HARDWARE STORES

True Value brings Discover to retail

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based True Value Co. is in the early stages of the launch of its Discover credit card program, and expectations are high, according to the co-op.

“Our new credit card program provides retailers with many strategic advantages to strengthen existing customer relationships while attracting new customers and driving retail growth,” said Blake Fohl, VP marketing and chief customer officer for True Value Company. “Introducing the True Value Discover card program this spring is just one of the ways True Value continues to support our retailers and their customers.” 

The program connects retailers to consumers with new offerings that pass financial benefits and incentives along to the consumer with zero to minimal costs for True Value retailers, according to the co-op. The card program, issued by Alliance Data, utilizes the unique capabilities of the Discover network and its millions of merchant locations.

In a press release Wednesday, the co-op shared some of the business metrics behind the card program that was launched in March. Participating retailers immediately experienced increased sales and transaction sizes, with the average True Value Discover card transaction exceeding $330. The program currently has a 70% credit approval rate for customers applying for the card, which is higher than most programs of similar size, the co-op said. 

True Value customers also experience significant benefits through the True Value Discover card’s 3-2-1 rewards model. Customers receive a 3% reward on all True Value purchases, a 2% reward on all gas and grocery purchases and a 1% reward on all other purchases made with the card.

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Board shift: Chairman steps down at Orchard Supply

BY HBSDEALER Staff

William Crowley, chairman of the board of directors of San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Hardware, resigned as a Class A Director of the company.

The resignation was announced in an Orchard Supply filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On the same day of Crowley’s resignation, June 4, board members appointed David I. Bogage as a member of the board as a Class A Director. Bogage has been the company’s senior VP human resources since April 2011. From February 2009 to January 2011, Bogage was senior VP talent and organizational development of Scotts Miracle-Gro. 

Also on the same day of the resignation and appointment, Orchard Supply was notified by the NASDAQ Stock Market that the company is no longer in compliance with a listing rule that requires a majority of the board to be independent directors. The retail company has at least until the end of October to correct the situation, according to the filing. 

Shares of OSH were trading at $2.48 at the close of business Tuesday.

Crowley, a member of the Orchard Supply board since 2005, has close ties to Sears Holdings and is currently the president and COO of ESL Investments, the financial company founded by Sears Holdings Chairman Ed Lampert. Crowley was executive VP of Sears Holdings from September 2005 to January 2011, and held various other executive positions with Sears during that time.

Orchard Supply separated from Sears Holdings in December 2011.

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Report: Orchard Supply considers bankruptcy option

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orchard Supply Hardware, the historic California brand that has strived to strike a happy medium between big-box home center and friendly neighborhood hardware store, is considering a bankruptcy option, according to a report in Bloomberg News.

The report also says the California hardware chain is continuing talks with lenders over its $261 million debt and lease obligations. 

Early last month, the 89-store San Jose, Calif.-based retailer reported a loss of $118.38 million for the full year, as sales declined slightly to $657.3 million.

Orchard opened its first store in 1931 as a co-op for local farmers. It became part of Sears in the mid-1990s, but it was spun off early in December 2011.

Back in February, Orchard Supply issued an update on its efforts to improve its capital structure.

At that time, CEO Mark Baker commented: “We have made significant strides in transforming the Orchard brand and our business since December 2011 when we became an independent public company. At the same time, we recognize that we did not achieve all of our objectives of the past year and that we continue to face challenges ahead. Our team remains highly focused on our five strategic priorities, with particular emphasis on the execution of our merchandising, marketing and store operations initiatives during the important spring season.

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