DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Live from Utah: Top 10 retail keys

BY Ken Clark

Salt Lake City – The good news about True Value’s Top 10 list of things retailers have to do to win in today’s world is that many retailers are already doing them.

The bad news is that the list might change.

That was one of the messages True Value Co. CEO Lyle Heidemann delivered to members gathered here at the Salt Palace Convention Center for the co-op’s Fall Market. His General Session speech of Top 10 keys to winning at retail ranged from e-commerce to female friendliness to the need to be open to change. 

“The one thing I’ve learned over the past 45 years is that if you’re in the retail business you constantly need to be changing or you’re simply falling behind,” Heidemann said. “These 10 things I’ve outlined this morning are the price of entry to ‘winning at retail.’ But I also know that next year there will be some new things we’ll have to address.” 

Here is his list:

1. E-commerce: Online home improvement online sales are 4% today and are expected to be more than 10% by 2015. “We must be part of this growth,” he said.

2. Gift cards: The co-op has sold more than 40,000 gift cards at more than $1.5 million, resulting in more than 50,000 transactions.

3. Social media: Younger consumers are “consumed” by social media, Heidemann said. “We need to learn how to communicate with these consumers and use their ways of communication to get our brand and product message to them.”

4. Reward programs: These are important for both existing and new customers.

5. Credit cards: In March 2013, True Value will launch three differenct credit cards, co-branded, private label and a commercial card. 

6. The female consumer: “She spends more time in our stores than a man, buys more items per shopping trip and shops more frequently. But she also has higher standards,” he said. 

7. Destination True Value: The co-op has more than 300 Destination True Value stores. These stores have a 7% sales advantage year to date over non-DTV stores.

8. Competitive pricing: Pricing plays an important role in the customer’s first impression of a retailer.

9. Marketing and branding: “We, you and the co-op, need to do a better, more consistent job of marketing and branding our stores,” Heidemann said.

10. Openess to change: “I know you’re all independent,” Heidemann said. “But I challenge you to embrace these 10 items and continue to be open to change.”

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Taylor’s opens another Virginia Beach store

BY Ken Clark

Taylor’s Do it Center of Virginia Beach, Va., celebrated the grand opening of its 11th store Saturday. 

The hardware store retailer’s newest store is in the Courthouse Marketplace shopping center in Virginia Beach. The store is the chain’s fifth in Virginia Beach.

 “It was an old fashioned grand opening with a board cutting, the mayor and chief of police,” said marketing manager Tom Townsend. The store’s soft opening took place in August.

Taylor’s Do it Center is a member of the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op Do it Best Corp. Owners Joe Taylor and Russ Taylor are brothers of Do it Best Corp. CEO Bob Taylor.

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Ace expresses year-to-date growth

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware Corp. announced growth and plans for expansion in priority markets across the country.

“Our aggressive, long-term growth strategy features a total package of resources and support to ensure a successful future for our retailers,” said Mike Berschauer, director, retail development for Ace Hardware. “After a prosperous second quarter focused on store activations and conversions, Ace is on track to achieve its goal of opening 170 new domestic stores in 2012.”

Ace retailers opened 30 stores in the first quarter and 36 stores in the second quarter for a total of 66 new activations year to date, an 8% increase compared with 2011.  

By region, Ace experienced 31 openings in the Midwest, Northeast and Atlantic Coast; 17 openings in the Southeast; and 18 openings in the West.  

Store conversions also increased. To date in 2012, 31 retail locations have converted to Ace Hardware from competitive formats — in comparison to 16 conversions in the first two quarters of 2011. A number of these openings and conversions are attributed to the launch of the Ace Hardware “Express” format, the co-op said. 

The Express format is designed specifically for stores with 5,000 sq. ft. or less. To date, there are Express format Ace Hardware locations in seven states across the United States – including California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

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