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Home Depot launches ‘behind the scenes’ podcast

BY Andy Carlo

Home Depot has launched a new podcast series that will focus on the retailer’s culture through the eyes and experiences of its associates.

“Give Me An H” will offer listeners insider perspectives on how employees’ careers are shaped and bleed orange while working at Home Depot.

Hosted by Home Depot human resources leader Arlette Guthrie, the series begins with Ted Decker, executive vice president of merchandising. In the opening podcast Decker discusses “how an entrepreneurial mindset, caring for fellow associates and a passion for extraordinary service are essential to Home Depot’s success,” the company said.

“We have 400,000 associates who have great passion,” Decker said “A big part of our culture is empowering our associates to do what they believe is best for the business.”

The series is available for listening and download on SoundCloud

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Under Crescent: Five brands become one

BY Andy Carlo
 
Crescent, the hand tool brand that is part of the Apex Tool Group, revealed that it is bringing together five tool brands together under the Crescent name. 
 
The Sparks, Md.-based manufacturer also unveiled was a new brand identity program that including its logo, color palette, typography, and product design. The new identity program also introduces a new tagline, “Trusted by the Trades,” that the company says describes how its brand is viewed by trade professionals around the world.
 
In addition to current Crescent products, the expanded offering will include the full product selections of from Lufkin measuring tapes, rules, and wheels; Wiss snips, scissors, shears, knives, and trade tools; Nicholson files and saws; and H.K. Porter heavy-duty cutters. 
 
Starting immediately, the four supporting brands will be known as Crescent/Lufkin, Crescent/Wiss, Crescent/Nicholson, and Crescent/H.K. Porter, giving users access to over 2,600 products under the Crescent brand, the company reported. Beginning in early 2018, all Crescent brand and Crescent supporting brand logos, product design, colors, packaging, websites, and other forms of brand identification will begin the changeover to the new brand identity. 
 
“The Crescent brand has been trusted by professional tradespeople for well over 100 years,” said Curt Weber, Crescent senior director of brand management. “We are building on this trust by expanding the Crescent offering to include products not only from Crescent, but from several other respected hand tool brands in the Apex Tool Group portfolio. This expansion will give our customers a wider selection of quality products from which to choose, all under the Crescent name.”
 
According to Rena Fiorello, Crescent senior marketing manager for Crescent, a “substantial marketing initiative” for the brand is planned for 2018 including a comprehensive multi media advertising campaign and a potential partnership with NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing. 
 
“We’re extremely excited about this major expansion of the Crescent brand,” Fiorello said. “This investment will provide additional energy to the brand and demonstrate that Crescent is committed to continued growth.”
 

 

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Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores reports Q3 sales decline

BY Andy Carlo

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (SHOS) reported third quarter 2017 net sales decreased $101.8 million, or 21%, to $386.0 million from third quarter 2016 net sales of $489 million.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer also reported a net loss of $10.9 million for the third quarter of 2017 compared to a net loss of $93.2 million for the prior-year comparable quarter.  

The company said the sales decline was driven primarily by the impact of closed stores – net of new store openings – and a 9.1% decrease in comparable store sales. Comparable store sales were down 9.9% and 7.4% in Hometown and Outlet locations. As of Oct. 28, 2017, SHOS said it operated, along with its independent retailers and franchisees, a total of 921 stores across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda.

"Last year during the third quarter we made promotional and pricing decisions that proved to be unprofitable. We did not repeat those actions during this year's third quarter, but as a result comparable store sales suffered,” Will Powell, company CEO and president, said in a press release.

Powell also explained that comparable store sales were also negatively impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which together resulted during the quarter in lost selling days from temporary closures in 102 stores and negatively impacted comp sales performance by 91 basis points.

SHOS said sales through its Hometown segment websites continued to grow: as a percentage of its total sales, the Hometown websites grew 54% in the third quarter of 2017 from the second quarter of 2017.

The company also reported that it is nearing the completion of its America's Appliance Experts (AAE) store refresh program that is designed to offer appliance customers a unique, high-quality shopping experience. SHOS completed 50 AAE remodels in the third quarter of 2017, ending the quarter with 635 total AAE locations, representing 79% of the Hometown Segment stores. Year-to-date the AAE locations achieved better comp store sales and a higher margin rate in appliances than non-AAE locations, the company said.

Commercial sales for the company grew 8% year-over-year in the third quarter but were significantly impacted by Hurricane Harvey: South Texas represents its largest commercial sales market. Year-to-date commercial sales grew 18.9% year-over-year, with 52.9% growth in margin dollars achieved through better commercial pricing disciplines. The store adoption of the program also continues to grow, with 46% of stores participating year-to-date versus 36% at the same point last year.

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