True Value holds growth conference in New Jersey
Atlantic City – Around 40 True Value store owners from around the New York Metro area gathered at the Atlantic City Hilton Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 23 for a Regional Member Growth Conference — one of 13 meetings around the nation designed to bring co-op members and executives together in a small group setting.
This was the 12th of 13 stops for the True Value team, which has been meeting with retailers from all over the nation, beginning in Naperville, Ill., in early July.
“I’ve engaged with somewhere between 650 and 750 members, learning what’s on their minds and continuing to share best practices on improving sales, growth, margins and performance within their stores,” said CEO Lyle Heidemann, who kicked things off by addressing the group on the state of True Value’s operations.
Shawn Clifford of True Value of Bethel in Bethel, Conn. — attending his first conference — said it was helpful to hear Heidemann’s morning address, and he was looking forward to sharing ideas and strategies with other members during the afternoon breakout sessions.
“I think it’s valuable to take what you learn here and see how you can do things differently in your store on a day-to-day basis,” said Clifford, a fifth generation owner who opened his current store a year ago. “You have a chance to look at the bigger picture and talk to others about what they’re doing.”
Alison Dannehower and her brother, Paul Giunta, rode the short distance from Shore True Value in Somers Point, N.J., to get some pointers on controlling costs within their store. “I think one of the biggest concerns is retail prices going up,” Giunta said. “Inflation is driving up the cost of raw goods, and we’ve got to stay on top of that.”
Also attending was Tom Collins of Colmer True Value Home Center in Margate City, N.J., the first Destination True Value remodel in the state. “In a declining market, our business has been up because of the new format,” said Collins. “Now I’m trying to stay abreast of what’s going on with other stores. Having the strength of the True Value network has given me tremendous advantages.”
The Regional Member Growth Conferences conclude on Oct. 2 in Denver.
Williams-Sonoma cuts back on catalogs
Williams-Sonoma, parent of specialty home decor retailers Pottery Barn and West Elm, has cut back on catalog distribution by a third, according to executive vp and chief marketing officer Thomas Weisel.
Williams-Sonoma will reduce its catalog page count by 31 percent, and cut back its catalog circulation by 25 percent. The plan is expected to help save the retailer $40 million in marketing costs.
“We know that the pages we would have mailed would not have yielded a profitable return,” Connolly said. He said the company would increase its reliance on email marketing.
The company has trimmed its outlook as well in the face of a down economy.
According to Williams-Sonoma CEO Howard Lester, “It would be hard and insane actually to forecast positive comps in the fourth quarter, so we’re not going to do that. But we’re always optimistic. You have to be.”
“This is probably the worst I’ve seen it by far,” he added.
Bed Bath & Beyond sales up 5 percent
Union, N.J.-based Bed Bath & Beyond reported net earnings for the second quarter fell 19 percent to $119.3 million from $147 million in the prior-year quarter.
Still, the retailer saw net sales rise 5 percent to $1.85 billion from $1.77 billion in the same period last year.
Comparable-store sales were nearly flat in the quarter, decreasing 0.1 percent. In the first half of the year, comparable-store sales rose 0.3 percent.
The specialty retailer opened 13 stores in the second quarter, including a second store in Canada, following an entry into that country last quarter.
Currently, Bed Bath & Beyond operates 994 stores, including 903 stores under its namesake banner, as well as 41 Christmas Tree Shops stores, 10 Buy Buy Baby stores and 40 stores under the Harmon name. The company also operates two Home & More stores in Mexico.