NRF launches Small Business Retail Council
The National Retail Federation is making an effort to better serve Main Street merchants and independent retailers via the launch of the Small Business Retail Council, which it announced during this week’s Retail Advocates Summit.
The SBRC is aimed at recruiting and engaging small business owners in various grassroots advocacy activities, as well as providing a forum for members to discuss the public policy issues that affect them most.
“We are bringing together some of the retail sector’s best small business leaders to build upon their integral role in drafting and shaping public policy,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Working with our state retail association partners, we hope to amplify the voice of small retailers in advancing the retail community’s agenda. The Small Business Retail Council will enhance and strengthen the partnership between small business owners and NRF, and optimize industry engagement on our common goals.”
The NRF is electing two co-chairs to the council, who will lead a small steering committee tasked with laying out priorities and coordinating the group’s activities. Members will include independent retailers from around the country and various small retailers who currently serve on the NRF’s board of directors, including Dave Ratner of Dave’s Soda and Pet City of Agawam, Massachusetts and Beth Aberg, owner of D.C.-based Random Harvest.
Tripp Smith named VP sales at EarthTronics
Muskegon, Michigan-based energy-efficient lighting company EarthTronics has named Tripp Smith to the post of VP sales. Smith brings over 30 years of lighting experience to bear on his new role, in which he will be charged with increasing sales opportunities and profit, as well as expanding market share in North America.
Over 22 years of his career were spent at GE Lighting, where he performed in various sales and leadership capacities in the company’s retail and commercial lighting businesses.
“Tripp has consistently demonstrated an ability for forward-thinking that produces strong, sustainable sales results, while driving top- and bottom-line benefits throughout his career,” said Kevin Youngquist, EVP North America. “His expertise will be very important to EarthTronics as we continue to create and deliver energy efficient lighting solutions for our distributors, retailers and customers.”
His resume also includes stints at Philips Lighting, Osram Sylvania Lighting, Lithonia Lighting and Feit Electric.
Lumber Liquidators reports sales in line with lowered guidance
After a delay of several days, Lumber Liquidators has released its second-quarter earnings report, which reflected an estimated aggregate net sales shortfall of up to $18 million in certain product categories. Net sales for the quarter still increased, however, by 2.3%, totaling $263.1 million (compared with $257.1 million in the same quarter last year).
Comparable-store sales decreased by 7.1%, with the average sale declining 1.8%. Net income was $16.6 million for the three months ended June 30, down 18.7% from last year’s $20.4 million.
The report comes on the heels of a revised full-year guidance from Lumber Liquidators, which caused its stock to plummet in recent days. Its full-year 2014 outlook now stands at net sales in the range of $1.05 billion to $1.10 billion, and earnings per diluted share in the range of $2.65 to $3.00.
"Our second-quarter net sales and earnings per diluted share were in line with our revised expectations communicated earlier this month," said president and CEO Robert Lynch. "Despite the challenges we faced in the second quarter and results that were not at the level we would have hoped, our value proposition is as strong and relevant as ever to our customers. We remain focused on continuous improvement across our operations and implementing our multi-year strategic initiatives to position the company for long-term growth."
Gross margin came in at 40.4% last quarter, down from 41.3% in the second quarter of 2013. Lumber Liquidators primarily attributed this to adverse net shifts in sales mix, greater discounting at the point of sale and higher net transportation costs.