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Sears swings to profit in first quarter

BY Ken Clark

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings posted net income of $189 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $165 million in the prior-year period.

After several rounds of closings of Kmart and Sears full-line stores in the past months, revenues decreased $270 million to $9.3 billion for the quarter ended April 28. Domestic comp-store sales declined 1.3% — 1.0% at Sears Domestic and 1.6% at Kmart. Sears also saw declines in its home appliances and consumer electronics categories.

But the company’s gross margin rate in 2012 improved 100 basis points over the prior year quarter, and CEO Lou D’Ambrosio described the results as “progress toward restoring profit growth and transforming our company." 

D’Ambrosio pointed to the company’s three core priorities: financial and operational discipline, improvement of core retail operations, and a third priority that he described with this phrase: “leading customer-based innovation through integrated retail and an engaging membership program, Shop Your Way Rewards.”

Sears operates more than 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.

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HCN selects state-by-state Hardware Store All-Stars

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The 2012 crop of Home Channel News Hardware Store All-Stars marks the second year of the state-by-state accounting of high-performance retailers. The common theme of “excellent customer service” runs through the entire list, but that’s just the beginning.

Here are the honorees from Georgia, Hawaii and Idaho:

Georgia
Reeves Building Supply
Clayton, Ga.
Located in the North Georgia mountains and surrounded by lakes, Reeves offers upscale furnishings and accessories for the casual lifestyle. Four standalone businesses — the Ace Hardware store, Reeves Building Supply, Reeves Homes Furnishings and Reeves Lawn Mower Shop — dominate Main Street. “Being from a small town, we have a lot of things others don’t have,” said co-owner Lewis Reeves Jr., naming sporting goods as the top seller. “We have a lot of vacationers around here.”

Hawaii
Hardware Hawaii
Kailua, Hawaii
Hardware Hawaii’s Facebook page looks like a family photo album. There are pictures of employees dressed up for Halloween, bowling at a tournament and a video of their trip to the Orgill market in Boston. But the three-store chain also uses Facebook to communicate its frequent sales, which customers — judging from their responses — look forward to. 

Idaho
L.L. Green’s
Hailey, Idaho
L.L. Green’s is nearly devoid of advertising or other interior signage, a setting reminiscent of a time when customers shopped their local hardware store with their dads or granddads. Store manager Mark Green said the old-time feel works here. “We get lots of plumbers, electricians handymen … 50 or 60 a day, the same faces, and they’re not afraid to ask for something we don’t have. If we don’t have it, we’ll order it.”

For the complete list of 50 winning retailers, state-by-state, register or log-in to Homechannelnews.com.

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DeWalt Mobile Pro app hits iPhones

BY Ken Clark

Delmar and DeWalt announced the launch of DeWalt Mobile Pro, a new mobile application for construction professionals. DeWalt Mobile Pro is an innovative and powerful mobile solution developed specifically for contractors and tradesmen in the construction industry, with free features and numerous ways to customize the app based on each user’s trade focus. The app is available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and has been designed with custom interfaces to suit the various screen sizes of each device. 

The app is available as a free download and contains a construction calculator for solving complex jobsite math in the field, and five basic calculations with integrated reference materials to offer help, examples and illustrations. The app also provides a running history of recent calculations, a customizable list of favorite calculations for quick and easy access to those used most often, and the ability to instantly email calculation results.

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