HARDWARE STORES

Lowe’s to buy assets of Orchard Supply

BY HBSDEALER Staff

As part of Orchard Supply Hardware’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company has reached an agreement for Lowe’s to purchase the majority of its assets for $205 million in cash, plus the assumption of payables owed to nearly all of Orchard’s supplier partners. Under the terms of the agreement, Lowe’s, serving as “stalking horse bidder,” would acquire no less than 60 of Orchard’s stores, based on further due diligence on the store locations.

Orchard expects to operate its overall business and the majority of its stores as usual during its financial restructuring and has secured $177 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Wells Fargo Bank.

The retailer expects to pay suppliers in the normal course for all goods and services delivered on or after June 17, 2013, with payment for goods and services delivered prior to the filing addressed through the Chapter 11 process. Orchard Supply anticipates Lowe’s will assume responsibility for most of those payments.

Orchard says it will operate as a separate, standalone business at the completion of the sale process, retaining its brand, management team and associates. The chain was spun off a standalone business from Sears in 2011. 

“The steps we are taking today allow us to definitively address our balance sheet issues in order to fully execute on our brand transformation and growth strategies,” said Mark Baker, Orchard president and CEO. “We believe that Lowe’s offer is a validation of Orchard’s unique market opportunity and of our strategy to capture it. We are confident the steps we are taking today will allow us to achieve our financial and operational goals.”

Robert A. Niblock, chairman, president and CEO of Lowe’s, said Orchard has a good business model but has been saddled with debt, and the retailer’s neighborhood stores complement Lowe’s big-box stores and will also boost Lowe’s presence in California. 

“Strategically, the acquisition will provide us with immediate access to Orchard’s high density, prime locations in attractive markets in California, where Lowe’s is currently underpenetrated, and will enable us to participate more fully in California’s economic recovery,” said Niblock. 

The transaction is expected to be consummated through a court-supervised process under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and is subject to an auction and bankruptcy court approval.

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Parr Lumber’s Weekend Warriors extends its reach

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Oregonian lumberyard Parr Lumber has widened its sphere of influence via the Pacific Northwest’s AM radio frequency. Its increasingly popular Weekend Warriors Home Improvement Radio Show has been picked up by stations across Oregon and Washington to deliver down-to-earth advice and market knowledge to homeowners throughout the region.

According to host Corey Valdez, Weekend Warriors is the only radio show in the nation that’s backed by a lumberyard, and it’s unique in its ability to draw on years of experience in the home improvement industry to deliver expert product recommendations in a conversational format.

Together with Tony Cookston, Valdez has been at the reins of Weekend Warriors for upwards of two years, but its recent expansion is an unprecedented advancement for the two radio personalities. Cookston and Valdez are both longtime employees of Parr Lumber; each brings something different to the table. The long-running joke is that Cookston is the "personality" and the bearer of product knowledge, while Valdez is the "know-how" with the handyman approach.

"We just like to have fun," said Valdez. "We want to help people stay inspired — a house isn’t maintance-free."

Listeners can submit questions via Facebook, email, text and more, though Weekend Warriors takes a more curated approach than shows like Handyman Bob, which invite listeners to call in to the show. Listeners will often ask for specific product recommendations, and the show will address pertinent topics, as well as provide an informative and entertaining synopsis of the market.

Weekend Warriors broadcasts on AM 860 in Portland on Saturdays and Sundays. It is now also available on the following AM stations: KPAM, KBND, KUGN, KWRO, KACI, KMED, KAST, KNPT, KEDO, KFLD, KGY and KVI.

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True Value brings Discover to retail

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based True Value Co. is in the early stages of the launch of its Discover credit card program, and expectations are high, according to the co-op.

“Our new credit card program provides retailers with many strategic advantages to strengthen existing customer relationships while attracting new customers and driving retail growth,” said Blake Fohl, VP marketing and chief customer officer for True Value Company. “Introducing the True Value Discover card program this spring is just one of the ways True Value continues to support our retailers and their customers.” 

The program connects retailers to consumers with new offerings that pass financial benefits and incentives along to the consumer with zero to minimal costs for True Value retailers, according to the co-op. The card program, issued by Alliance Data, utilizes the unique capabilities of the Discover network and its millions of merchant locations.

In a press release Wednesday, the co-op shared some of the business metrics behind the card program that was launched in March. Participating retailers immediately experienced increased sales and transaction sizes, with the average True Value Discover card transaction exceeding $330. The program currently has a 70% credit approval rate for customers applying for the card, which is higher than most programs of similar size, the co-op said. 

True Value customers also experience significant benefits through the True Value Discover card’s 3-2-1 rewards model. Customers receive a 3% reward on all True Value purchases, a 2% reward on all gas and grocery purchases and a 1% reward on all other purchases made with the card.

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