During its semi-annual convention and exhibition last month, Ace Hardware Corp. said it enjoyed substantial growth in priority markets across the country. Ace retailers opened 30 new locations in the first quarter and 36 in the second for a total of 66 new activations year to date.
The figure represents an 8% increase versus 2011. By region, Ace opened 31 stores in the Midwest, Northeast and Atlantic Coast, 17 openings in the Southeast and 18 openings in the West.
The pace of store conversions also increased. So far in 2012, 31 retail locations have converted to Ace Hardware from competitive formats compared to 16 conversions in 2011’s first half.
Ace attributed a number of openings and conversion to the launch of its Express format. Designed specifically for stores occupying 5,000 square feet or less, current or potential Ace operators can take advantage of the Express format. Currently, Express format locations operate in seven of the United States: California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
“Our aggressive, long-term growth strategy features a total package of resources and support to ensure a successful future for our retailers,” said Mike Berschauer, director, retail development. “After a prosperous second quarter focused on store activations and conversions, Ace is on-track to achieve its goal of opening 170 new domestic stores in 2012.”