True Value Co. gross billings slip 0.9% in first quarter
Chicago-based True Value Co. reported first-quarter gross billings of $443.3 million, down 0.9% from the same quarter last year.
A nearly non-existent spring in many parts of the country hurt sales. The company also explained gross billings were affected by a decline in lumber and building material vendor direct-ship sales.
"While winter-related product sales exceeded the prior year, the general lack of spring weather this March versus last year was too much to overcome," said Lyle Heidemann, president ad CEO.
Last year, True Value retailers’ comp-store sales were up in the double digits, he said. This year, they were down a high single digit.
As the weather goes, so go sales. "In April and early May, for the parts of the country where spring has arrived, our retailers on average are experiencing double-digit increases in their retail comp-store sales."
The co-op’s revenue of $312.8 million was up 0.4%. The quarterly net margin of $0.4 million was down from $8.1 million in the same quarter last year.
The True Value co-op operates 4,500 independent retailer locations worldwide.
Handy welcomes DIP financing deal
Handy Hardware Wholesale said it welcomed the bankruptcy court approval of its debtor in possession (DIP) financing loan modification that brings funding from Littlejohn Management Holdings.
Littlejohn, which agreed to acquire Handy and shed its co-op structure as it emerges from bankruptcy, will provide a $4 million DIP loan, funding that will commence this week.
In a note to members, the Handy board wrote: “the financial support from Littlejohn, demonstrated through this loan participation in Handy’s revolving working capital facility, will help Handy raise its service levels for its Member Dealers from the current level of approximately 90% up to the mid 90s – a level to which Member Dealers are accustomed.”
Littlejohn Management Holdings is a Connecticut-based private equity firm with holdings in the wholesale distribution business and the hardware industry.
Under the plan, Handy will emerge from bankruptcy as a subsidiary of a Littlejohn portfolio company and maintain its Handy Hardware identity in the marketplace.
Handy says it expects the court to approve the plan in July.
The note to members pointed out that the Littlejohn acquisition has the approval of the Handy Board of Directors, Member Advisory Committee and Member Equity Committee. It added: “Littlejohn’s objective is to have Handy operate as an independent distributor of hardware related products consistent with Handy’s past though Handy will no longer be a member-owned Co-op.”
Chalifour Canada plans DC enhancement
London, Ontario-based Chalifour Canada will be relocating its Vancouver distribution center to a modern industrial park in nearby Delta, British Columbia.
Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2014.
Chalifour is a hardware wholesaler owned by TIM-BR Marts. It also supports Ace dealers in Canada.
The new, state-of-the-art facility will be located in the Tilbury Industrial Park, approximately 20 minutes from the current site in Surrey. The new location will provide greater visibility for Chalifour, and improved access for commercial trucking, the company said in a statement.
“The facility will be customized to meet the needs of our business, and we are working with a group of professionals to ensure that infrastructure will be in place to support our operations,” says Bret Walters, General Manager of Chalifour Canada.
“We made a commitment to our Dealers to maintain a strong presence on the West Coast, and our move to a new distribution center reflects our ongoing efforts to improve workflow, and streamline our business to be more responsive to the needs of our customers,” adds Tim Urquhart, President and CEO of TIM-BR MART Group.