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Industry Insights: True Value

true value insights
Chris Kempa, President & CEO, True Value

In the 2024 Market Measure Report, published by the North American Hardware and Paint Association, industry partners offered insights into 2023 operations and their goals for 2024.

Read the insights from True Value’s Chris Kempa below and download the complete report from NHPA here.


 

How did business change for True Value Co. in 2023 compared to 2022?
Our unwavering focus this year has been on continuing to improve our customers’ experience with True Value, at every level. From supply chain upgrades and operational improvements to investing in our legacy brand, we’ve been dedicated to helping our customers run, operate and grow their businesses. We continued to streamline and focus our product assortments in line with our 2022 approach, which led to impressive growth rates in many categories, including 6% growth above the broader hardware market and a 21% increase in average ticket size. As we marked 75 years of the True Value brand, we welcomed new stores to the True Value family and invested millions of dollars to date in opening new stores and remodeling existing retailers.

What were some challenges in 2023 and how did True Value address them?
We faced the same challenges that were prevalent across the industry, with a slowing and changing economic landscape and shifting consumer preferences. True Value approached this head-on by maintaining a strong focus on partnering with our customers to support and grow their independent businesses, which looked like consistently adapting to the current environment and leveraging our scale to help our customers do the same. We proactively communicated market trends and impacts, and introduced new programs and services tailored to help our customers navigate these challenges within their specific communities. By staying connected with our customers, understanding their unique needs and providing them with valuable support, we have been able to effectively weather these obstacles together.

What are some critical areas of focus for True Value going into 2024?
As we kick off 2024, True Value has several critical areas of focus, including significant investments in logistics and our iconic brand. We’re working to enhance our operational efficiency to provide best-in-industry services to our retailers. One specific investment is the implementation of space planning software that will optimize retail space and support the rollout of new assortment launches. Additionally, we are committing to a multiyear $20 million investment in new order management and warehouse management systems to provide the most accurate inventory counts and allow stores to reserve specific inventory for their needs. True Value customers will have the best inventory management and product availability to serve their business.

Additionally, you’ll see True Value in new and exciting ways across various markets to help our retailers’ shoppers connect to the value of their local, independent hardware store.

What are your projections for 2024 for the home improvement industry at large and the independent channel specifically?
The industry experienced a significant boon during the pandemic era, and in the past year, we have seen the market continue to stabilize. However, consumers are telling us the entire industry needs to evolve to meet the challenges of our new landscape.

The independent channel stands out for its ability to leverage the expertise of in-store staff and their deep understanding of their local communities, which we fully expect to see continue this year. Our retailers are particularly great at this, and we’ll continue to emphasize their personalized service, expert advice and the positive impact of supporting local businesses.

As always, we remain committed to building and maintaining partnerships with our customers by offering support for them to effectively run, operate and grow their businesses in their unique ways. By prioritizing collaboration and understanding individual needs, we aim to deliver tailored solutions and empower our customers to thrive.

“The independent channel stands out for its ability to leverage the expertise of in-store staff and their deep understanding of their local communities.”

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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