True Value Q4 gross billings up 1.3%
Chicago-based True Value Company reported gross billings of $457.3 million for the quarter ending Dec. 28, an increase of 1.3 % from $451.5 million for the prior year quarter.
Revenue was $340.7 million, an increase of 0.2%. The co-op posted quarterly earnings of $12.5 million, down 57% from $29.1 million for the same period a year ago. Last year’s earnings were inflated by a $16.5 million non-recurring gain. Excluding that gain, earnings were down 0.8%.
For the full year, True Value also reported gross billings of $1.9 billion, an increase of 0.9% from the same period a year ago. Revenue was $1,411.5 million, an increase of 1.0%. Comparable-store sales to retailers were up 2.4% on a gross billings basis and up 1.6% on a revenue basis. Retailer comp store sales were up 2.1%, based on over 1,600 reporting retailers.
The co-op posted earnings of $55.3 million, a decrease of 26.2% or $19.6 million, from $74.9 million for the same period a year ago. The profit decrease was primarily driven by a 2012 fourth quarter litigation settlement gain of an ongoing matter. The profit decrease was 5.3%, excluding the one-time gain.
“We ramped things up in late summer, right through December, and I’m pleased to report we ended the year with increases in gross billings, revenue and comparable store sales,” said President and CEO John Hartmann. “Our largest increase in both retail and wholesale comp store sales was in the farm, ranch, auto & pet product category. This category was up at wholesale 11.2%.”
The company reported the earnings at its True Value Reunion in Atlanta, which ended Monday.
True Value turbocharges app for ordering
Atlanta — True Value Co.’s Special Order App for mobile devices is putting more power into the hands of retailers, according to the co-op.
What began as a concept about 18 months ago, the True Value mobile ordering app is now in its sixth month of operation. It’s in use at about 1,800 retailers making thousands of orders, said Rosalee Hermens, VP and chief information officer for True Value.
One of the valuable functions of the app is its ability to show pricing and margin information on any product in the store or warehouse, making comparison shopping and product look up fast and easy, she said.
New functions unveiled here at the True Value Reunion in Atlanta include the ability for a retailer to view order history, to receive order status updates and to hide the warehouse price. The last function can be helpful if the retailer is using the app in a customer-facing situation.
According to Hermens, True Value’s IT strategy is basically to boost the competitiveness of True Value now and in the future. That includes inward-looking products at the warehouse or corporate level, and also outward-looking tools connecting retailers and customers.
For retailers, downloading the app to their smartphone will only help both areas. She stressed that the process takes no more than three minutes, probably a lot less, she said.
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Ace rolls out margin-boosting Power Buys
Houston — Retailers were privy to a number of below-manufacturing-cost "Power Buys" at the Ace 2014 Spring Convention & Exhibits, with the potential for added profit that "can pay for a couple of people to come to Houston," said general merchandise manager Frank Carroll at the opening General Session.
"The mindset here is a ‘thank you’," he added. "Thank you for coming to Houston."
Among the SKUs on sale for Power Buy prices were bronze and brushed nickel ceiling light fixtures, LED bulbs, a four-gallon wet/dry vac, and a Lufkin tape measures.
Additionally, Savings Showcase (formerly known as Pallet Alley) was in full force on the show floor, which featured over 700 deals.
Purchases can be fulfilled via ACENET, at the show or via mobile. The deals will be available on ACENET through March 23.
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