House-Hasson Hardware market turns on the tech
Technology and its role at retail will fuel discussions at the upcoming House-Hasson Hardware June dealer market.
The market is set for June 19-21 at the Sevierville Events Center, Sevierville, Tennessee, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
House-Hasson, which serves more than 2,000 dealers in 17 states and the Caribbean, will unveil for their hardware store and lumberyard dealers the company’s present – and future – technological advancements to help them be more profitable and efficient. These include e-mail via the “cloud”; virtualized computer systems, “Go Green” paperless warehouse operations; increasing warehouse bandwidth by a factor of 10; and other steps to ensure dealers have advanced technology serving them, said Don Hasson, president of House-Hasson Hardware.
“This is all about our dealers’ profitability,” Hasson said. “We’re looking forward to demonstrating to dealers what we’ve put in place to help them meet their individual profitability goals.
“We talk to dealers, ask them questions, and we put ourselves in their place to consider what we’d need and want to help our hardware store or lumberyard run well. That combination is leading to exciting technological developments. The company’s emphasis on technology enables dealers to communicate with their customers in a 21st Century fashion,” he said, “and if customers find it easy to do business at a hardware store or lumberyard they’re more likely to be loyal customers.
“Also, technology brings younger customers into dealers’ stores, and that’s where the future is for our industry,” he said.
Ron Yatteau, House-Hasson online services director, will lead the technology seminar at 3 p.m. on June 19.
“By the end of the year we hope to completely discontinue analog ordering devices such as modems, faxes, phase-out of our CD Catalog, and move exclusively to these newer technologies,” Yatteau said.
“As technology changes it’s important to keep systems current to take advantages of new services, speed critical functions, and expand enterprise security,” Yatteau added.
Among other seminar topics: a demonstration of House-Hasson’s new assortment program, pricing tools, and the company’s news blog.
At Blain’s, Jane Blain Gilbertson named chief
Jane Blain Gilbertson assumed the role of CEO and sole owner of Blain Supply and Blain’s Farm and Fleet, taking over from her brother Robert Blain who will retire June 25.
Janesville, Wisconsin-based Blain’s Farm and Fleet was founded in 1955 and operates 35 farm and ranch locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. The company employs about 4,000.
In a statement announcing the transition, Blain Gilbertson added, "This has always been a family business, and it will continue to be a strong, family owned business. It was especially important to Robert, me and our respective families that we remain a close family as well through this transition, which we have already accomplished.
Robert Blain has served as president of the company since the death of Bert Blain in 1993.
During Robert’s 20 years as president, the companies opened stores in seven new markets taking the store count from 28 to 35 in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. The company also completely replaced eight existing stores with new facilities and underwent dozens of store expansions and remodels during that period.
The company will open its 36th store in Dubuque, Iowa, this fall.
Sears Hometown dips in Q1
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores net sales dipped 1.9% to $589.9 million for the 13-week period ended May 3.
Net income also failed to impress, dropping from approximately $15.0 million in 2013 to $3.68 million in 2014.
Like many others this quarter, president and CEO Bruce Johnson attributed the weak performance to the weather, as well as insufficient stock of high-margin appliances and a competitive retail market that was aggressively promotional.
"While these three items significantly affected the first quarter, we expect their balance-of-year impact to diminish," said Johnson. "In particular, we do not expect that weather will play a major role during the remainder of the fiscal year with respect to seasonal lawn and garden as this product category shrinks as a percentage of our total sales after June, and we saw more moderate weather in May."
Johnson added that the company’s sourcing initiatives are well underway, and the addition of more high-margin merchandise is likely to help boost sales.