For the fiscal year of 2018, Ace Hardware set a record for revenues but saw lower profits as expenses rose.
In the fiscal year, comparable store sales increased 2.3% year over year. Revenues were $5.72 billion versus $5.39 billion in the year prior. Retail revenues were $375.4 million as compared to $297.2 million in the year before. Wholesale revenues were $5.34 billion versus $5.09 billion in the year previous. Operating income decreased to $128.5 from $156 million year over year.
Ace Hardware posted company net income of $127.7 million versus $146.6 million in the year earlier. The decrease in net income arose from warehouse expansion costs, lower retail support center productivity and increased marketing and advertising expenses, the company said.
For the fiscal fourth quarter, Ace posted company net income of $25.1 million versus $14 million in the period a fiscal year earlier.
Comps gained 1.3% in the quarter year over year. Revenues were $1.39 billion versus $1.32 billion in the quarter a year prior. Retail revenues were $108.7 million as compared to $89.4 million in the period a year before. Wholesale revenues were $1.28 billion versus $1.23 billion in the previous-year quarter. Operating income increased to $20.5 million from $16.6 million in the period year over year.
“Strong new store growth, increased same-store sales, and a 43% increase in acehardware.com revenues helped us realize a healthy 5.7% increase in revenues during the fourth quarter,” said John Venhuizen, Ace president and CEO. “The 6.1% full-year growth fueled our $142 million dividend distribution to shareholders. While still meaningful, this is a reduction from last year driven by our expanded assortment, higher inventory and lower retail support center productivity which drove expenses up and profit down for the year.”