Menards is Kansas bound
Menards may add the state of Kansas to its Midwestern empire with a big-box unit there in late 2009, according to published reports. The planning commission in Salina, Kan., a town of 46,000 people approximately 80 miles north of Wichita, have approved a preliminary site development plan for a new Menards store, according to the Salina Journal.
Theron Berg, a Menard’s representative, told the newspaper that the Eau Claire, Wis., retailer could open the store as soon as late 2009. Approximately 40 acres were rezoned from agricultural to commercial use in preparation for the retail development, according to the newspaper.
Menards, the industry’s third largest chain of home improvement stores, has a retail presence in 11 Midwestern states. The privately held company entered Missouri last year with a store in St. Joseph, on the northwestern border with Kansas. Menards is also reportedly planning a store in Manhattan, Kan., a college town of 52,000 people west of Topeka.
Big-box construction firm files Chapter 11
March Associates, a commercial construction firm that built several Home Depot and Lowe’s stores in northern New Jersey, has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 reorganization. The Wayne, N.J., firm listed assets of $5.9 million and liabilities of $4.8 million in its court filing.
Sloan & Co. of West Caldwell, N.J., an interior finishing company, holds the largest unsecured claim of $1.17 million. Also listed among the unsecured creditors is the Lakewood, N.J., branch of Ferguson, a division of Wolseley, with $190,943 in unpaid debt.
An attorney for March Associates told the Herald News that a dispute over a luxury condo project held up a $6 million payment to March Associates. After subcontractors began obtaining judgments against the construction firm for non-payment, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy protection to keep its creditors at bay, the lawyer said.
In addition to building big-box stores, March Associates was also known for erecting large shopping centers and public works projects such as the 42,000-square-foot municipal recreation center in Fair Lawn, N.J.
True Value revenue, profits rise in third quarter
Despite the depressed economy and home market, True Value reported positive results for the third quarter ending Sept. 27, including revenue of $493.1 million for an increase of 3 percent — or $14.6 million — from $478.5 million for the same period a year ago.
Comp-store sales to members rose 0.5 percent in the quarter, driven primarily by an increase in the lawn and garden category. New store revenue exceeded lost revenue from member terminations by $8.8 million in the quarter, which the co-op attributes to the success of the new Destination True Value format.
True Value posted a quarterly net margin of $20.5 million, an increase of 70.8 percent, or $8.5 million, versus $12 million a year ago. The profit increase was the result of higher sales, a higher gross margin rate, continued control of overhead expenses and the effect of $1.7 million of non-recurring expenses in 2007 related to a facility lease and a legal matter.
“I am pleased with the strength of our third-quarter financial performance,” said president and CEO Lyle Heidemann. “Positive comp-store sales growth and the opening of 14 new True Value stores in the third quarter is a very positive statement about the health of the co-op given the condition of the U.S. economy.”
Compiled results for the first three quarters of 2008 were not as positive. For the nine months ending Sept. 27, True Value reported revenue of $1,529.2 million, a decrease of 2.1 percent, or $32.2 million, from $1,561.4 million for the same period a year ago. Comp-store sales to members decreased 2.5 percent year-to-date. Categories with the largest declines include hand and power tools, seasonal, paint and electrical. New store revenue exceeded lost revenue from member terminations by $2.4 million for the year-to-date.
The 2008 year-to-date net margin was $44.2 million, down 7.3 percent, or $3.5 million, from $47.7 million in 2007. The year-to-date profit decline was driven primarily by lower sales volume and higher fuel costs, offset in part by $2.9 million in recoveries related to arbitration proceedings.
“Clearly, the Destination True Value store format has been well received by our retail members and consumers, alike,” said Heidemann. “The solid performance of these stores played a part in offsetting the impact of the slowing economy and the unfavorable sales comparison of a late spring in many areas of the country.”