Higher tariffs may be coming, and House-Hasson Hardware, the country’s largest independent regional hardware distributor, is helping its hardware store and lumberyard retailers deal with increased tariffs already in place, as well as those scheduled in the future.
At its October 2018 Fall Dealer Market in Sevierville, Tennessee, retailers took advantage of reduced-cost buying programs to purchase goods at prices that help them in the face of these recently enacted and scheduled tariffs. On Jan. 1, 2019, tariffs are expected to increase to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods imported into the U.S, according to data from the distributor.
“Maintaining dealer profitability in the face of the potential tariff increases was a factor in our October dealer market buying programs,” says Don Hasson, president of House-Hasson Hardware. “Dealers took advantage of the market to buy items at lower cost that they can sell at competitive prices even if the tariffs go into effect.
“If the tariff increase doesn’t occur, or if the tariffs overall are reduced or eliminated, our retailers will be in an even better profitability position because of the savings they achieved at the market. Either way, it puts a premium on thoughtful and information-driven decision making.”
Hasson says that compared to 2017, October market vendor participation was up 10 percent, with sales up 14 percent.
House-Hasson is looking ahead as it works with retailers on what might, or might not, happen in January.
“We’re advising and consulting individually with dealers both at our markets and in our regular contacts with them to help them prepare,” says Pat McCutcheon, House-Hasson’s vice president of sales. “At the same time, the economy is remaining strong, which is a positive. The better the deals we give our dealers, the better they can serve their customers.
“In January, they want to start showcasing their spring goods, and what makes our markets so attractive is that they can buy for the future at lower costs through our bonus buys, drop-ship specials, pallet buys, and other programs,” McCutcheon says. “In our planning for the January 2019 market in Nashville, we can see dealers are thinking ahead about the tariffs.”
McCutcheon says industry analysts have differing views on the tariffs’ effects, which means the combination of retailer and House-Hasson local market knowledge is the primary factor in planning for the future.
“Industry trends overall may impact everyone, but in other areas, what affects a dealer in Pennsylvania or the Caribbean Basin may be very different from a dealer in Arkansas or Georgia. That’s why the planning with our dealers individually is vital to ensuring everyone’s success.”
The next House-Hasson Dealer Market will be Jan. 10-12, 2019, at Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, visit House-Hasson online.