May market emphasizes performance
Indianapolis — A number of innovations, events and product deals helped draw thousands of member-owners to the 2013 Do it Best May Market.
“From the strong member response at the Sneak Peek, to the solid attendance at our many seminars and training events and continuing out to the bustle on the market floor, we’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm among our members this weekend,” said Do it Best Corp. President and CEO Bob Taylor.
One of the points of emphasis on opening day of the May 18-20 market here at the Indiana Convention Center was the concept of performance. At the annual kickoff breakfast, Barry Wishner, president and CEO of ProFormance. In his message to Do it Best members, he showed how to jump start ideas and accelerate growth by questioning everything.
Before the official Saturday start of the market, attendees were able to take advantage of savings — some as high as 52% — at the annual Friday Night Sneak Peek event, during which select market vendors offered pricing exclusively to Do it Best members on a range of products. Member purchases reached $7.8 million during the 90-minutes event.
The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op promotes the savings associated with the Sneak Peek event as a an opportunity to more than offset the cost of attending the event.
Some of the tech advancements highlighted at the market include the latest enhancements to the mydoitbest.com member website along with a new mobile app for the iPad that brings together all the product and ordering information necessary to make buying decisions on the sales floor.
True Value Co. gross billings slip 0.9% in first quarter
Chicago-based True Value Co. reported first-quarter gross billings of $443.3 million, down 0.9% from the same quarter last year.
A nearly non-existent spring in many parts of the country hurt sales. The company also explained gross billings were affected by a decline in lumber and building material vendor direct-ship sales.
"While winter-related product sales exceeded the prior year, the general lack of spring weather this March versus last year was too much to overcome," said Lyle Heidemann, president ad CEO.
Last year, True Value retailers’ comp-store sales were up in the double digits, he said. This year, they were down a high single digit.
As the weather goes, so go sales. "In April and early May, for the parts of the country where spring has arrived, our retailers on average are experiencing double-digit increases in their retail comp-store sales."
The co-op’s revenue of $312.8 million was up 0.4%. The quarterly net margin of $0.4 million was down from $8.1 million in the same quarter last year.
The True Value co-op operates 4,500 independent retailer locations worldwide.
Handy welcomes DIP financing deal
Handy Hardware Wholesale said it welcomed the bankruptcy court approval of its debtor in possession (DIP) financing loan modification that brings funding from Littlejohn Management Holdings.
Littlejohn, which agreed to acquire Handy and shed its co-op structure as it emerges from bankruptcy, will provide a $4 million DIP loan, funding that will commence this week.
In a note to members, the Handy board wrote: “the financial support from Littlejohn, demonstrated through this loan participation in Handy’s revolving working capital facility, will help Handy raise its service levels for its Member Dealers from the current level of approximately 90% up to the mid 90s – a level to which Member Dealers are accustomed.”
Littlejohn Management Holdings is a Connecticut-based private equity firm with holdings in the wholesale distribution business and the hardware industry.
Under the plan, Handy will emerge from bankruptcy as a subsidiary of a Littlejohn portfolio company and maintain its Handy Hardware identity in the marketplace.
Handy says it expects the court to approve the plan in July.
The note to members pointed out that the Littlejohn acquisition has the approval of the Handy Board of Directors, Member Advisory Committee and Member Equity Committee. It added: “Littlejohn’s objective is to have Handy operate as an independent distributor of hardware related products consistent with Handy’s past though Handy will no longer be a member-owned Co-op.”