The spring home selling season is almost here and a resilient consumer is lifting more than just the big-box players like Home Depot (HD - Get Report) and Lowe's (LOW - Get Report) , said John Venhuizen, CEO of Ace Hardware.
"We are more about home preservation than home renovation thus the housing cycle does not impact us as much, but I think it is steadily improving and that is good for all of us," said Venhuizen.
Home Depot shares were up 28% in 2015, while Lowe's was up 12%.
"The big box players are doing very well at the 'stack it high, watch it fly' low price style of selling, but then the specialty, convenience, high-touch retailers are also doing very well, and we are fortunate to be in that latter space," said Venhuizen.
Ace is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world with more than 4,800 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe. Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 17 distribution centers in the U.S. and also have distribution capabilities in Shanghai, China; Panama City, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Consolidated revenues for Ace for fiscal 2015 totaled $5 billion, an increase of $344.5 million, or 7.3%, as compared to the prior year. The approximately 3,000 Ace retailers who share daily retail sales data enjoyed a strong fiscal 2015 posting a 4.6% same-store-sales increase. Same-store-sales at these stores were up 3% percent for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.
Ace added 158 new domestic stores in fiscal 2015 and closed 98 stores for a net increase of 60. This brought the company's total domestic store count to 4,311 at the end of fiscal 2015.
"The health of the local Ace retailer is a bit of a proxy for the health of the small business nationwide," said Venhuizen. "We believe small business is the heartbeat of America and it fuels global economies. There's a reason why we have had record sales and profits and it speaks to the success and acumen of our owners, but also the health of the consumer."