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Taylor Do it Centers opens first Express location

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Taylor Do it Centers, a chain of nine Do it Best hardware stores in Virginia and North Carolina, has opened its first “Express” location in Virginia Beach, Va.

Aimed at weekend projects and yard maintenance, Taylor “Do it Express” is 4,500 square feet, about one-third the size of the average Taylor Do it Center. The store, which opened July 14, is in a densely populated area with many hi-rise condominiums.

“I saw this as an opportunity to do a smaller, high-margin store with no building materials — just basic hardware and lawn and garden, which are our strengths,” said Joe Taylor, president and CEO of Taylor Do it Centers, in an interview with Home Channel News. “It’s kind of like a 7-11 convenience store.”

Whereas a typical Taylor Do it Center has seven to nine employees on the floor at any given time, the Express format has three or four. And while the larger stores are all at least 3.5 to 4 miles from the closest big box, Express stores can be within a two-mile radius, Taylor said.

“If this is successful, we’ll go back into our region and fill in where we see opportunities in dense, higher-income areas,” he said.

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PRO Group makes key promotions

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Denver-based PRO Group has promoted Brendan Sullivan to director of merchandising, a new position, according to the company.

Sullivan is a 21-year industry veteran who has served in various merchandising and business development positions for Servistar/Coast To Coast and True Value prior to joining PRO Group in 2005.

“Brendan Sullivan’s experience and work style makes him ideally suited to a merchandising director role,” said Steve Synnott, president and CEO of PRO Group, in a statement. “Brendan has worked as a buyer and merchandise manager, and since he joined our company three years ago he has taken a leading role in providing progressive ideas and programs on the merchandising side.”

In addition, PRO Group managing director for the PRO Hardware and GardenMaster divisions, Shari Kalbach, has been named managing director for the company’s Farm Mart division, which supplies independent farm supply retailers.  

Kalbach joined PRO Group in 1997 and is responsible for all of the Group’s distributor relationships.  

“Shari Kalbach has a proven track record as a highly effective executive working with PRO Group distributor members,” Synnott said. “Adding Farm Mart to Shari Kalbach’s scope of work is a natural progression of her role. She excels working closely with our distributor members.”

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Design Within Reach narrows losses

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Design Within Reach, the San Francisco-based specialty home decor retailer with around 70 locations nationwide, saw net losses of $159 million, narrower than the $575 million in losses recorded in the same period last year.

Net sales for the second quarter decreased 3.7 percent to $47.3 million, compared with $49.1 million recorded in the year-ago period.

Still, the retailer saw an improvement in gross margin, a measurement of earnings that takes production and service costs into consideration — gross margin improved to 46.4 percent in the second quarter, compared with 44.3 percent in the same period last year.

In-store sales were $32.6 million, up 2.2 percent from last year. Sales from phone and the dwr.com Web site decreased 17.5 percent to $10.4 million.

DWR also said it predicted that “in light of the challenging economic environment, the company believes revenue will be flat year over year.”

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