Ace Hardware saw its sales and comps gain in the fourth quarter, pointing to new store growth as well as a lift from its Grommet acquisition.
Comparable store sales, based on 3,000 Ace Hardware retailers who share daily retail sales data, gained 3.1% in the quarter year over year.
Revenues were $1.32 billion versus $1.23 billion in the previous fourth quarter. Wholesale revenues were $1.23 billion and retail revenues were $89.4 million versus $1.17 billion and $64.4 billion, respectively, in the quarter a year prior. Operating income in the quarter was $16.6 million as compared to $22.5 million in the period a year before.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ended December 30, Ace Hardware posted company net income of $14 million versus $21.5 million in the period a year earlier.
For the full fiscal year, company net income was $146.6 million versus $160.9 million in the year earlier. Fiscal year revenues were $5.39 billion versus $5.13 billion in the previous fiscal year. Wholesale revenues were $5.09 billion and retail revenues were $297.2 million versus $4.86 billion and $262.3 million, respectively, in the prior year. Operating income was $156 million as compared to $170.3 million in the fiscal year before.
Net income included a charge of $4.1 million due to new tax legislation enacted in 2017, as well as $9.5 million of after-tax charges to reposition the warehouse and call center network in support of future growth. With the unbudgeted charges excluded, Ace asserted that its net income for fiscal 2017 exceeded its plan.
“New store growth, a 3.1% increase in same-store retail sales, along with revenues from our acquisition of The Grommet at the end of the last quarter, were the predominant drivers behind our strong 6.8% overall sales increase and record setting fourth quarter revenue,” said John Venhuizen, Ace president and CEO. “I’m also encouraged to report that 2017 marked the fifth-straight year of increased customer transactions at retail, the sixth-straight year of net new store count growth, the eighth-straight year of increased same-store-sales, and the eleventh-straight year receiving the J.D. Power award for highest customer satisfaction.”