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Ace strong in first quarter


Ace Hardware president and CEO John Venhuizen called the company’s first quarter the "best for both revenues and net income in its 90-year history," thanks to strong performance in its core categories.

The co-op reported total revenues of $1.1 billion for the first quarter, up 16.8% from the same quarter last year. Net income was $24.4 million, up from $4.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

"While the frigid winter certainly helped our Q1 business, I'm pleased to see our winter categories were less than 20% of our overall growth as all core hardline departments were up sharply and contributed significantly to our increase," said Venhuizen.

At Ace Retail Holdings, the co-op's retail arm created with the late 2012 purchase of the Westlake Ace Hardware chain, sales increased 9.8% to $43.7 million. Once again, increased sales of winter goods bolstered sales.

During the quarter, the co-op added 84 new stores to its ranks, while canceling 35 stores. That activity brought the company's global total store tally to 4,878.

The 3,100 Ace retailers who share POS data showed same-store-sales growth of 5.2%, the company said.

Regarding the company's first-quarter acquisition of Maine-based regional distributor Emery-Waterhouse, the company said the move "serves as a catalyst to leverage wholesale purchasing power."

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