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Data Drive Decisions

Industry Insights, Data Drive Decisions for Retailer

In an effort to help retailers become better and more profitable, the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) has surveyed home improvement operators throughout the U.S. to develop the benchmark report known as the Cost of Doing Business Study

For the study, independent home improvement retailers of all sizes graciously submit confidential financial reports from the prior fiscal year to NHPA. The study presents composite income statements and balance sheets plus averages for key financial performance ratios that retailers can use to measure their own performance against industry averages and to establish financial plans to improve profitability.

Linda Cottin, owner of Cottin’s Hardware & Rental, who has participated in the Cost of Doing Business Study for several years, shared her insights on the helpfulness of the study. 

Hardware Retailing (HR): What are the biggest benefits of the NHPA Cost of Doing Business Study for your operation?
Linda Cottin (LC): It is easy to look at past sales history and expenses for our store, but that does not paint a full picture of where we have been and where we might be headed. Comparing our numbers to other industry-related businesses, and especially to similar businesses, gives us a much better perspective on how we are actually doing. 

HR: How does your operation use the Cost of Doing Business Study?
LC: We look closely at the data and use it to pinpoint our strengths and weaknesses compared with the industry as a whole and compared to similar businesses. Looking at the data, we are able to determine areas where we need to improve and areas where we are doing well in. Using this data helps us set goals, formulate plans and get a better idea of what we can do to be more profitable. 

Looking at the data year after year is a strong indicator of how our decisions affect our bottom line and helps us to definitively measure the success of changes we make. We also use the report format to test various scenarios and project profitability goals by changing various numbers within the reported data points.

HR: Why should a retailer who’s never participated consider doing so in 2024?
LC: There is no reason not to participate. It is an invaluable asset that costs nothing and can help stores of any size track and improve performance year over year.


Submit your information today to receive a free copy of the study and use the data to become better and more profitable. The deadline for submitting financials has been extended to July 15th.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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