DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Do it Best promotes executive

BY Brae Canlen

Do it Best Corp. has created a new position — national retail performance manager — and promoted Scott Sproul into the job.

In this position, Sproul will play a key role in the co-op’s sales and business development department as it works with member-owners to become the premier retailers in their marketplaces. He and the retail performance team will bring project management expertise and generous financial incentives to members who implement comprehensive store improvement projects. In addition to these duties, Sproul will also further develop and implement new programs that will help Do it Best Corp. members thrive at the retail level. 

A 13-year veteran of Do it Best, Sproul most recently served as regional sales and business development manager for the southeastern United States, where he led a team of sales professionals across an 11-state territory. Prior to that, he worked as the co-op’s territory manager in Kentucky. Overall, he has more than 30 years’ experience in the retail and home improvement industries, working extensively in merchandising, marketing, purchasing and management.

“As a regional manager and former retail executive, Scott has experienced firsthand the impact and value our many retail programs and services provide to our members,” said Do it Best VP sales and business development Jay Brown. “His energy, enthusiasm and experience will be great assets as we look to continually grow and enhance the programs that matter most to our members.”

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Ace posts sales and income gains in Q1

BY Ken Clark

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corp. posted total revenues of $908.2 million for the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 6.3% compared with 2011.

Net income was $10.2 million for the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 49.3% compared with $6.8 million in 2011.

“We are very pleased with our first-quarter results," said Ray Griffith, Ace president and CEO. “The early spring weather and the successful launch of our new Clark+Kensington paint and primer in one drove substantial increases in revenue. In addition, we entered into a new credit agreement in April on favorable terms that will allow us to refinance our debt and realize significant interest savings over the life of the agreement.”

Merchandise sales to comparable domestic stores increased 4.8% in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the prior year. Merchandise sales to new domestic stores activated in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal year periods contributed $19.8 million in incremental sales during the quarter, while merchandise revenues decreased $10.3 million due to canceled stores. This is a net increase in revenues of $9.5 million in 2012 compared with a net increase of $6.7 million in 2011. 

Merchandise sales from Ace’s international business increased $7.7 million, or 19.3%, in the first quarter as compared with the prior-year primarily due to higher sales to retailers in the Asia and Latin America markets.

Ace added 30 new stores and canceled 25 stores in the first quarter and ended the quarter with a total domestic store count of 4,077.

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True Value Q1 revenue up slightly

BY HBSDealer Staff

Chicago-based True Value has posted first-quarter revenue of $448.2 million, up 0.1% from $447.8 million in the same period a year ago. The cooperative posted a net margin of $8.1 million in the quarter ended March 31, the same as the year-ago period.

Revenue was essentially flat in the first quarter due to a lack of snowfall and cold weather in January and February, which drove down sales of ice-melt, snow throwers, shovels and portable heaters. Warmer temperatures in March drove stronger sales of paint, lawn mowers, fertilizers, herbicides, grass seed, insect control and grills.

“Though our winter seasonal product sales were down 50%, our core hardware categories were up 6.4%,” said president and CEO Lyle Heidemann. “Our retailers’ sales were up 2.6% in the quarter, 11.3% in March and 6.1% in April.

“We rolled out 451,000 sq. ft. of new DTV stores or remodels in the first quarter with 30 more projects expected to launch in the second quarter,” he added. “Our retailers continue to invest in their stores and reap the benefits of this new format.”

First-quarter profit was also flat as a slight increase in the gross margin rate to 11.2% from 11.0% a year ago was offset by higher employee benefit costs.

On April 13, the True Value amended its $250 million revolving credit facility to lower its average interest rate by 50 basis points. The amended bank agreement has a term of five years, expiring in April 2017.

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