Mike Miazga 2017-04-05 01:44:15
LOCKE SUPPLY TRADE SHOW ANOTHER HUGE SUCCESS A large crowd turned out for Oklahoma-based Locke Supply’s biannual trade show recently held at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. While an official attendance number is not kept, Locke Supply Director of Plumbing Sales and Branch Operations Kyle Cline told Supply House Times lunch was served for about two hours each day and the company served 10,500 lunches during that combined four-hour time-span. “We fed more people this year and it ‘felt’ bigger,” Cline said. The show attracts a variety of Locke Supply customers including contractors, general contractors, journeymen, apprentices, architects and engineers. Locke closes its branches on the Saturday of the show to allow all associates to attend, Cline noted. “Our trade show offers customers the opportunity to interact directly with the manufacturers from whom they purchase,” Cline said. “It gives them a tremendous opportunity to see new product and learn the benefits of the products Locke Supply offers. On the flip-side, our vendors have the opportunity to interact with thousands of customers who are actually in the field installing their product. You don’t get that with most of the trade shows our vendors attend. Also, this is our opportunity to show our customers how much Locke appreciates their business.” In addition to lunch, the trade show, which in earlier years was held in a small building at the state fairgrounds before consistent growth necessitated a move to the larger convention center in Oklahoma City, features a plethora of opportunities for attendees to win prizes. Some of the prizes won included four-wheelers, a bass boat, Polaris Rangers and RAZRs, numerous trips, autographed sports memorabilia, gun safes, freezers, Tvs and electronics. Locke, a member of the AD buying group, also offered breakout sessions, which are classes sponsored by manufacturers to provide new product information to customers. Some of the classes were approved for continuing education credits. A total of 304 manufacturers attended the event this year spanning the plumbing, electrical and HVAC industries. “Our vendors put forth a tremendous amount of effort for this show,” Cline said. “Every year we have vendors that step up and make their booths bigger and better. Some of our vendors brought the same booth setup to our show as they did to AHR Expo. Our customers always are excited to see how much bigger the show is every time we hold it.” —Mike Miazga ASA MEMBER DISTRIBUTORS REPORT STRONG JANUARY NUMBERS American Supply Association wholesaler distributors reported a median sales increase of 9.6% for the month ending Jan. 31, 2017, compared to the same month in 2016. Calendar year-to-date, all respondents reported median sales growth of 9.6% and the median increase for the trailing 12 months is 4.5%. Inventory rose 3.1% compared to the prior year and the median three-months average days sales outstanding jumped from 42. 0 to 45.8 days. Nearly half (49.4%) of respondents reported an increase in gross margin percentages for January 2017 vs. 2016, and company year-to-date profit before taxes increased 60% for the total sample. The percentage of respondents having more full-time-equivalent employees compared to a year ago increased from 49.4% in December to 52.9% in January. Industrial PVF distributors reported a median sales increase of 11.5% for the month compared to January 2016. Calendar year-to-date PVF respondents reported a median sales increase of 11.5% and the median increase for the trailing 12 months is 0.9%. Inventories grew 5.0% compared to the prior year and the median three months- average DSOs jumped from 43 days in December to 46 in January. PVF respondents reporting an increase in company YTD profit before taxes increased from 47. 1% in December to 66.7% in January. GATEWAY SUPPLY OPENS NEW LEXINGTON LOCATION Columbia, S.C.-based Gateway Supply recently moved into a new-build 12,000-square-foot building in Lexington, S.C. The new facility includes a 4,000-square-foot Kohler Premier showroom, a full sell-service plumbing/HVAC sales counter and a fully stocked warehouse. The six-employee location is run by Branch Manager Jimmy Roe and Showroom Consultant Meredith Elliott. “Our previous location was half the size and didn’t have a full warehouse,” Gateway Supply Director of Marketing Aimee Williams Garrett told Supply House Times. “The old building was in a good location but difficult to access and was no longer big enough to handle our needs which limited our ability to grow. We now have enough space for all of our product offerings and have room to grow not only with plumbing products but also with HVAC parts and equipment. “Our new Lexington showroom is now a Kohler Premier showroom and offers the industry’s leading manufacturers for bath and kitchen fixtures.” In addition to plumbers, builders, designers and architects, Gateway invites the public to shop at its counter area and in the showroom. “Products and parts are now on the shelves so our customers have full access to what they need,” Garrett said. Gateway, a member of the Embassy buying group, has 14 branches and nine showrooms throughout South Carolina. “The new location has already taken off,” Garrett said. “It’s in a great location with easy access and we have a lot more space for our customers.” —Mike Miazga WINSUPPLY OPENS TWO NEW LOCATIONS Dayton, Ohio-based Winsupply recently announced the opening of two new locations in Southern California and Arkansas. The national distributor opened a Winsupply fire and fabrication location in Lake Elsinore, Calif., serving fire-sprinkler system contractors throughout Southern California. The manager of the local Winsupply company, Bryan Geer, and his team bring more than 100 combined years of experience supplying and fabricating fire sprinkler equipment and systems. Geer has led a company, served as vice president of sales and was an estimator for more than 20 years in the fire sprinkler industry. His team of 13 people includes experts in fire sprinkler sales, fabrication, welding, estimating and warehousing. “The fire sprinkler supplies and fabrication industry continues to be an area of growth at Winsupply,” CEO and President Roland Gordon said. “Bryan and his team are experts in fire sprinklers and fabrication. With their combined expertise and local customer focus – and the strong partnership with Winsupply – they’re well positioned to serve the entire region. They have strong existing relationships with contractors in the area.” Additionally, the company announced the opening of Winwater of Northeast Arkansas, serving waterworks contractors throughout the northeast part of the state. The company is located just east of Jonesboro in Lake City. Tony Robinson is the president of the new company. He leads a team of four who have 25 combined years of experience in the waterworks industry. Robinson and his team formerly were part of Little Rock Winwater and had been operating in Lake City as a satellite location. The two companies now operate separately, but are both part of Winsupply. “Tony is an experienced business owner with years of experience in waterworks products and has established customer relationships in the northeast part of Arkansas,” Gordon said. “Tony took advantage of what we call the ‘Spirit of Opportunity’ at Winsupply in which we share ownership in the company. He can now work with his customers in an owner-to-owner relationship with local decision-making authority.” HARDI DISTRIBUTORS REPORT JANUARY REVENUE INCREASE HARDI’s monthly TRENDS report shows average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 12.2% in January. The average annualized growth for the 12 months through December 2016 is 9.2%. The association noted this is the strongest annual pace since 2011 when comparing against the end of The Great Recession. “HARDI distributors started 2017 at a fast clip,” HARDI Market Research & Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus said. “The reported gain was helped by one extra billing day and being compared against a soft January 2016.” HARDI Senior Economist Connor Lokar added: “Pricing will, and likely already has, started to impact this number in a positive manner. The US Producer Price Index contracted throughout much of 2015 and all of 2016, but rose 1.8% on average during the last three months. Essentially every raw material (agricultural commodities not included) is in a rising price trend.” The days sales outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is now at 46.2 days. “This is the best report for this time of year for this economic expansion,” Loftus said. “Distributor customers are busy and paying their bills on time.” FIRST SUPPLY OPENS NEW KOHLER SIGNATURE STORE Earlier this month, Kohler expanded accessibility of its bath and kitchen products with the opening of a Kohler Signature Store in Kansas City, Kan. Solely owned and operated by La Crosse, Wis.-based First Supply, the new store is located in Overland Park’s Hawthorne Plaza. “First Supply has a longstanding relationship with Kohler,” said Brea Lonze, sales and operations manager for First Supply. “We are thrilled to bring the first Kohler Signature Store concept to the Kansas City area. Like Kohler, we pride ourselves on running a family-owned business with an innovative approach to kitchen and bath design.” The Kohler Signature Store offers full design services for both kitchen and bath such as product selection, design development and project assistance. It also will feature fully functional vignettes and suites, including kitchen and bath products from Kohler, Robern, Kohler Surfaces title and stone, Kohler vanities, and Kallista. Additionally, the store will feature Ann Sacks tile and stone and cabinetry from Masterbrand Cabinets, making it a one-stop shop for full kitchen and bathroom projects. “We provide a gracious service and unique experience that isn’t currently available in the marketplace,” Lonze said. “Customers will see, touch and interact with products that work. This level of engagement allows customers to get familiar with hundreds of products exclusively from the Kohler brands.” This is First Supply’s third Kohler Signature Store opening. The distributor also owns locations in Wauwatosa, Wis., and Edina, Minn. The Edina location was the first KSS to open in the country in 2012. For more information, visit www.kohlersignaturestoreoverlandpark.com. BREAKING NEWS: FERGUSON CEO ROACH TO RETIRE In a flurry of news just prior to press time in late March, Ferguson announced CEO Frank Roach will retire this summer, parent company Wolseley plc will change its name to Ferguson plc, plus the national distributor released its first-half results. Ferguson announced Roach will retire July 31. Current Ferguson Chief Operating Officer Kevin Murphy will assume the role of CEO effective Aug. 1. Roach was appointed CEO of Wolseley’s North American Division in January 2006, and in August 2009 assumed additional responsibilities as CEO of Ferguson. Murphy joined Ferguson in 1999 through the acquisition of his family’s business, Midwest Pipe and Supply. He has served in a variety of leadership roles and was appointed as Ferguson’s COO in 2007. Under Roach’s leadership, Ferguson has grown through strategic acquisitions, organic growth and an unwavering focus on customer service, the distributor noted. Also, Wolseley plc announced a name change to Ferguson plc, subject to shareholder approval. Ferguson is the most significant brand in the Wolseley Group of companies and accounts for 84% of the Wolseley’s profitability. “We are proud to have the Wolseley Group adopt the Ferguson name. We have built a very strong brand over the last 64 years and are known for our performance reputation,” Roach said. “The Ferguson name best represents the group today and will help create greater shareholder interest in the U.S.” Effective Aug. 1, the new Ferguson plc will report in U.S. dollars, minimizing currency volatility. The company will remain listed on the London Stock Exchange and as a member of the FTSE 100. Additionally, Ferguson reported sales growth of 9. 9%, increasing its revenue 5.4% on a like-for-like basis, which measures growth of Ferguson’s existing stores or branches open for at least one year. Acquisitions contributed 2.5% of additional revenue growth, with remaining growth from new locations and two additional sales days this year. The company’s trading margin was 7.8% and trading profit was 9.1% ahead of last year. Ferguson reported it grew market share in all its major businesses. Residential and commercial markets, new construction and renovation, maintenance and improvement experienced steady growth in the first half. Blended branches (locations serving both residential and commercial customers) continued to generate good growth from a combination of growing markets and market-share gains. The B2C e-commerce business grew strongly. Fire and fabrication, HVAC and commercial MRO generated good growth with waterworks growing more modestly in flat markets, Ferguson noted. The company completed six acquisitions in the first half of fiscal year 2017. WILO USA ANNOUNCES ACQUISITIONS Pump and pump solutions manufacturer Wilo USA announced it has, under the terms of an asset deal, acquired pump manufacturers Weil Pump Co., and Scot Pump Co., as well as component manufacturer Karak Machine Corp. The three companies employ around 150 people and have headquarters and production facilities in Cedarburg, Wis., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “This acquisition is a fantastic step in Wilo’s growth and reinforces our commitment to the North American market,” Region Americas President Gary Mannus said. “Weil and Scot are two strong brands that will help expand our sales channels and customer base throughout the region. The manufacturing capacity of Karak will enable us to further expand our ability to deliver high-quality products that are made in the USA.” Weil specializes in manufacturing wastewater pumps and systems, and Scot concentrates on the OEM end-suction pump market for the plastics, agricultural and chemical industries. Scot also has a branch in Fort Lauderdale, which manufactures marine pumps for the shipbuilding industry. For several years, Karak Machine has served both Weil and Scot as a manufacturer of essential pump components. STANLEY BLACK & DECKER COMPLETES CRAFTSMAN PURCHASE Tool manufacturer Stanley Black & Decker announced it has successfully completed its purchase of the Craftsman brand from Sears Holdings Corp., for a net present value of about $900 million in cash, giving Stanley Black & Decker the right to develop, manufacture and sell Craftsman-branded products outside the Sears Holdings and Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores distribution channels. The transaction originally was announced Jan. 5, 2017. As previously announced, Stanley Black & Decker has made a $525 million cash payment to Sears Holdings at closing and will make a $250 million payment at the end of year three and annual payments to Sears Holdings of between 2.5% and 3.5% on new Stanley Black & Decker sales of Craftsman products through year 15.
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