USA: Ace Hardware reports record growth in the second quarter

The U.S. cooperative Ace Hardware is the latest business to report record sales during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its affiliated independent hardware stores in the USA have reported a 35.3 per cent increase in like-for-like sales. This growth was the result of a 14.4 per cent increase in same-store transactions and an 18.2 per cent increase in average ticket.

According to the company, Ace stores in the U.S. benefited from increased do-it-yourself activities by consumers sheltering in place, a shift in discretionary spending from travel and entertainment to home improvement, and consumers moving their purchases online and consolidating their store visits in order to limit potential Covid-19 exposure.

Overall sales rose by 35.1 per cent to USD 2.2791 bn (EUR 1.9238 bn). USD 1.0299 bn (EUR 870 mio) of this was accounted for by central wholesale sales, which increased by 32.8 per cent. The stores operated by the central office achieved retail revenues of USD 249.2 bn (EUR 210.4 mio), equivalent to an increase of 57.0 per cent.

Ace’s e-commerce sales have increased almost six-fold (plus 493 per cent).

“There is certainly both a blessing and a burden in being essential,” said John Venhuizen, president and CEO. “My earnest thanks to our drivers, warehouse specialists, red-vested heroes and the entire Ace team. Our efforts to support our stores and serve our neighbours have been imperfect during this pandemic, but the sincerity, efficacy and compassion with which it was delivered was exceptional and appreciated.”

However, the International branch of Ace has not seen the same growth as the US. While hardware and home improvement stores were considered “essential” and were allowed to remain open throughout the U.S., that was not the case across much of the world. Up to fifty per cent of the stores operating outside the USA by Ace Hardware were closed at some point during the quarter. As a result, the wholesale sales of the central business with its foreign partners declined by 0.8 per cent.