Hardware Retailing

OCT 2016

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

Issue link: http://www.hardwareretailingarchive.com/i/730317

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O n the cover of this issue, you probably noticed Jon McGehee of Reedsburg True Value taking aim with his trusty bow and arrow. While Jon is an avid hunter himself, this month's cover image was selected to draw (no pun intended; OK, maybe a little) attention to our feature story on the emerging hunting and outdoor category that so many home improvement retailers are finding success with. From bows and arrows to clothing and deer urine (you read that right), home improvement retailers are adding hunting and outdoor products to their shelves as the hobby continues to grow in popularity. This is certainly the case at Reedsburg True Value up in Wisconsin, where more and more hunters are getting ready to hit the woods this month as the season begins. Learn more in the story on Page 70. Hunting and outdoors is just one of the many niche categories that home improvement retailers have embraced lately as a means to attract traffic to their stores, expand their sales opportunities to new customers and exploit opportunities in their markets. For you, it might not be hunting, but there are likely other niche categories you can focus on to achieve all these same goals. And while it's highly important to find new ways to energize your business, remember that in the rush to find new and exciting products outside the sphere of home improvement, you cannot lose focus on your core categories. Even if you add hunting supplies, Christmas collectibles or an assortment of pottery wheels, your customers identify and judge you first and foremost as a home improvement retailer. If you fail to live up to your customers' expectations in the core categories, you stand to do more harm than good to your business. That's not to say a good retailer can't both pay attention to core category performance and explore unique niche areas. But sometimes retailers can get caught playing with a shiny new toy and forget to pay attention to the core categories that brought them to the dance. It's easy to get excited about the success of a recent niche addition, even if that niche represents just a small percentage of overall sales for the store. At the same time, it can be easy to turn a blind eye if a core category is only slightly underperforming. The truth is, the core category's sluggish performance likely represents a much larger impact on sales than the success of a burgeoning niche. That's why we also spend some time in this issue focusing on how retailers can revive core categories that may not be performing to expectation. On Page 44, we look at one operation that identified subtle yet serious performance issues within its paint department. Through some solid research, planning and a commitment to improve performance, this retailer was able to revamp this department and improve nearly every performance metric within the category. Our story will provide you details about how this retailer identified the problem, developed their plan for improvement, implemented and then measured their progress. We also provide some useful questions you should ask yourself when examining category performance. So while you are busy sourcing Indonesian incense for your housewares display or craft-brewed ginger beer for the checkout lane, just don't forget the important role core categories play in your operation. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org Keeping Your Eye on the Core Taking Care of Business HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2016 10 " The truth is the core category's sluggish performance likely represents a much larger impact on sales than the success of a burgeoning niche. "

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