True Value Q1 revenue up slightly

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.