DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Merchandise drives traffic at True Value market

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Two notable newcomers appearing at the True Value Fall Market show floor in Salt Lake City were Stihl power tools and Benjamin Moore paints. 

Loyalty to national brands drives traffic, according to True Value senior VP and chief merchandising officer Mike Clark.

Clark also stressed the value of private label, and explained the co-op’s internal strategy for its private-label program, including Master Mechanic and Green Thumb products. The idea is to ensure each private-label SKU features the same benefits at a lower price than a national brand, or more benefits at the same price as a national brand.

It’s a tall order, but Clark pointed to statistics from Nielsen research that showed 75% of consumers feel private brands are a good alternative, and 63% of consumers feel “quality is just as good.”

The True Value Fall Market in Salt Lake City also showcased the co-op’s expansion into Farm and Ranch, which was arranged like a store within the show floor at the Salt Palace Convention Center. 

The essential planograms were on display, along with live chicks and small ponies.

“What we’re providing here is the category management that is so needed in this industry,” said Kevin Rewerts, divisional VP automotive-pet-farm and ranch. 

The co-op’s vision for growth is ambitious. A stated goal to grow its pet, automotive, farm and ranch business by more than $100 million over the next four years.

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Live from Utah: Top 10 retail keys

BY Ken Clark

Salt Lake City – The good news about True Value’s Top 10 list of things retailers have to do to win in today’s world is that many retailers are already doing them.

The bad news is that the list might change.

That was one of the messages True Value Co. CEO Lyle Heidemann delivered to members gathered here at the Salt Palace Convention Center for the co-op’s Fall Market. His General Session speech of Top 10 keys to winning at retail ranged from e-commerce to female friendliness to the need to be open to change. 

“The one thing I’ve learned over the past 45 years is that if you’re in the retail business you constantly need to be changing or you’re simply falling behind,” Heidemann said. “These 10 things I’ve outlined this morning are the price of entry to ‘winning at retail.’ But I also know that next year there will be some new things we’ll have to address.” 

Here is his list:

1. E-commerce: Online home improvement online sales are 4% today and are expected to be more than 10% by 2015. “We must be part of this growth,” he said.

2. Gift cards: The co-op has sold more than 40,000 gift cards at more than $1.5 million, resulting in more than 50,000 transactions.

3. Social media: Younger consumers are “consumed” by social media, Heidemann said. “We need to learn how to communicate with these consumers and use their ways of communication to get our brand and product message to them.”

4. Reward programs: These are important for both existing and new customers.

5. Credit cards: In March 2013, True Value will launch three differenct credit cards, co-branded, private label and a commercial card. 

6. The female consumer: “She spends more time in our stores than a man, buys more items per shopping trip and shops more frequently. But she also has higher standards,” he said. 

7. Destination True Value: The co-op has more than 300 Destination True Value stores. These stores have a 7% sales advantage year to date over non-DTV stores.

8. Competitive pricing: Pricing plays an important role in the customer’s first impression of a retailer.

9. Marketing and branding: “We, you and the co-op, need to do a better, more consistent job of marketing and branding our stores,” Heidemann said.

10. Openess to change: “I know you’re all independent,” Heidemann said. “But I challenge you to embrace these 10 items and continue to be open to change.”

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Taylor’s opens another Virginia Beach store

BY Ken Clark

Taylor’s Do it Center of Virginia Beach, Va., celebrated the grand opening of its 11th store Saturday. 

The hardware store retailer’s newest store is in the Courthouse Marketplace shopping center in Virginia Beach. The store is the chain’s fifth in Virginia Beach.

 “It was an old fashioned grand opening with a board cutting, the mayor and chief of police,” said marketing manager Tom Townsend. The store’s soft opening took place in August.

Taylor’s Do it Center is a member of the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op Do it Best Corp. Owners Joe Taylor and Russ Taylor are brothers of Do it Best Corp. CEO Bob Taylor.

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