Retail Hardware Newsroom

Weekly Industry Insights — 06/28/24

Do it Best Hired Okapal as Director of Business Development

This week, Do it Best announced that Chris Okapal has been hired as director of business development. In this role, Okapal will develop and implement high-impact sales strategies to drive growth. Okapal will oversee initiatives to expand the co-op’s reach and will be responsible for fostering partnerships with existing and prospective members. Okapal has 25 years of experience in the consumer goods industry.

“Chris’s comprehensive understanding of the consumer goods industry, combined with his analytical skills, consumer insights, and knowledge of industry dynamics, make him a valuable addition to our team,” said Vice President of Sales and Business Development Greg Fuller. “We are confident that with Chris’ dedication to excellence and proven leadership, we will achieve our aggressive growth objectives and continue to improve the exceptional service we offer our members.”

For more information, see Do it Best’s press release.

Judge Rejects Settlement between Mastercard, Visa and Retailers

Judge Margo Brodie of the US District Court of the Eastern District of New York overseeing the $30 billion preliminary swipe-fees settlement between Mastercard, Visa and retailers, rejected the potential settlement this past Tuesday. Brodie’s ruling emphasized that the proposed settlement failed to adequately address the concerns of the retailers, who have long argued that swipe fees—charges imposed on merchants for processing credit card transactions—are excessively high and detrimental to their businesses. The rejection of the settlement likely means that Mastercard and Visa will need to make more substantial concessions.

For hardware retailers, the impact of Brodie’s ruling could be profound. Should Mastercard and Visa eventually agree to a settlement that significantly reduces swipe fees, retailers stand to benefit from lower operating costs and potentially higher profit margins. Additionally, a more transparent and equitable fee structure could foster a fairer competitive environment, especially for smaller businesses that are disproportionately affected by high processing fees.

SPAX Engineered Fasteners Announces Three New Hires

The Bryan, Ohio-based SPAX Engineered Fasteners recently announced three new hires, including Jim Nicholson as a territory representative; Stephanie Feyen as an ecommerce manager; and Hayden Doehrmann, as a digital marketing content specialist. Nicholson will cover the territories of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York state. For more information about these new hires and roles at SPAX, visit the company’s press release.

Nation’s Best Acquires Big Bear Hardware

Nation’s Best has added its 59th location, acquiring Big Bear Hardware in La Vernia, Texas.

“This is an ideal south-central location just outside of San Antonio,” said Chris Miller, president and CEO of Nation’s Best. “As we continue to strengthen our presence in Texas, Big Bear Hardware is a great fit within the Nation’s Best family. The previous owners had already built a solid market presence as a hardlines leader in the community. And with the explosive population growth in the area, we see tremendous upside in appealing even more to pros and contractors.”

Nation’s Best will continue operations under the current name and team while providing financial and strategic support.

Ace Hardware Celebrates 100th Year with ‘Biggest Block Party’

Joining the Century Club this year, Ace Hardware continues to roll out ways to celebrate its centennial. On Saturday, June 29, the co-op will conduct a 100th Anniversary Block Party nationwide from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at participating stores. Ace began offering related sales on June 26. Among some of the deals available through July 30 include 50 percent off on paint and several deals on grills, outdoor living products, and power tools.

“We’re not just celebrating a milestone; we’re celebrating a century of being part of every neighborhood we serve,” said Kim Lefko, chief marketing officer at Ace Hardware. “Our 100th Anniversary Block Party and the special July offers are our way of inviting everyone to join the festivities, whether they celebrate with us in person at their local store or through great deals on everything they need for summer fun. It’s our thank-you to the communities that have supported us for 100 years, and we’re excited to make this celebration our biggest yet.”

For more information and specifics on duration of deals, see Ace’s press release.

Supreme Court Declined Home Depot Appeal

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Home Depot’s appeal regarding a $2.67 billion antitrust settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). This decade-long litigation involved allegations that BCBS engaged in anticompetitive practices along with Home Depot. Through years of litigation, the home improvement retailer challenged the settlement. Home Depot now faces significant financial liability if required to contribute to the settlement. The case also sets a precedent for future antitrust enforcement and settlements involving the Atlanta-headquartered company. In the future, Home Depot might need to make operational adjustments to ensure compliance with antitrust laws. This could involve changes in business practices, supply chain management, and vendor agreements to mitigate risks of anticompetitive behavior.

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