Do it Best reveals best sellers and opportunities
Indianapolis — Speaking to the collected body of Do it Best Dealers during the co-op’s Merchandising Market Preview here, Steve Markley described light bulbs as a high-interest, high-reward category.
He encouraged dealers to visit the GE booth, as well as that of new vendor TCP. Vendors and Do it Best executives say that as more options — and more questions — hit the light bulb category, the more the hardware store format will benefit. If they have the right products and the right product knowledge, light bulbs can result in big gains.
Markley also pointed to the fastest growing categories for the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op year-to-date. They are:
• Patio fans and heaters, up 113%;
• Audio components, up 54%.
• Oscillating tool accessories, up 46%;
• Janitorial supplies, up 21%;
• Pond and fountain supplies, up 21%; and
• Food/snacks/beverages, up 20%.
In the area of light bulbs, where LEDs are increasingly a factor, Markley said the business has evolved beyond the obligation to meet efficiency regulations. "It’s about the opportunity," he said. "It’s there for you to pick up business and pick up market share. Make sure you have the right product and make sure your staff understands the opportunities."
Markley also pointed to a new "price-buster" program inspired by member demand for super low price discounts throughout the year. "We have the price buster promotion coming out on a monthly basis," he said. "These are Sneak-Peek type discounts on items we store in our RSC."
Sneak Peek is the term for the co-op’s 90-minute special-discount buying frenzy the night before the show officially opens. Some products are discounted more than 50%.
Markley said response to the program has been encouraging. "Look for that to grow."
May market emphasizes performance
Indianapolis — A number of innovations, events and product deals helped draw thousands of member-owners to the 2013 Do it Best May Market.
“From the strong member response at the Sneak Peek, to the solid attendance at our many seminars and training events and continuing out to the bustle on the market floor, we’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm among our members this weekend,” said Do it Best Corp. President and CEO Bob Taylor.
One of the points of emphasis on opening day of the May 18-20 market here at the Indiana Convention Center was the concept of performance. At the annual kickoff breakfast, Barry Wishner, president and CEO of ProFormance. In his message to Do it Best members, he showed how to jump start ideas and accelerate growth by questioning everything.
Before the official Saturday start of the market, attendees were able to take advantage of savings — some as high as 52% — at the annual Friday Night Sneak Peek event, during which select market vendors offered pricing exclusively to Do it Best members on a range of products. Member purchases reached $7.8 million during the 90-minutes event.
The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op promotes the savings associated with the Sneak Peek event as a an opportunity to more than offset the cost of attending the event.
Some of the tech advancements highlighted at the market include the latest enhancements to the mydoitbest.com member website along with a new mobile app for the iPad that brings together all the product and ordering information necessary to make buying decisions on the sales floor.
True Value Co. gross billings slip 0.9% in first quarter
Chicago-based True Value Co. reported first-quarter gross billings of $443.3 million, down 0.9% from the same quarter last year.
A nearly non-existent spring in many parts of the country hurt sales. The company also explained gross billings were affected by a decline in lumber and building material vendor direct-ship sales.
"While winter-related product sales exceeded the prior year, the general lack of spring weather this March versus last year was too much to overcome," said Lyle Heidemann, president ad CEO.
Last year, True Value retailers’ comp-store sales were up in the double digits, he said. This year, they were down a high single digit.
As the weather goes, so go sales. "In April and early May, for the parts of the country where spring has arrived, our retailers on average are experiencing double-digit increases in their retail comp-store sales."
The co-op’s revenue of $312.8 million was up 0.4%. The quarterly net margin of $0.4 million was down from $8.1 million in the same quarter last year.
The True Value co-op operates 4,500 independent retailer locations worldwide.