DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

True Value Q1 revenue up slightly

BY HBSDealer Staff

Chicago-based True Value has posted first-quarter revenue of $448.2 million, up 0.1% from $447.8 million in the same period a year ago. The cooperative posted a net margin of $8.1 million in the quarter ended March 31, the same as the year-ago period.

Revenue was essentially flat in the first quarter due to a lack of snowfall and cold weather in January and February, which drove down sales of ice-melt, snow throwers, shovels and portable heaters. Warmer temperatures in March drove stronger sales of paint, lawn mowers, fertilizers, herbicides, grass seed, insect control and grills.

“Though our winter seasonal product sales were down 50%, our core hardware categories were up 6.4%,” said president and CEO Lyle Heidemann. “Our retailers’ sales were up 2.6% in the quarter, 11.3% in March and 6.1% in April.

“We rolled out 451,000 sq. ft. of new DTV stores or remodels in the first quarter with 30 more projects expected to launch in the second quarter,” he added. “Our retailers continue to invest in their stores and reap the benefits of this new format.”

First-quarter profit was also flat as a slight increase in the gross margin rate to 11.2% from 11.0% a year ago was offset by higher employee benefit costs.

On April 13, the True Value amended its $250 million revolving credit facility to lower its average interest rate by 50 basis points. The amended bank agreement has a term of five years, expiring in April 2017.

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Do it Best upgrades its Channellock Web page

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. enhanced its e-commerce website devoted to the sale of Channellock products.

The new site, Channellockproducts.com, is a subsidiary of Do it Best Corp. and is described as “powered by Doitbest.com.”

The site is one of the outcomes of a major initiative in 2009 that brought certain Channellock products exclusively into Do it Best stores in the categories of protective gear, wet/dry vacs, flashlights and other licensed products. 

To promote the site, Do it Best is giving away eight Channellock wall-mount wet/dry vacs.

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Ace Hardware scores highest in J.D. Power study

BY Ken Clark

For the sixth year in a row, Ace took home the hardware. 

The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Store Satisfaction Study ranked Ace Hardware “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores,” for the sixth consecutive year.

“Throughout the United States, Ace is a community resource, attracting consumers because our retailer-owned stores deliver on the brand’s helpfulness promise,” said Ray Griffith, president and CEO of Ace Hardware. “In everything we do, on every scale, we strive to reward the customer with good service, value and quality products.” 

The J.D. Power and Associates study is based on responses from more than 6,100 consumers who purchased home improvement products or services in the previous 12 months. Ace Hardware ranked highest among major retailers with an overall satisfaction index score of 781 on a 1,000-point scale. According to consumers, Ace performs particularly well in the staff and service and store facility categories. 

The score is based on performance in five areas: merchandise, price, sales and promotions, staff and service, and store facility. 

With more than 4,600 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe, Ace is the largest hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 14 distribution centers in the United States, and they also have distribution capabilities in Shanghai, China; Panama City, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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