HARDWARE STORES

Loss widens at Orchard Supply Hardware

BY Ken Clark

San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Hardware posted deeper losses for its fourth quarter and full year.

For the quarter, the company’s net loss was $33.57 million, compared with a net loss of $7.24 million in the same quarter last year. For the full year, the net loss swelled to $118.38 million, compared with $14.45 million in the previous year. 

Sales for the 89-store hardware and garden stores that focuses on paint, repair and the backyard were $153.09 million in the fourth quarter, up from $141.58 million a year ago. For the full year, sales declined slightly to $657.3 million, down from $660.5 million.

Comparable-store sales on a 52-week basis were down 0.2%.

Still, CEO Mark Baker pointed to signs of “significant progress.”

“We continue to expect comparable store sales growth of 9% to 11% in the first quarter, reflecting our team’s focused efforts during the important spring selling season,” Baker said. “Looking at the balance of the year, we hope to carry this momentum into the second quarter and deliver solid operating results for fiscal 2013.”

So far in 2013, Orchard has opened new stores in Portland and Tigard, Oregon and one in Yorba Linda, Calif., and completed remodels on three locations, which bring Orchard’s total number of neighborhood format stores to 16. Including these store openings, Orchard continues to expect to open at least four new stores and to remodel at least six existing locations, reaching a total of about 20 stores, or more than 20% of the portfolio in the new format, by the end of the year.

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Rocky’s builds new store in Fairhaven, Mass.

BY Ken Clark

Springfield, Mass.-based Rocky’s Ace Hardware, founded in 1926, will open a brand new store in Fairhaven, Mass. 

Construction at the new site will begin immediately, converting a relatively new space in the busy Fairhaven Stop & Shop Plaza into the newest Rocky’s location, expected to be open in September.

The store will be the family-owned chain’s 34th. When open, it will measure 12,500 sq. ft., featuring approximately 10,500 sq. ft. of selling space, plus a 2,000-sq.-ft. garden center. The store will be constructed with Green Technology and features advanced energy-saving lighting to help enhance the shopping experience while saving natural resources.

The store reflects the new concept of “Re-Discover Rocky’s,” with offerings of a traditional hardware store and much more, according to the company. 

“Soon a whole new audience of customers will acquaint themselves with our legendary customer service and enjoy the Rocky’s shopping experience we proudly offer,” said Rocco Falcone, president and CEO.

Craftsman tools, Clark + Kensington and Benjamin Moore paint, pet food and accessories and a complete lawn and garden center will be featured.

“The opening of a new store in Fairhaven strengthens our presence in the southeastern portion of Massachusetts and complements our stores in nearby Fall River and Middletown,” Falcone said.

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Former dealer opens another store — 20 years later

BY Ken Clark

Jim Cohen has been wanting to run a hardware store ever since he sold Central Hardware, a Brighton, Mo.-based chain of home improvement stores, in 1989. Founded by his great-grandfather in 1903, the company grew to about 38 stores in six states at its peak, according to an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

The chain was sold to a partnership that included the Belgian retailer GIB and an executive from Handy Andy Home Improvement Centers. Cohen stayed on board until 1992.

The company eventually declared bankruptcy and ended up closing in the mid-1990s.

Cohen spent the next two decades working as a consultant and looking for an opportunity to open another hardware store. Several deals fizzled out. But then the 65-year-old great-grandfather found what he was looking for at aSears Hardware location, which he opened last month in Overland, Mo. The urban setting is somewhat of a departure for the Sears small-town 6,500-sq.-ft. format.

Cohen think he can make it work using tried-and-true hardware retailing principles: greeting customers at the door. Six of the original Central Hardware employees or associates have already been hired.

Obviously, there are a number of locations where a concept like this can work,” Jim told the Post-Dispatch. “There’s a ton of real estate out there that I’ve looked at. After one year of setting down a firm foundation, then we’ll see where it goes.”

To read the entire interview with Cohen, click here.

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