HARDWARE STORES

True Value appoints outside director

BY Ken Clark

True Value has appointed Kathleen Guion to its board of directors as an outside member effective August 2012. With more than 13 years of C-level experience, Guion has played pivotal roles in corporate turnarounds, leveraged buyouts and an initial public offering. Her experience takes in the implementation of new technologies in retail real estate development and operations.

Most recently, Guion retired from Dollar General Corp., where she served as president for store operations and company growth, and played a leading role in the company’s sales growth from $6.8 billion in 2003 to more than $13 billion in 2010. Before joining Dollar General, Guion helped guide a Chapter 11 reorganization of Duke and Long Distribution without debtor-in-possession financing. And as an operating partner at the New York investment firm Devon Partners, she identified acquisition targets and developed detailed operational improvement plans that would provide returns to investors in excess of 40%.

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Orchard Supply to open in former Kmart

BY Ken Clark

Orchard Supply Hardware will open a 50,000-sq.-ft. store in Torrance, Calif., showcasing the company’s new store format. 

The South Bay store at 19330 Hawthorne Blvd., the site of a former Kmart store, will open Sept. 1 and marks the company’s 89th store in the state of California.

The layout is based on a race-track configuration, which maximizes traffic flow and helps the customer find items quickly. The store also features an expanded and centralized customer-service area referred to as the “Workbench”, where customers get assistance with basic hardware needs, such as tool and knife sharpening, rescreening, lock rekeying, custom-cutting of rope, screens and other materials, and pipe threading. Additionally, an enlarged paint area highlights Orchard’s expansive, high-quality Benjamin Moore paint selection and a spacious indoor/outdoor nursery and garden supply area offers direct access from the parking lot. 

The South Bay store also features a distinctive new interior look, described by Orchard Supply as “warm, functional and colorful.” The new design was piloted at Orchard’s San Jose Princeton Plaza store, which opened in September 2011 and will be phased in across the store base over time. 

“We offer a welcoming, low-stress shopping experience and a broad range of products that are carefully selected for the local neighborhood,” said Mark Baker, president and CEO. “We believe our formula will enable Orchard to ‘own’ the neighborhood market for home repair and maintenance, painting and especially backyard living.” 

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Orchard Supply sees Q2 comps increase

BY Ken Clark

Orchard Supply Hardware Stores reported an increase in comparable-store sales for the second quarter ended July 28 of 0.9%. Preliminary net sales were $194.0 million compared with $196.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2011.

"We are pleased to deliver positive comparable store sales for the quarter," said Mark Baker, president and CEO. "However, the environment remains challenging and our business was more promotional than anticipated, which will likely impact margins in the second quarter. We continue to expect positive comparable-store sales for fiscal 2012, as our in-store marketing and merchandising initiatives gain increased traction during the second half of the year."

The company also announced that on July 27, 2012, it completed a sale-leaseback transaction with a national REIT for six properties, generating gross proceeds of approximately $43 million. Approximately $25 million of the net proceeds were used to pay-off the company’s Real Estate Secured Term Loan in its entirety, while approximately $8 million of the balance of the net proceeds will be used to pay down the Company’s Senior Secured Term Loan.

Baker added: "This transaction enables us to reduce our debt, while at the same time providing additional capital to continue the transformation of our store portfolio. Our new store concept that was first unveiled in September 2011 is generating improved productivity and has met with positive response from our customers. By the end of fiscal 2012, we expect to have a combination of 12 new and remodeled Orchard stores operating in this format."

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