True Value posts gains in Q4

CHICAGO — True Value reported “gross billings” of $451.9 million for the fourth quarter, up 2.3% from the same quarter last year.

“Gross billings” -- a term not used in the co-op’s 2012 earnings announcement -- is a measure of the total amount invoiced to customers, without subtracting discounts or adjustments.

The company’s revenue was $340.4 million, up 3.3% from the prior-year quarter.

Quarterly earnings of $29.1 million increased from $12.4 million in the same quarter last year. The company said the earnings increased primarily as a result of a “fourth-quarter litigation settlement gain of an ongoing matter.”

True Value did not elaborate on the nature of the litigation. 

For the year ended Dec. 29, gross billings were $1.88 billion, up 1.1% from the prior year. The co-op posted earnings of $74.9 million, up 24.2%.

“This was one of the most profitable years in the company’s history,” said president and CEO Lyle Heidemann. “Our largest increase in both retail and wholesale comp-store sales were in the paint, seasonal, and farm, ranch, auto and pet product categories.” 

True Value added 44 new stores in 2012, while providing more than $25 million in loans, free inventory and other incentives to retailers who rolled out the Destination True Value retail format, Heidemann said.

Comp-store sales to retailers were up 2.0% on a gross billing basis, and up 1.4% on a revenue basis, the co-op reported.

Total year-end debt was $185.1 million, up 29.3% or $41.9 million, from $143.2 million a year ago. The company issued $28.1 million of new notes to its retailers as part of the year-end patronage dividend distribution and invested an incremental $11.5 million of inventory in new and expanded assortments in its farm, ranch, auto and pet business.