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USA Today honors Porch.com CEO

BY CSA STAFF

Porch.com CEO Matt Ehrlichman has been named the USA Today Entrepreneur of the Year for 2014.

Key criteria of the award included exhibiting significant growth this year and solving a consumer problem.

Ehrlichman won the honor after a team of USA Today editors sorted through 10 finalists.

I am very humbled by this honor," said Ehrlichman. "The last year has been a very special time for Porch and 100 percent of the credit goes to our amazing team and our partners. I consider this acknowledgment a true credit to the entire company as I am truly blessed to work alongside such an exceptional group of individuals on this once-in-a-lifetime ride."

Launched in September 2013, Porch is the home network, free for homeowners and professionals. With over 2.8 million professionals and over 120 million projects, Porch enables homeowners to make smart home improvement decisions by giving them the services they need to find the right professionals, get inspiration, and manage their home. Throughout 2014 Porch continued to extend the breadth of the home network growing from 1.5 million professionals to over 2.8 million with project insights growing from 90 million to over 120 million.

In January 2014 Porch announced a strategic partnership with Lowe's that would see the home improvement retailer use Porch as their in-store resource to help homeowners find the right home improvement professionals for nearly any project outside of Lowe's current installation services.

By May Porch was available in every Lowe's store in the nation. In December 2014 Porch entered the mobile space with the national release of the Porch App.

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PetSmart fetches buyer for $8.7 billion

BY CSA STAFF

After weeks of exploring “strategic alternatives,” PetSmart has agreed to be acquired for about $8.7 billion by a consortium led by London-based BC Partners.

"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with BC Partners, which maximizes value for all of our shareholders and best positions PetSmart to continue to meet the needs of pet parents," said Gregory Josefowicz, chairman of PetSmart. "This transaction represents the successful conclusion of our extensive review of strategic alternatives."

PetSmart's board of directors voted unanimously for the deal, but the sale requires approval from PetSmart shareholders. The deal should close in the first half of next year, pending regulatory approval.

We are very pleased to add PetSmart to our portfolio of investments," said Raymond Svide of BC Partners. "PetSmart is an iconic brand and the category leader in the growing pet retail industry."

In the third quarter of this year, total sales at PetSmart increased 2.6% to $1.7 billion. Service sales during the quarter increased 6% to $195.3 million. Net income was essentially flat at $92.2 million, but earnings per share increased to 92 cents from 88 cents due to a decline in the number of shares outstanding from the third quarter the prior year.

The company, founded in 1987, has about 53,000 employees and 1,352 stores.

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Marketplaces outstrip digital growth in November

BY CSA STAFF

Online sales at third party marketplaces grew faster than the overall industry, according to cloud-based e-commerce solutions provider ChannelAdvisor.

The digital measurement firm reports that November was a mixed month for e-commerce channels. But Amazon, Google Shopping and Other 3PMs (third party marketplaces) grew materially faster than the 16% e-commerce baseline growth rate comScore had predicted.

Specifically, ChannelAdvisor reports:

  • Amazon: Amazon’s November same store sales came in at 35.7%, an increase compared to October’s 32.4%.
  • EBay: eBay’s November came in at 9.8%, up from October’s 4.4% and below the e-commerce growth rate.
  • Other 3PM: 3PM continued strong growth in November, coming in at 41.6%, a decrease from October’s 65.5%. They are growing at three times the pace of e-commerce.
  • CSE: Comparison Shopping Engines came in at 12.3% for November, up from October’s 4.2%. This was largely driven by weakness in the traditional CSE segment that over-shadowed strength in Google Shopping.
  • Search: Search came in at 15.6% for November, an increase from October’s 6.7% y/y growth.
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