DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

True Value names three new executives

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based True Value Co., which took on a new CEO in May, announced the arrival of three new executives to the co-op’s leadership team.

The restructuring brings Ken Goodgame, a former Ace executive, to True Value as senior VP and chief merchandising officer. He will replace Mike Clark, who announced his retirement. Also, Abhinav Shukla joins True Value as senior VP and COO; and Tim Mills becomes the company’s new senior VP of growth.

Shukla was most recently with AlixPartners, where he focused on global supply chain and performance for Fortune 500 companies. Mills was most recently VP and general manager for the Power Solutions division of HD Supply, which also formerly employed True Value’s new President and CEO John Hartmann.

"These three new leaders will help us move more quickly and be more nimble as we focus on increasing our value and elevating our performance for both our customers and our shareholders," Hartmann said.  

True Value announced the moves along with an emphasis on its plans for growth — particularly of its Destination True Value retail format. The co-op said it intends to continue the expansion of DTV across the country by ensuring financial support will continue. The co-op supplied $25.5 million in loans for new stores and another $38.5 million in loans to refresh current stores in the past six years.

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In an interview with HCN following the announcement, Hartmann said, “if I were a member, I’d want to know that our leadership is thinking about the future of our organization, and that’s exactly what we’re doing today.”

The changes come in tandem with an aggressive strategic planning process, he added. The planning involves a focus on improving retail sales, retailer profitability and the overall health of the co-op while providing “meaningful support to the consumer.”

 

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Gross billings up 1.4% at True Value

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based True Value Co. reported gross billings of $455.1 million for the quarter ended Sept. 28, an increase of 1.4%  from $448.9 million for the same period a year ago. 

Revenue was $346.5 million, an increase of 2.0% or $6.9 million from $339.6 million a year ago. Comparable-store sales to core domestic hardware store outlets were up 2.8% at wholesale and 4.5% at retail for the quarter.

The cooperative posted a quarterly net margin of $18.7 million, an increase of 21.4%, or $3.3 million, versus $15.4 million one year ago. In 2013 alone, 25 new DTV stores have opened and 34 stores have remodeled to the co-op’s proven DTV format.

“We had a solid third quarter," said president and CEO John Hartmann. "We have rebounded from the lackluster spring selling season, which affected most of the country, and are gaining traction with our retailers’ who are adding our new farm, ranch, auto and pet products in their stores. These popular categories are driving incremental business, up more than 17% so far this year.”

For the nine months ended Sept. 28, True Value reported gross billings of $1,442.7 million, an increase of 0.7%, or $9.7 million, from $1,433.0 million for the same period a year ago. Revenue was $1,070.8 million, an increase of 1.2%, or $12.2 million, from $1,058.6 million a year ago.

Comparable-store sales to core domestic hardware store outlets were up 2.0% in the nine-month period. The 2013 year-to-date net margin was $42.9 million, down 6.3%, or $2.9 million, from $45.8 million one year ago. Total debt of $204.3 million was down $1.5 million from one year ago.

“Our strong profit increase in the quarter was the result of the volume increase and favorable mix and margin rates in the home, seasonal and tool departments,” said Hartmann. 

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Hardware Store All-Stars: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island

BY HBSDEALER Staff

HCN congratulates the 50 hardware store, home center and farm and ranch retailers who made the annual HCN Hardware Store All-Star list.

Now in its third year, HCN’s annual list of high performers recognizes hardware stores — one from each state — that are outstanding in their field. The complete list and analysis can be found in the September issue of HCN. Meanwhile, HCN Daily will work its way across the country with mini profiles, continuing this week with Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Massachusetts: If anyone understands the star-quality appeal of a happy employee, it’s Lauren and Marilyn Baskin of Baskin’s True Value in South Yarmouth. It’s been in the family for over 30 years, but in many ways, that family has come to encompass its loyal staff. From the average manager, who’s been there for about 20 years, all the way down to the floor employee running on an average of 10 years with the store, it’s a strong staff with the knowledge and power to make informed decisions. What’s their secret? Great benefits, which include a complete healthcare package, certainly don’t hurt.

Connecticut: Owner Scott Pesavento began his hardware retailing education early — at the tender age of 14, he was spending nights and weekends learning the family business from his father. But that’s not the only reason why Fairfield’s Hemlock Hardware is all-star material. Pesavento puts employees front and center with monthly store meetings and a collaborative spirit that engages the whole team. A complimentary fertilizer application service for his customers is a nice touch too.

Rhode Island: In Rhode Island, Wyoming Hardware Do it Best owner Rick Osborne describes his business style as “a retailer first, and a hardware guy second.” For instance, when the economy started to turn bad six years ago, Osborne sat down with a pad and paper and looked objectively at where to cut.

“We had to have a plan,” he told HCN. “We had to rein in the inventory. We certainly don’t believe in out of stocks, but we had to make a change.”

Fast action in the down years helped pave the way for the store to ride the recovery today. Wyoming Hardware is a member of Lets Buy Local, Buy Local RI and Independent We Stand, as well as the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. Check out Rick’s friendly message here.

Next week, HCN will highlight All-Stars in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.

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