Huttig’s report reflects costs and investments
Huttig Building Products reported a slight gain in sales and a decline in net income in the second quarter, as the company pointed to investments and costs associatied with its new Huttig-Grip and Repair and Remodel growth initiatives.
The St. Louis-based company reported sales of $198.7 million, up slightly from $197.9 million in the same quarter last year. Net income was $2.2 million, down from $10. 4 million in the year-ago quarter.
“During the second quarter of 2017 we continued to make significant investments in the execution of our comprehensive strategic plan,” said Jon P. Vrabely, president and CEO of Huttig Building Products. “These investments in capital and operating expenses are required to fundamentally transform our business to consistently deliver profitable growth in the intermediate and long term.”
Operating expenses increased $5.9 million to $38.1 million in 2017, compared to $32.2 million in 2016. The increase was primarily due to higher costs as a result of hiring additional sales and warehouse personnel related to the company’s Huttig-Grip and Repair and Remodel growth initiatives.
The increase was also impacted by legal fees incurred defending our Huttig-Grip division’s right to compete in the fastener market as well as personnel and non-personnel costs. The company faces litigation from rival PrimeSource Building Products over the hiring of former high-ranking PrimeSource executives, including Mona Zinman and Robert Furio, to lead its fastener business.
Huttig operates 27 distribution centers serving 41 states.
Executive moves at Westlake Ace Hardware
Westlake Ace Hardware promoted current chief operating officer Joe Jeffries to president and COO, continuing to support CEO Tom Knox.
In addition, Andrew Schmitt will be promoted to the position of VP of operations for Westlake Ace Hardware. Schmitt currently holds the position of director of retail operations for the Western Division for Ace Hardware Corp.
“I am pleased to announce the promotion of Joe Jeffries to the role of president and COO of Westlake Ace Hardware,” Knox said. “Joe is a proven leader with an outstanding vision for operations, merchandising and new store development, as well as growth strategy design and implementation.
"I’m also excited to welcome Andy Schmitt to the Westlake Ace Hardware team. I worked with Andy extensively during our time at the Ace Hardware corporate headquarters — he will be an exceptional addition to our leadership team.”
Westlake Ace Hardware is the popular name of Ace Retail Holdings, the subsidiary of Oak Brook, Illinois-based Ace Hardware Corp.
Jeffries joined Westlake Ace Hardware in 2014 as the COO. Prior to joining Westlake Ace Hardware, Jeffries was CEO and COO at A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Inc., a regional chain of arts and crafts retail stores. Before that, Jeffries spent eight years with Office Depot, where he held several executive positions that oversaw retail store operations, space planning and visual presentation. He also spent 13 years with Home Quarters Warehouse, where he started his career.
Schmitt joined Ace Hardware in 2010 as senior finance manager. In 2011, he transitioned to the retail operations department, where he held various positions including director of retail operations for the Western Division, regional manager (Texas), and corporate manager of retail operations.
Prior to joining Ace, Schmitt was director of finance for Factory Card and Party Outlet, a division of Party City. He also held various financial and procurement roles with Allstate Insurance Company. Schmitt holds a bachelor of science degree in finance from Illinois State University and an MBA from Northern Illinois University.
In June 2017, Westlake Ace Hardware announced the acquisition of two new neighborhood hardware stores, bringing the chain’s total store count to 100 locations.
DA and PRO Group plan for meeting
Two major players in hardware distribution set the date for their Executive Planning Conference. Manufacturers will meet with Distribution America and PRO Group-affiliated distributors at the annual meeting Nov. 14-16, 2017.
Developing new business relationships and strengthening existing partnerships is the focus of the event. The three-day conference provides manufacturers the opportunity to meet face to face with key distributor executives. A golf tournament and other networking events are planned.
Event organizers say the EPC has paved the way for group manufacturers to gain traction within the network of Distribution America and PRO Group distributors. They provided the following comments from attendees.
• “The Executive Planning Conference is a cost effective and time saving way of meeting with the majority of our customers’ decision makers,” said Jake Golab, retail sales manager at B&K.
• “We implemented programs with key members that will drive sales of retail assortments and add more profit to the bottom line,” said Jeffrey Herrin, national account manager at Southwire Co.
The EPC will be held at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in Florida.