Retailers look ahead to Hardware Show
Many independent retailers say they are looking forward to a better year in 2011, including Chris Hughes, owner/president of Hardware Plus in Osceola, Ind. He said in recent months his store has seen double digit sales gains after spending the last year refocusing the product mix and pricing strategy.
Hughes will be attending the 2011 National Hardware Show to look at new programs, including remote controls for vehicles, which he says will complement his niche chip key business.
"As always, I will be looking for the next ‘big’ thing that would fit my market and customer base, and I will try to bring at least one thing back with me to use at the store," Hughes said. "This is easily accomplished from meeting other store owners, listening to the various speakers, or sometimes even vendors."
Hughes was one of dozens of hardware store owners who attended a series of focus groups sponsored by the National Hardware Show and National Retail Hardware Association and designed to glean information on the state of the industry and what retailers are looking for at the Show.
Brent Dennis, owner of the Dennis Company of Raymond, Wash., said his sales were down 3.5% in 2010, but with some new jobs opening up in his area, he is projecting a 1% sales increase this year. As for what Dennis looks for in a trade show like the National Hardware Show, he said, "Like always, I’m looking for new exciting programs that will drive customers into our stores…that will make Dennis Company different, a unique shopping experience. We will search out buys on basic merchandise that will increase my gross margin and research services that can lower our cost of doing business."
The National Hardware Show will take place in Las Vegas May 10-12.
Vereen retires from export group
After 30-plus years, Bob Vereen has retired from the Worldwide DIY Council, an association of active U. S. and Canadian exporters.
He joined the group as executive secretary when it consisted of a dozen members who wanted to network with each other about export opportunities and built it up to a membership of nearly 150 at its peak.
Along the way, the organization began inviting key retailing executives to address its members at annual and midyear meetings, including DIY pioneers like Christian DuBois, founder of France’s Castorama, and Manfred Maus, longtime leader of Germany’s OBI chain.
Under Vereen’s direction, it began sponsoring group pavilions in trade shows in emerging markets such as Poland’s BUDMA and Mexico’s Expo Nacional Ferretera, as well as in established DIY markets such as the UK and France. Last year, under Executive Secretary Don Droesch, the Council had a group pavilion at the International Hardware Fair in Cologne, Germany, for the first time.
One of the group’s sales-building efforts was to gather catalogs from members, put them in giant 3-ring binders and have them shipped by the Commerce Department to the libraries of U. S. embassies around the world, where interested agents, retailers and distributors could examine the catalogs and contact members of the group.
Camping and picnic debuts at National Hardware Show
The 2011 National Hardware Show to be held May 10-12 in Las Vegas will be organized to showcase a variety of major categoris, and will offer a new product debut with camping and picnic.
Organizers of the 2011 National Hardware Show are expecting "the strongest and most diverse lineup of buyers" ever to attend its event.
The 2011 event — to be held May 10-12 in Las Vegas — will feature a lineup of seminars, Social Networking Roundtables and product demonstrations, and also a variety of products offered across seven categories: Hardware & Tools; Homewares; Lawn & Garden/Outdoor Living; Paint & Accessories; Plumbing & Electrical; Storage & Organization; and Tailgating. Core product categories will also be showcased in the show’s International Sourcing area, along with a new product debut of camping and picnic.
More than 2,300 manufacturers will be exhibiting at a nearly sold-out National Hardware Show.
According to organizers, the attendee list includes names from non-traditional retailers like grocery chains, including Wakefern/ShopRite and Price Chopper, and mass merchant/specialty/internet catalog companies like Target, Amazon.com, QVC and Home Shopping Network. Also represented are wholesale clubs (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJs); hardware cooperatives (Ace, True Value, Do it Best and Home Hardware); hardlines distributors (Pro Group, Distribution America and Orgill); drug store chains (CVS); and lawn/garden/outdoor living distributors (Gro Group, Commerce Corp. and Foster’s).