Ace Hardware Corporation today reported fiscal 2015 revenues of $5 billion, an increase of $344.5 million or 7.3 percent from fiscal 2014. Additionally, fiscal 2015 consisted of 52 weeks, compared to 53 weeks in fiscal 2014.
Despite one less week in the calendar year, the co-op came out ahead, and excluding the 53rd week in fiscal 2014, revenues increased $393.9 million or 8.5 percent. Net income was $156.2 million for fiscal 2015, an increase of $14.9 million or 10.5 percent from fiscal 2014.
“I’m honored to report the third consecutive year of record financial performance for the company,” John Venhuizen, president and CEO of Ace Hardware, says. “My sincere gratitude to the team for delivering shareholders an impressive pre-tax return on equity of 33 percent.”
Total wholesale revenues were $4.8 billion, an increase of $326.6 million, or 7.3 percent, as compared to the prior year. Increases were noted across all departments, with outdoor living, electrical and lawn and garden showing the largest gains.
Disregarding the missing week, the approximately 3,000 Ace retailers that share daily retail sales data enjoyed a strong 2015, with increased customer count and average transaction size driving a 4.6-percent increase in same store sales. Same-store-sales at these stores were up 3 percent for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.
“As the result of the strong 4.6 percent growth in same-store-sales, 158 new domestic stores and the disciplined execution of the entire Ace enterprise, we are delighted to deliver a record $146 million in patronage dividends,” Venhuizen says. “This 7.8-percent increase in patronage dividends, coupled with the $51 million customers receive in up front ‘dividends’ through reduced handling charges on price-sensitive products, brings total 2015 shareholder return to $197 million.”
Retail revenues from Ace Retail Holdings, which can be considered the Westlake Ace chain, were $251.7 million during fiscal 2015, an increase of $17.9 million or 7.7 percent. Average ticket price increased 3.3 percent and customer count increased 1.3 percent compared to fiscal 2014, leading to a same-store-sales increase of 4.6 percent. The largest increases were in lawn and garden, consumables and electrical.
Wholesale operating expenses increased $24.4 million, or 6 percent, for fiscal 2015 as compared to fiscal 2014. According to the company, this was primarily due to additional operating expenses resulting from the acquisition of Jensen-Byrd Co. in December 2014, increased warehouse costs associated with higher sales volume as well as increased advertising expenses.