Hardware Retailing

FEB 2017

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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February 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 75 When it came to expanding their operations, retailers seem to be focusing on internal opportunities—at least in the short term. NRHA's research showed that 23 percent of independent retailers felt adding new products and niches to their existing assortments represented their biggest opportunity for growth. Over the short-term (one to three years), retailers identified adding new products and niches, refining operational efficiencies and developing stronger teams as the top three pathways to increased success. For retailers like Smith, this means tweaking the business to attract a younger customer base. "We really want to focus on making changes to the operation that will help us attract more millennials into our store," Smith told Conference attendees. "This means looking at what retailers outside of our industry are doing and utilizing those ideas in our own stores. We can't have tunnel vision." Channel Cooperation In addition to discussion about the challenges and opportunities retailers face, the State of Independents Conference and NRHA research also looked at independent retailers' relationships with other channel members—namely manufacturers and distributors. In this area, NRHA's research revealed that independent retailers are generally pleased with the support they get from their channel partners, but they still feel there is room for improvement in areas such as communications. To single out industry partners that independent retailers feel are going above and beyond to meet their needs, NRHA also recognized four manufacturers with Channel Partnership Awards during the State of Independents Conference. These award winners were selected based on feedback from NRHA research. As part of one of the surveys, independent retailers were simply asked to identify which manufacturers they felt were "best in class when it comes to supporting their success." This year's winners were Stihl Inc., Weber Grills, Benjamin Moore & Co. and Valspar. For more information about NRHA's research or the State of Independents Conference, please contact Dan Tratensek directly at DanT@nrha.org. For more information about the National Hardware Show, go to nationalhardwareshow.com.

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