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Dealer dodges credit card scam

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Credit card criminals appear to be targeting pro dealers and home centers to separate them from valuable power tools.

Tom Smart, paint manager at the Amenia, N.Y. location of pro dealer H.G. Page & Sons, alerted Home Channel News to a fraud attempt involving an operater-assisted-phone call, a credit card purchase and an overnight delivery of a $700 miter saw.

Before the order was shipped, FedEx’s security division contacted Smart and described the purchase as fraudulent, he said.

“Apparently, we’re not the first store where this happened,” Smart said. “This month it seems to be miter saws.”

The scam artists use the operator-assisted call for the hearing impaired as a way to prevent tracking of the call.

The fraudulent call came to the Amenia store in Dutchess County on Tuesday. “Naturally, it happens when we’re busy at the counter,” he said.

Smart alerted H.G. Page’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y. headquarters and the Dutchess County sheriff. If similar calls come in, the store employees have been advised to get a mailing address and a telephone number and tell the caller that the store will call back to complete the order. “If it’s not legitimate, you find out real fast,” Smart said.

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Do it Best owner receives British royal title

BY HBSDEALER Staff

David Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Home Centre in Nassau, Bahamas, has been honored with the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) as part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s annual birthday honors, the Do it Best co-op announced.

Kelly is being recognized for exemplary services to the Bahamas and for national development in the field of business/Bahamian retail industry and sports. Kelly’s Home Centre, which is celebrating its 80-year anniversary this year, has been a member of Do it Best since 2001.

In addition, Kelly’s Home Centre received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce in July.

In 1992, Kelly received the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Silver Jubilee Award in recognition of his contribution to national development in the field of business. He has made contributions to many charitable and civic organizations, notably to the College of The Bahamas Scholarships, the Cancer Care Centre, St. Anne’s Church and The Bahamas National Trust.

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Ace Hardware net income up 11.7 percent in Q2

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware released its second-quarter results, reporting net income of $33.4 million, up 11.7 percent from the $29.5 million reported last year. Total revenues for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based co-op were down 2.6 percent to $1.067 billion.

“Although top-line revenues declined, we saw an improvement in sales trends from the second quarter, particularly in the latter half of the second quarter,” said Ace president and CEO Ray Griffith. “

Merchandise sales from Ace’s international business continued to be strong and contributed $6.5 million in incremental sales, up 13.5 percent compared with 2007. This number was driven by increased sales to existing stores in the Middle East, sales to new stores in the Caribbean and sales growth from foreign-to-foreign wholesale operations.

Ace added 27 new stores and cancelled 49 stores in the second quarter, which brought the company’s total store count to 4,594 compared to 4,630 at the end of fiscal year 2007.

On a category basis, domestic revenues were negatively impacted by declines in the tools, paint, plumbing and electrical categories and were partially offset by a sales gain in lawn and garden.

Operating expenses decreased $9.1 million, or 10 percent, to $82.5 million in the second quarter of 2008 and, as a percentage of revenues, decreased from 8.36 percent to 7.73 percent.

The decrease in operating expenses was primarily a result of a reduction in incentive compensation and profit sharing expenses of approximately $6 million, the co-op said, and lower distribution costs of $4.2 million due to tight expense control and lower volume at Ace’s Retail Support Centers (RSCs).

“We made good progress in reducing our expenses in the second quarter in light of the challenging economic environment,” Griffith said. “We continue to review our cost structure and will be making the necessary adjustments to deliver strong profitability while continuing to invest in and drive the Ace brand.”

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