HARDWARE STORES

Orchard Supply to open in former Kmart

BY Ken Clark

Orchard Supply Hardware will open a 50,000-sq.-ft. store in Torrance, Calif., showcasing the company’s new store format. 

The South Bay store at 19330 Hawthorne Blvd., the site of a former Kmart store, will open Sept. 1 and marks the company’s 89th store in the state of California.

The layout is based on a race-track configuration, which maximizes traffic flow and helps the customer find items quickly. The store also features an expanded and centralized customer-service area referred to as the “Workbench”, where customers get assistance with basic hardware needs, such as tool and knife sharpening, rescreening, lock rekeying, custom-cutting of rope, screens and other materials, and pipe threading. Additionally, an enlarged paint area highlights Orchard’s expansive, high-quality Benjamin Moore paint selection and a spacious indoor/outdoor nursery and garden supply area offers direct access from the parking lot. 

The South Bay store also features a distinctive new interior look, described by Orchard Supply as “warm, functional and colorful.” The new design was piloted at Orchard’s San Jose Princeton Plaza store, which opened in September 2011 and will be phased in across the store base over time. 

“We offer a welcoming, low-stress shopping experience and a broad range of products that are carefully selected for the local neighborhood,” said Mark Baker, president and CEO. “We believe our formula will enable Orchard to ‘own’ the neighborhood market for home repair and maintenance, painting and especially backyard living.” 

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Orchard Supply sees Q2 comps increase

BY Ken Clark

Orchard Supply Hardware Stores reported an increase in comparable-store sales for the second quarter ended July 28 of 0.9%. Preliminary net sales were $194.0 million compared with $196.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2011.

"We are pleased to deliver positive comparable store sales for the quarter," said Mark Baker, president and CEO. "However, the environment remains challenging and our business was more promotional than anticipated, which will likely impact margins in the second quarter. We continue to expect positive comparable-store sales for fiscal 2012, as our in-store marketing and merchandising initiatives gain increased traction during the second half of the year."

The company also announced that on July 27, 2012, it completed a sale-leaseback transaction with a national REIT for six properties, generating gross proceeds of approximately $43 million. Approximately $25 million of the net proceeds were used to pay-off the company’s Real Estate Secured Term Loan in its entirety, while approximately $8 million of the balance of the net proceeds will be used to pay down the Company’s Senior Secured Term Loan.

Baker added: "This transaction enables us to reduce our debt, while at the same time providing additional capital to continue the transformation of our store portfolio. Our new store concept that was first unveiled in September 2011 is generating improved productivity and has met with positive response from our customers. By the end of fiscal 2012, we expect to have a combination of 12 new and remodeled Orchard stores operating in this format."

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Aubuchon Hardware bolsters cancer research

BY Ken Clark

The northeast hardware chain is supporting  “A Chance for Kids,” which runs through Sept. 3. The goal: $50,000 for pediatric cancer research.

Aubuchon Hardware has high goals for its initial partnership with the “A Chance for Kids” program to raise money for pediatric cancer research. 

Through Sept. 3, customers can help fight childhood cancers by giving $1 to the Jimmy Fund through the A Chance for Kids program. The 120-store hardware store chain’s goal is to raise more than $50,000 for pediatric cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“It is a unique privilege for us to partner with Dana-Farber and the other retail establishments involved in the ‘A Chance for Kids’ program. We have some of the most wonderful and loyal customers, and I hope that they embrace this fundraising effort as much as all of us here at Aubuchon Hardware,” said M. Marcus Moran Jr., president and CEO of Westminster, Mass.-based Aubuchon Hardware.

With each contribution, customers will receive a promotion card guaranteed to be a winner, with prizes including all-inclusive resort vacations, airline tickets, theme park admissions and merchandise discounts at Aubuchon Hardware, Olympia Sports and on Burger King food.

Now celebrating its 13th anniversary, the A Chance for Kids program has raised more than $10.9 million for Dana-Farber. The "A Chance for Kids" program has helped fund pediatric cancer research and care at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. The innovative research benefits young cancer patients at Dana-Farber, as well as patients around the world.

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