April 2003

Big Box Bulletin

Home Depot to Bring 
125 Jobs to Frederick County, Va.
Home Depot will build a 750,000-square-foot distribution center in Virginia.n

Gov. Mark R. Warner recently announced that Atlanta-based Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, expects to create 125 new jobs in Frederick County, Va. The company is making a $25-million investment to build a 750,000-square-foot distribution center in the East Gate Industrial Park there. The new center will distribute merchandise from countries outside the United States to more than 100 Home Depot stores in the Mid-Atlantic states. Most of the jobs will involve warehousing, but there will also be management and administrative positions available. The center is expected to open in fall 2003. Gov. Warner approved a $150,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Frederick County with the project. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Port Authority and the Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission also assisted in bringing Home Depot to Frederick County. The retailer qualifies for a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit, a statutory incentive available to all qualifying companies. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services. 

Trading Hardware for Diamonds
“Seventy-five years after three brothers named Rolliers opened a plumbing services business on Walnut Street, their descendants have decided it makes sense to close the family’s hardware store and lease the now-tony Shadyside address to a tenant selling diamonds and pearls. Which means by next summer, Henne Jewelers will open a big, new store in the space where Rolliers Shadyside Hardware has been stocking hammers and housewares,” reported a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“We do feel bad about leaving the community,” said Rick Faller, treasurer of Rolliers. “That was our hardest decision.”

According to the article, the closing of the store is attributed to the opening of a Home Depot nearby in East Liberty in February 2000. Rolliers’ sales began falling around that time, but the company doesn’t just attribute it to the Home Depot opening; a number of other stores opened nearby too, such as Lowe’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target.

The company looked for another location for its store, but nothing surfaced. 

“In the end, the economics of rising rents on Walnut Street and falling hardware sales made the case for closing the store and leasing it to someone else,” said the article.

Sodisco-Howden Forms Union with Ace
Sodisco-Howden Group Inc. of Montreal recently announced it has signed a letter of intent with Ace Hardware Corp. for a strategic alliance that calls for the purchase of all issued and outstanding shares of Ace Hardware Canada Limited, reported Canada Newswire.

Ace Canada, headquartered in Markham, Ontario, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ace Hardware Corp., based in Oak Brook, Ill. Ace Canada distributes hardware and home renovation products to 120 Ace and dual-branded hardware and home renovation centers across Canada.

Sodisco-Howden will pay Ace Hardware approximately $15 million, reflecting the value of inventory and receivables. Sodisco-Howden may also realize a net benefit in the future of up to $6 million in net tax operating losses of Ace Canada. The transaction is expected to close in the first 
quarter of 2003.

Home Depot Revises Earnings
The Home Depot, based in Atlanta, recently announced that it is revising its diluted earnings per share guidance for the fiscal year ending February 2, 2003, from $1.57 to between $1.53 and $1.55. The change in earnings per share outlook is due to slowing sales during the month of December, which lowered the company’s expectation of a decline in comparable store sales in the fourth quarter to as much as 10 percent versus previously provided guidance of a decline of between 3 and 5 percent. 

Reflecting this quarterly guidance, The Home Depot said it expects total sales growth of 10 percent and earnings per share growth of 21 to 23 percent on a comparable 52-week basis for fiscal 2002.

NFRC’s Pilot Program is Underway at Lowe’s
The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) pilot program is underway at the giant retailer Lowe’s. Informational sheets containing information about NFRC, including a description of the NFRC label and the address of a dedicated website that customers can visit for more information, have been or will soon be placed in approximately 60 Lowe’s stores in the following markets:
• The Washington, D.C., metro area;

• The Dallas metro area;

• Baltimore and Fredrick, Md.;

• Los Angeles;

• Cleveland;

• South Florida, including Broward and Palm Beach counties;

• Topeka, Kan.; and

• Kansas City, Mo.

The tear pads can be found at the millwork desks in these stores, as well as in the aisles containing windows and doors. (See related article—“Label This!”—in the June 2002 issue of SHELTER on page 34.)




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