Huttig achieves 6% growth in Q3
Huttig Building Products experienced growth across all of its product categories in the third quarter, resulting in a net sales gain of 6%.
Net sales came in at $192.8 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up 6.1% from the previous year's revenues.
The company primarily attributed the growth to higher levels of construction activity, the addition of a new product line and the acquisition completed the quarter prior.
Millwork sales increased 10%, building products sales increased 2%, and wood product sales increased 8%.
Gross margin of 21.5% was up from the previous year's margin of 20.5%.
Net income was $4.7 million, well below the previous year's $20.5 million, however.
The company told investors an income tax expense of $2.5 million was recognized for the quarter ended Sept. 30. In the previous year's quarter, an income tax benefit of $17.4 million was regcognized. The big swing came as the company last year released a significant portion of its valuation allowance related to federal and certain state net operating loss carryforwards.
“We are pleased with our performance in the third quarter, especially in light of the sluggish growth in the single family new construction segment in recent months,” said Jon Vrabely, Huttig’s president and CEO. “We expect to see continued growth and profitability as we execute on our strategies to accelerate our growth, and invest in our people and in our technology platform.”
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[NOTE: The above story has been adjusted to include the year-over-year change in tax benefits.]
Westlake builds in its own backyard
Westlake Ace Hardware’s newest location opened over the weekend in Overland Park, Kansas, bringing its total store count to 96, with 20 in the Kansas City metro area.
“It’s a significant milestone for us to open our 20th store in the Kansas City area as we continue to grow and expand our brand,” said Tom Knox, CEO of Westlake Ace Hardware, based in nearby Lenexa, Kansas. “Our mission is to be ‘The Helpful Place’ and we look forward to serving our Overland Park customers in this new location. We strive to help our customers keep their households running smoothly by providing the highest level of service, products and know-how.”
The grand opening ceremonies lasted all weekend and included a board-cutting ceremony, merchandise discounts, vendor demos, and prize drawings.
Westlake, a subsidiary of Ace Hardware Corp. since 2012, operates retail stores in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
Earlier this month, the chain opened its 10th store in Texas.
True Value to add ship-to-consumer
Beginning in January, True Value Company’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce capabilities will be ramped up to more than 90% of the country.
The move is the result of what CEO John Hartmann calls “critical investment in our logistics and distribution systems,” and brings “Amazon-prime-level capability” to the reach of the vast majority of True Value dealers.
Improvements and upgrades at distribution centers – one nearly completed and two others scheduled for completion in January – will allow them to provide 2-day direct-ship capabilities direct to consumer from the distribution network.
The developments were announced during the co-op’s Denver Reunion in mid September. Hartmann added color during a recent post Reunion interview with HBSDealer.
“This is real, this is now, this is live,” he said. “We've got one [DC] nearly completed, and two others coming online at the end of January. In addition to our ship-to-store capability that hundreds of our stores participate in, we will add dynamic two-day ground-ship to consumer for 94% of the country. And we got huge – huge — positive feedback for that. Because our stores know that our consumers want to have the ability to buy our products and get them shipped to their home, just like they would from Amazon or any one of the other competitors in the channel.”
At the Reunion, the announcement generated one of the loudest eruptions of audience applause, he said. And the reason for the enthusiasm is the consumer demand. The benefits of order-online-pickup-in-store are routinely promoted throughout the retail industry. But in today’s world, more options means more relevance, he said.
“We know that we have a very strong competence and our stores aren't going anywhere,” Hartmann said. “But we also recognize that we want to stay modern and relevant for the current generation of consumer. The consumer is asking for the ability to ship to the store and we have that. She's asking to have it shipped to her home when it's not convenient to go to the store, and our members are also asking for that.”