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.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2016 58 On a comp-store basis, of the eight existing Wilco stores that went through a paint and sundries department retrofit, the results exceeded overall store growth results—some by a large margin. While year-over-year total sales growth from 2014 to 2015 increased by 7.6 percent for the comp store group, year- over-year paint and sundries department sales (which were flat the previous two years) grew by approximately 16.8 percent, or $180,000. This outpaced overall store growth by 9.2 percent. And the liquid paint category saw more than a 20-percent sales growth year over year on a comparable-store basis. (For full project results, turn to Page 52. For a comprehensive look at individual comp-store results, go to TheRedT.com/store-results.) As for gross profits, the re-launch of the paint and sundries department generated an additional $72,691 gross margin dollars in 2015 vs. 2014 as a result of the resets (an increase of 18.4 percent), outpacing total comp-store gross margin dollar growth by double digits. While it didn't cover all project expenses in year one, it came close. More importantly, it set the paint and sundries department on a new growth trajectory that has continued for the first half of 2016. Potter, Colson and Ricksger admit their initial project goal of growing the paint department from 1.6 to 3.0 percent of total store sales was a stretch, and a performance metric that will likely take years to attain when you factor in the double-digit pace of overall sales growth for the company. But overall, they are pleased with the results. Paying It Back; Paying It Forward The diligence and hard work the trio put into their paint and sundries department re-launch project has definitely paid off for the company. The past year and a half of results shows it was a resounding success, and has even covered the majority of their RMCP course tuition. Today, that department's growth continues to outpace overall sales and gross profit dollar growth by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Just as important, the three have taken a stagnant, underperforming category and realigned their merchandising and assortment strategy to make it consistent with the rest of the company. For Wilco, paying it forward is another part of the ROI equation. Potter returns to Indianapolis twice a year as an RMCP alumni instructor and presents the project to current students. "I remember when we were part of that first class and working on our project," he says. "It would have been nice to have had a past student give details on how they went about completing their project." Continued from Page 54 Several of Wilco's locations were impacted by the revitalization of the company's paint and sundries departments, so it was important to make sure the merchandising and decor was consistent across each location.

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