DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Gross billings up 1.4% at True Value

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based True Value Co. reported gross billings of $455.1 million for the quarter ended Sept. 28, an increase of 1.4%  from $448.9 million for the same period a year ago. 

Revenue was $346.5 million, an increase of 2.0% or $6.9 million from $339.6 million a year ago. Comparable-store sales to core domestic hardware store outlets were up 2.8% at wholesale and 4.5% at retail for the quarter.

The cooperative posted a quarterly net margin of $18.7 million, an increase of 21.4%, or $3.3 million, versus $15.4 million one year ago. In 2013 alone, 25 new DTV stores have opened and 34 stores have remodeled to the co-op’s proven DTV format.

“We had a solid third quarter," said president and CEO John Hartmann. "We have rebounded from the lackluster spring selling season, which affected most of the country, and are gaining traction with our retailers’ who are adding our new farm, ranch, auto and pet products in their stores. These popular categories are driving incremental business, up more than 17% so far this year.”

For the nine months ended Sept. 28, True Value reported gross billings of $1,442.7 million, an increase of 0.7%, or $9.7 million, from $1,433.0 million for the same period a year ago. Revenue was $1,070.8 million, an increase of 1.2%, or $12.2 million, from $1,058.6 million a year ago.

Comparable-store sales to core domestic hardware store outlets were up 2.0% in the nine-month period. The 2013 year-to-date net margin was $42.9 million, down 6.3%, or $2.9 million, from $45.8 million one year ago. Total debt of $204.3 million was down $1.5 million from one year ago.

“Our strong profit increase in the quarter was the result of the volume increase and favorable mix and margin rates in the home, seasonal and tool departments,” said Hartmann. 

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Hardware Store All-Stars: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island

BY HBSDEALER Staff

HCN congratulates the 50 hardware store, home center and farm and ranch retailers who made the annual HCN Hardware Store All-Star list.

Now in its third year, HCN’s annual list of high performers recognizes hardware stores — one from each state — that are outstanding in their field. The complete list and analysis can be found in the September issue of HCN. Meanwhile, HCN Daily will work its way across the country with mini profiles, continuing this week with Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Massachusetts: If anyone understands the star-quality appeal of a happy employee, it’s Lauren and Marilyn Baskin of Baskin’s True Value in South Yarmouth. It’s been in the family for over 30 years, but in many ways, that family has come to encompass its loyal staff. From the average manager, who’s been there for about 20 years, all the way down to the floor employee running on an average of 10 years with the store, it’s a strong staff with the knowledge and power to make informed decisions. What’s their secret? Great benefits, which include a complete healthcare package, certainly don’t hurt.

Connecticut: Owner Scott Pesavento began his hardware retailing education early — at the tender age of 14, he was spending nights and weekends learning the family business from his father. But that’s not the only reason why Fairfield’s Hemlock Hardware is all-star material. Pesavento puts employees front and center with monthly store meetings and a collaborative spirit that engages the whole team. A complimentary fertilizer application service for his customers is a nice touch too.

Rhode Island: In Rhode Island, Wyoming Hardware Do it Best owner Rick Osborne describes his business style as “a retailer first, and a hardware guy second.” For instance, when the economy started to turn bad six years ago, Osborne sat down with a pad and paper and looked objectively at where to cut.

“We had to have a plan,” he told HCN. “We had to rein in the inventory. We certainly don’t believe in out of stocks, but we had to make a change.”

Fast action in the down years helped pave the way for the store to ride the recovery today. Wyoming Hardware is a member of Lets Buy Local, Buy Local RI and Independent We Stand, as well as the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. Check out Rick’s friendly message here.

Next week, HCN will highlight All-Stars in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.

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Ben’s Supercenter announces Ace affiliation and expansion

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ben’s Supercenter, located in Brown City and Marlette, Mich., has announced that its stores will affiliate with Ace Hardware and expand to a third location in Marlette.

Ben’s Supercenter, a third-generation family business lead by second-generation owner Jim Zyrowski, was established in 1965. The stores offer farm and pet supply products and full-scale grocery departments, including a deli, bakery and Butcher Shop, plus local produce. Additionally, Ben’s Supercenter stores offer in-store dining, movie rentals, Ehardt’s Pharmacies and Tri-County Bank branches.

“With Ace, we see significant growth in our future,” Zyrowski said. “We were instantly attracted to the power of the Ace name, as well as the marketing and advertising opportunities that are now available to us.”

The newest Ben’s Supercenter is expected to open November 2013 and will be located at 6541 Plaza Dr. in Marlette, Mich. 

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