenzhen in the south, and Wuhan in Central China.

In 2005, B&Q bought one of its competitors when OBI, a German-owned DIY chain, decided to pull out of China. At the time, OBI operated 13 stores on the mainland with five more openings planned.

Home Depot now owns 12 stores in China, which it purchased from the Home Way retail chain in August 2007. At an analysts’ conference earlier this month, CEO Frank Blake cited the difficulties of operating in the Chinese market, adding that the Atlanta retailer has no plans to expand there “[until] we figure it out.”

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Bank forces closure of Kansas hardware store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bryant Hardware, a longtime business in downtown Arkansas City, Kan., abruptly closed its doors on March 18, according to NewsCow.net, a Web site serving Cowley County, Kan.

Bank officials stepped in and took control of the business and assets of the company, which has been operated by the Bryant family for 82 years.

The store’s Web site says it’s an “old-time store complete with sliding ladders, hardwood floors and antique display cabinets.” Lou and Hester Bryant purchased the business in 1926, and it has remained in the family ever since.

Zach Bryant, Lou and Hester’s great grandson and the store’s current owner, said he had thought he had an additional three weeks to find a buyer for the store or at least have a liquidation sale, NewsCow.net reported.

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