True Value CFO looks back at Q1

Chicago-based True Value Co. senior VP and CFO David Shadduck liked what he saw during the first quarter, and didn't hesitate to describe the cold and snowy winter as a net gain for the co-op's 4,500 retailers.

The co-op reported gross billings of $460.1 million for the quarter, up 3.6% from $444.2 million for the same period a year ago. Revenue was $331.5 million, an increase of 6.0%.

In an interview with HCN, the number about which Shadduck seemed most enthusiastic was the 7.3% gain in retail comp-store sales.

"Our retailers are excited with all the additional volume they got to sell at retail, up 7.3%, and a contributor of that was the longer winter season, which helped them at retail, helped them from a profit standpoint and helped their cash flow," he said.

The company reported higher gross margins on weather-related products, which were sold at regular prices for a longer period of time than usual, he said. Referring to shovels, ice melt and the like, he said, "they were not discounted because they were in high demand."

True Value reports gross billings and revenue. The first is the combined sales of products through its distribution system plus the direct-ship sales from vendors to members. The second measures the sales of merchandise from True Value warehouses, plus the nominal markup.

"We're thrilled with how the year has started," Shadduck said.