Fifty winning retailers, state by state
The 2012 selections of Home Channel News Hardware Store All-Stars marks the second year of the state-by-state accounting of high-performance retailers. The common theme of “excellent customer service” runs through the entire list, but that’s just the beginning.
The list of Hardware Store All-Stars, one from each of the 50 U.S. states, continues with Illinois, Indiana and Iowa:
Fuller’s Home & Hardware
An historic two-story building — think brick walls, wooden floors and slate roofs — on the main street of Hinsdale presents a classic Ace hardware offering on the main floor, and a self-described “hardware store for cooks & more” in the store’s upscale, bordering on museum-quality housewares store called “The Second Floor.” At Fuller’s, cookware is in. But any cookie-cutter approach is out.
Owner Randall Jones has ridden an idea that turned his small town hardware store into a big-time supplier. Aggressively courting commercial customers with a cost-plus pricing plan. Customers range from a Wal-Mart distribution center, the local DePauw University and homeowners. Jones says none is more important than the other. In a town of 10,000, Headley ranked second among all Do it Best members in sales of Valspar paint products in 2011.
Akin Building Center
From its roots as a lumberyard, the rural, four-location hardware and LBM supplier has been going through significant renovations in the past four years — three remodel projects plus the conversion of an empty Kmart into a hardware store. “We’re working on a female-friendly type shopping environment,” said Scott Akin, third-generation owner of the Do it Best dealer. “We’re always upgrading our stores.” Among the keys to success: “Bright stores, colorful walls.”
Lowe’s reports sales and earnings gains
Lowe’s reported net earnings of $527 million for the quarter ended May 4, a 14.3% increase over the same period a year ago.
Sales for the quarter increased 7.9% to $13.2 billion from $12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2011.
Comparable-store sales for the quarter increased 2.6%, while comparable-store sales for the U.S. business increased 2.7%.
“We delivered solid results for the quarter, consistent with our expectation at the beginning of the year,” said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “While we capitalized on better than anticipated weather during most of the quarter, demand for seasonal products slowed toward the end.”
Lowe’s results follow a few days after its rival Home Depot announced first-quarter sales and earnings increases of 5.9% and 27.5%, respectively.
Included in the results is a charge related to a previously announced reduction in staff at U.S. headquarters. This charge reduced pre-tax earnings for the first quarter by $17 million.
“We continue to maintain a cautious view of the housing and macro demand environment, and are focused on what we can control,” Niblock added. “We are building on our core strengths and strategically investing in ways that will better position Lowe’s for success. I would like to express my gratitude to our employees for their continued dedication and customer focus.”
Lowe’s operate 1,747 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, representing 196.7 million sq. ft. of retail selling space.