True Value's top merchant points to winners

With the message that relevant, up-to-date assortments are the lifeblood of successful hardware retailers, True Value Co.'s Mike Clark, senior VP and chief merchandising officer, identified winners during his presentation at the co-op's Fall Market in Philadelphia.

Clark also introduced the Chicago-based co-op's initial Farm & Ranch assortments.

True Value's farm and ranch offerings range from towing, jacks, oil and air filters, electric fencing, baler twine and Miller plastic buckets, to name a few.

"We intend to continue expansion into this vital market to provide better merchandising support for our retailers who are in the farm and ranch business," he said. The goal is to provide more options for members, and allow them the flexibility to order from the warehouse, while avoiding the order minimums typical of other farm-and-ranch distributors.

Chief among his advice was to power up. Retailers that have adopted the Chicago-based co-op's Master Mechanic portable power tool assortments are selling 45% more power tools than those retailers that have not, he said. With the exclusive brand, he encouraged members to "get back in the power business."

Introduced as a new line at a previous market, faucets are delivering year-over-year comparable-sales increases -- up year-to-date 9% in dollars and 9.6% in units at retail, he said. 

Grills also present an opportunity, particularly on the low end. "You may not know this, but 73% of all gas grills are sold below $300," Clark said. "Our Grill Zone grills provide you an awesome product, terrific margin and your opportunity to capture share of that under-$300 business."