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Ace Hardware plays mixed fiscal hand in Q1


Ace Hardware took home "record" first quarter revenues of $1.2 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 4.3% over last year.

The message was a little more muddled for earnings. Though its first quarter net income of $26.1 million was down 12.7% year-over-year, that figure was still 12.0% ahead of plan. It was also a planned reduction owing to the timing of promotions.

"Our first quarter was marked by modest revenue growth compared to the 10% increase in the first quarter of 2015," said John Venhuizen, president and CEO. "Nevertheless, all four of our pillars of growth are ahead of plan including Ace Hardware Domestic, Ace Hardware International Holdings, Ace Retail Holdings and Ace Wholesale Holdings."

Same-store sales received a boost of 2.2%, which was primarily the result of a 2.9% increase in average transaction size.

During the quarter, Ace also added 24 new domestic stores while cancelling 33, though its total domestic store count was still up by 50 for the year.

It also launched a new ad campaign that injects humor and seasonal specifics into its "Helpful Place" messaging.

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