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Strong sales at Lumber Liquidators

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Despite a tumultuous housing market and an uncertain consumer spending environment, Toano, Va.-based flooring specialty retailer Lumber Liquidators saw net income more than double to $5.9 million.

The strong sales figures bode well for the company, which had its initial public offering in November 2007.

Sales rose 21.1 percent in the second quarter to $128 million, compared with $105.7 million in the same period last year.

The retailer upwardly adjusted its year-end sales prediction to $480 million to $490 million. The company previously anticipated sales in the range of $475 million to $490 million.

Comparable-store sales increased 2.7 percent in the quarter. Lumber Liquidators opened 10 new stores during the three-month period. .

“We generated net income in the second quarter that was the best in our company’s history,” said Jeffrey Griffiths, president and CEO of Lumber Liquidators. “Improvements we have made in our merchandise assortment, in-stock positions and inventory allocation are reflected in our results. Importantly, we are continuing to benefit from our recent operational improvements, which provide us with a solid foundation for long-term growth.”

In the first half of the year, the company opened 19 new stores and saw a net sales increase of 22.7 percent, to $242.6 million, and net income more than doubled to $10.2 million during the period. Comparable-store sales in this six-month period rose 4.7 percent.

Lumber Liquidators operates more than 135 stores in the United States and retails 150 varieties of flooring, including solid and engineered hardwood, bamboo, cork and laminate, and “premier” brands under the Bellawood, Dream Home, Schon, Virginia Mill Works and Morning Star names.

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Stihl named John Deere preferred supplier

BY HBSDEALER Staff

John Deere’s Worldwide Commercial & Consumer Equipment Division has announced Stihl Inc. and Stihl Ltd. as the preferred supplier of gas powered and corded handheld power equipment in the United States and Canada.

Existing John Deere branded handheld power equipment will soon be substituted with Stihl brand products at qualifying John Deere servicing dealers across North America, said Bob Barbour, group director, marketing operations and customer support for John Deere.

“This decision will enable us to better support growth strategies and offer our customers an industry leading brand of property owner and commercial grade portable power products,” Barbour said.

The companies plan a joint marketing strategy as part of the deal. According to Stihl president Fred Whyte, Stihl products currently are sold through more than 500 John Deere dealers in the United States and Canada, “so this is a natural extension of our business model.”

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Stanley holds ‘holiday preview’ in New York

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New York — Stanley Tools held its annual mid-summer “holiday preview” here last week, introducing a number of new products that will be geared toward the holiday gift-buying season.

The offerings include some new products but mostly innovations to existing tools in four categories.

In the currently difficult climate for home improvement retailers, vp-marketing Jay Drummond said Stanley has still managed to capture some market share in its DIY categories. “Brand awareness is paramount in this business because brand drives sales,” Drummond said. “The Stanley name has always been associated with the pro, and we fill a lot of needs with these products.”

Drummond added that he believes new products will help drive a strong end-of-year for the manufacturer.

In all, parent company Stanley Works saw net earnings fall 6.7 percent in the second quarter to $79.6 million, compared with $85.3 million in the same period last year. Net sales were up 4.5 percent to $1.15 billion from $1.1 billion in the same period last year. Earnings in the company’s construction and DIY segment rose 4 percent compared with the year-ago period, while sales also rose 4 percent to $452 million.

At the New York event, Stanley introduced a new three-in-one LED flashlight that can be mounted on a tripod. Marketed for camping or other outdoor night activities, the flashlight features 120-degree multi-directional rotating heads. The device, which uses 3.5-watt high brightness LEDs, can be combined into one high-powered flashlight when mounted to the tripod. The item is slated for a September launch in Lowe’s and Target stores.

Stanley also displayed knives under its FatMax brand — a fixed utility knife designed for repetitive cutting applications, a snap-off knife that features a continuous sharp edge and a patent-pending blade wiper that removes excess debris.

In its assembly and demolition group, Stanley introduced an FSC-certified premium beech wood chisel, and in its cutting and clamping segment, Stanley introduced a FatMax saw designed for repetitive heavy duty cutting applications. Stanley also showed a FatMax Clip-N-Grip multibit screwdriver, and a post level, also under the FatMax brand. The FatMax Post Level folds for easy storage and prevents the level vials from breaking.

Stanley also introduced several products in its “storage solutions” category — a FatMax “Stock and Carry” organizer that can be carried vertically and includes a slide cover; a sortmaster organizer that features removable dividers to allow for different organization configurations; a mobile workcenter with a large bin for power tools; and a 23-inch structural foam toolbox.

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