Sears Hometown and Outlet slips in Q1
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, the former division of Sears Holdings that spun off in October, posted first quarter sales of $601.1 million, down 3.2% from the first quarter last year.
Net income for the quarter ended May 4 was $15.0 million, down from $20.6 million in last year’s first quarter.
Same-store sales of lawn and garden, the retail company’s second-largest category, dropped 45% in the first two months, the company said, as cool weather took its toll. The category improved significantly in April, when it showed comp-store sales gains of 4.2%
"Sales were below last year due to the impact of unusually cool weather in February and March," said Bruce Johnson, CEO and president. He said comps for most other categories, not counting consumer electronics, were positive during the first quarter.
As of May 4, the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company operated 1,253 stores. Sears Hometown stores sell appliances, tools, lawn and garden, sporting goods and household goods. Outlet stores are designed to offer discontinued, obsolete, used or reconditioned merchandise at deep discounts.
More AHMA members report growing sales
A monthly American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) survey suggests sales are up across the membership.
In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 67% of respondents said sales were higher in May versus year-ago levels, up from 56% in April. For May, 19% reported sales were even, and 14% said sales were below year-ago levels.
“Improving consumer confidence, a rebounding housing market and stability in the employment situation are combining to fuel higher sales for home improvement industry manufacturers,” said Tim Farrell, president and CEO of the Schaumburg, Ill.-based AHMA. “But the potential for even better sales still exists if the overall economic situation in the country begins to show stronger signs of sustainable growth.”
Looking forward six months, 62% of May respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, up from 56% in April. In May, 29% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months, and 9% expect sales to be below current levels.
Orchard Supply’s new format expands
Orchard Supply Hardware’s neighborhood format is spreading.
The San Jose, Calif.-based hardware and garden chain announced the planned grand re-opening event of its Van Nuys, Calif., store on June 8. The store will mark the chain’s 17th new neighborhood format.
One of the new features of the format, according to the store’s designers, is better “in-and-out convenience than big-box home improvement stores.”
The newly remodeled 41,800-sq.-ft. Van Nuys store offers new features, improved aisle navigation and double the nursery space at almost 10,000 sq. ft., with a variety of locally sourced plants and products, according to the company.
“Orchard Supply Hardware’s neighborhood store format is an ideal fit for the Van Nuys community, which takes pride in its homes, lawns and gardens and likes to shop locally,” said Mark Baker, Orchard president and CEO. “We are very pleased with the continued execution of our repositioning strategy, as we bring our new store format to this longtime Orchard location, following on the recent opening of our Yorba Linda store as well as our entry into two new markets in Oregon. As we open new and remodeled stores, our customers are responding positively to the new features and enhanced shopping environment."
With this remodel completed, Orchard will have brought its total number of neighborhood format stores to 17. The company continues to expect to reach a total of approximately 20 stores, or more than 20% of the portfolio, in the new format by fiscal year-end.
The Van Nuys store, which has been in operation since 1965, is located at 5960 Sepulveda Blvd. at Oxnard Street.
Festivities will include customer giveaways and sweepstakes, including $25 Orchard gift certificates, vendor product demonstrations and free knife sharpening in the store’s new “Workbench” area.