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Marketing Magic: One bag wonders

BY HBSDealer Staff

Atlanta, Georgia-based Quikrete’s One Bag Wonder contest dangled a first prize of $2,500 for creative DIYers to come up with home project made out of a bag of concrete mix. The winner was the maker of a toilet tank sink.

But according to Chad Corley, public relations director of Quikrete, another winner was the general concept of DIY concrete projects. “The whole idea was to challenge people to get creative with concrete, and encourage people to try it.”

It was so successful, Quikrete decided to make a coffee table book with the entries. The book features coffee tables (including a cover photo), as well as desk chairs, dog bowls, lamps, fire pits, bookends and laptop stands.

More than a hundred people entered the contest, including a mother-daughter team of bloggers who later turned their experience with concrete into a metric-busting video about concrete pumpkins.

The Great Concrete Pumpkin video, from Steph & Vicki of the Mother Daughter Projects blog, quickly went viral, according to Quikrete, with a total digital reach of some 30,000,000. Here’s the video:

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Executive moves at Lixil

BY HBSDealer Staff

Lixil Water Technology Americas, the business unit under which brands American Standard, DXV and Grohe operate, has announced that Jill Albanese has been appointed chief human resources officer and Troy Benavidez has been named vice president, public affairs.

Jill Albanese brings over 25 years of experience in the field of human resources to her new position as chief human resources officer. She joined the company in January 2014 as senior director of talent, rewards and culture, with responsibility for design and execution of processes for performance and talent management, employee development, compensation, and benefits.

Prior to joining American Standard, Albanese served as workforce analytics leader at Merck.

As VP, public affairs, Troy Benavidez will work closely with the members of the Lixil Executive Team to cohesively represent and protect the company’s interests in civic matters to support near and long-term objectives. He will lead corporate communications, social responsibility, government relations, as well as work with industry trade groups and serve as the company spokesperson.

Benavidez previously served in various corporate and global public affairs roles for the pharmaceutical industry at Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

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Tractor Supply shows gains, despite headwinds

BY HBSDealer Staff

Tractor Supply Company is feeling the effects of the depressed economic conditions in the energy producing and agricultural markets, but the retailer still grew net sales and net income in the third quarter.

The nation’s largest farm and ranch retailer reported third quarter net sales of $1.54 billion, up 4.5% from $1.48 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income increased 2.4% to $89.4 million.

Comparable store sales declined 0.6%, while comparable average ticket decreased 1.1%.

The official word from CEO Greg Sandfort suggests that the company is not losing market share.

"Our third quarter sales performance was significantly influenced by economic headwinds in our energy and agricultural markets and lower pre-season demand for cold weather and heating products,” Sandfort said. “We do not believe the current trends are the result of significant changes in the competitive landscape or market share. During this more challenging environment, our teams are focused on driving sales and managing controllable items such as inventory and expenses. Over the long-term, we remain focused on enhancing our merchandise offerings, systems, people and processes to better meet the evolving needs of our customers, drive profitable growth and return value to our shareholders."

On a category basis, the company said it continued to see strong demand for many everyday basic items, with the Livestock and Pet category generating a mid-single digit comparable store sales increase.

Tractor Supply announced the acquisition of 136-store Petsense last month.

The company opened 34 new stores and closed one store, a Del's store, in the third quarter of 2016 compared to 30 new store openings and three store closures, two of which were Del's stores, in the prior year period.

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