MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: Ace ranks highest in customer satisfaction among home-improvement chains

BY CSA STAFF

Westlake Village, Calif. For the fourth consecutive year, Ace Hardware ranks highest in customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study.

The study, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction with home-improvement stores, based on performance in five factors: merchandise; price; sales and promotions; staff and service; and store facility. Ace Hardware had a score of 791 on a 1,000-point scale and performs particularly well in two factors: staff and service and store facility. True Value (779), Menards (761) and Lowe’s (759) follow Ace Hardware in the rankings.

The results of the study indicate that home-improvement retailers that are customer-focused are better able to attract and retain loyal customers who might have otherwise shopped at a more conveniently located retailer.

“As customers continue to take on projects themselves instead of hiring someone and with spending in the home-improvement retail market beginning to increase, being known for providing superior customer service may translate directly to the bottom line,” said Christina Cooley, senior manager of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

While the convenience of the store location is often the main reason for shopping at a specific home-improvement retailer, Ace Hardware and True Value have been able to differentiate themselves and draw larger proportions of customers due to perceptions of good customer service, compared with other major home-improvement retailers, the study found.

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Limited Brands sees EPS increase

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio Limited Brands reported that adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter ended May 1, were 25 cents compared with earnings per share of 1 cent for the quarter ended May 2, 2009. First quarter operating income was $185 million compared with operating income of $65.2 million last year, and adjusted net income was $82.9 million compared with net income of $2.6 million last year.

Comparable-store sales for the first quarter increased 10%, and net sales were $1.93 billion compared to $1.72 billion last year. 

 

The company stated that it expects 2010 second-quarter adjusted earnings per share to be 27 cents to 32 cents compared with adjusted earnings per share of 19 cents per share last year. 

For 2010, the company expects adjusted earnings per share of $1.60 to $1.80.

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Children’s Place Q1 sales, earnings up

BY CSA STAFF

SECAUCUS, N.J. The Children’s Place Retail Stores announced first-quarter net income from continuing operations of $28 million, or $1.00 per diluted share for the 13-week period ended May 1, compared with $23.7 million, or 80 cents per share in the first quarter of 2009.

Net sales increased 5% to $422.1 million in the first quarter of 2010, compared with $401.9 in the first quarter of 2009. Comparable-retail sales, which include online sales, declined 0.5% in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 compared with a 1% increase the previous year. During the first quarter of 2010, comparable-store sales declined 1.7% in the United States and 4.6% in Canada, while online sales increased 22%.

“We delivered record financial results and made significant progress on key initiatives in the first quarter of 2010,” commented Jane Elfers, president and CEO of The Children’s Place. “We strengthened the senior leadership team with the appointment of five talented and experienced executives to head our merchandising, planning, outlet, information technology and human resources operations. In addition, we accelerated our new store openings, sharpened our marketing programs and continued to drive double-digit online growth.”

The company updated its guidance for fiscal 2010 and now projects earnings per diluted share from continuing operations will be in the range of $3.05 to $3.15, reflecting its first quarter results, from its initial guidance of $2.90 to $3.10. The company provided initial guidance for the second quarter of 2010, which is forecast to be a loss per share from continuing operations of 38 cents to 33 cents.

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