Tractor Supply overcomes early Q2 headwinds
Despite soft sales early in its second quarter, Tractor Supply Co. reported a sales gain of 8.8% and comparable-store sales of positive 1.9%.
The Brentwood, Tennessee-based farm-and-ranch-store giant reported $1.58 billion in sales for the period ended June 29, compared with $1.46 billion in the same quarter last year.
Net income for the quarter increased 8.0% to $133.4 million, up from $123.6 million.
"Sales in our everyday core C.U.E. offerings were strong throughout the second quarter," said Greg Sandfort, president and CEO. "However, unseasonably cool weather in the early part of the quarter negatively impacted sales of spring seasonal merchandise."
Comparable-store sales were driven by continued strength of consumable, usable and edible products (C.U.E.) and solid traffic counts, the company reported. But growth in these areas was partially offset by deflation, continued softness in its safe category and weaker-than-expected sales of certain seasonal products primarily in the northern regions.
Gross profit increased 8.8% to $550.5 million from $506.1 million in the prior-year’s second quarter. As a percent of sales, gross margin was flat to prior-year quarter at 34.8%, as increased transportation costs, mix of products and the impact of slightly more sales-driving promotions offset the favorable impact of the company’s key gross margin-enhancing initiatives and the impact of deflation.
Based upon the second-quarter results, the company anticipates its fiscal year 2014 results will be at the low end of the previously provided ranges of $5.62 billion to $5.70 billion in net sales, and 2.5% to 4.0% in comparable-store sales.
The company opened 23 new stores in the second quarter, compared to with new store openings in the prior year’s second quarter.
"Despite some of the early headwinds, we successfully delivered positive comparable-store sales in each month of the quarter while minimizing the impact to merchandise margins," Sandfort said.
Robert Bowden chooses Epicor software to run operations
Marietta, Georgia-based wholesale building supply company Robert Bowden announced this week that it would begin using Epicor’s BizTrack software.
According to the company’s CFO Greg Lucas, the switch from a proprietary planning system is the result of Robert Bowden’s growth since starting in 1983.
“When you are a small startup, you might be able to track your operations with spreadsheets,” Lucas said. “However when you reach a certain size it is important to have a system in place that will support, measure and report on your ability to maintain your core business values. BisTrack will give us the advanced controls and structure to make sure that we keep true to our principles.”
Robert Bowden will use BizTrack as a point of sale system, as well as a method to keep track of inventory, orders, purchases and delivery, among other business aspects.
“We believe it is going to lead to fewer inventory adjustments and overall less inventory because of its comprehensive inventory tracking and management features,” Lucas said.
Lowe’s rolls out new products for Iris smart home
Lowe’s has begun selling four new products that work with Iris, the home improvement company’s smart home program. The products can communicate with Iris and be controlled remotely via computer, smartphone or tablet.
The new additions to the line are a water timer for faucets, a window blinds controller, a garage door opener and a pet door. The Z-Wave garage door opener and Iris window blinds controllers let homeowners operate their home with their phones, and allows them to schedule what times of day the blinds are open.
The pet door, made by PetSafe, tracks animals’ comings and goings, and opens with a pet’s collar sensor to keep other animals out of the house. Orbit’s faucet water timer lets users schedule watering from their phone or computer.
"These new products add more value to the smart home offering with new ways to improve home security and manage energy costs with DIY solutions to give our customers peace of mind year-round," Lowe’s GM and VP, smart home, Kevin Meagher said.