Indie store update
Porters takes on Mitre 10 banner
Porters takes over four Woodman's Mitre 10 stores
Porters takes over four Woodman's Mitre 10 stores
 
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Media strategy may change at Home Timber & Hardware and J.A. Berry returns to independent retail roots
HNN Sources
Porters acquires Woodman's Mitre 10 stores; Home Timber & Hardware's media account has gone to a different agency; and Hardware & Building Traders gains Gunnedah store, J.A. Berry.
Store consolidation in Mackay

Prominent Mackay-based hardware business, Porters has acquired four Woodman's Mitre 10 stores.

Managing director Gavan Porter Snr said the company purchased the stores located in Sarina, Marian, Proserpine and Cannonvale (QLD). He and his brothers, director Paul Porter and chairman of the board Barry Porter, said their family would retain total control over all stores.

Woodman's Mitre 10 on Nebo Road in Mackay is not part of the deal and will close to customers on May 31, according to owner Kerry Woodman. But it will remain a head office for Mr Woodman's businesses.

Gavan Porter Snr said the company will now be part of Mitre 10's network of stores. Its existing Porters Building Supplies, Hardware and Lifestyle and Whitsunday stores will operate under the new Porter's Mitre 10 banner from June 1. He said Mitre 10 is "a buying and marketing group and they've got nothing to do with ownership". He told the Daily Mercury:
It's all still under the Charles Porter and Sons' banner.

Barry Porter said the trio still "want Porters to be family owned in 175 years".
We've got fifth and six generations working in the business now and we don't want that to change.

Gavan Porter said customers could expect "newly reinvigorated teams, wider product ranges, new loyalty programs and in-store services under the new Porter's Mitre 10 banner". He said:
We are excited to be joining the Mitre 10 group as Australia's largest independent home improvement and hardware wholesaler to the industry; this will allow the Porters business to continue to thrive and grow for many years to come.

The move to Mitre 10 could also see the establishment of dedicated Trade Centres in Mackay and Cannonvale.

The Porter brothers said their company and Woodman's Mitre 10 shared similar core values. Paul Porter said:
It's great to take over the Woodman's business, they've been a great business here in Mackay for so many years. They've decided to exit the market and we decided it was a great opportunity to take it on. It gives us a lot of strength in our buying. They (the stores) will all still be totally owned by the Porter family.

Established in 1883 by Charles Porter, originally as a timber yard, Porters is today run by fourth and fifth generation descendants.

Porters already employs 150 staff and once the acquisition is complete, there will be about 50 more.
Woodman exits

Mr Woodman said while it was "heart-wrenching" to reach the decision, he had "acted in the best interests of our staff".
They were primary in our consideration. Some staff (at Nebo Road) will transition to Porters, some will stay with the business. We've been in business here since 1939 and our family has a long association with the industry.

Other businesses owned by Mr Woodman will continue including the Bristol Decorator Centre, Mackay Timber and Truss, Mackay Glass & Aluminium, Woodman's Roofing Centre and Mackay Brick Sales. He said:
It's only a partial sale of some of our stores to the Porters organisation. It was an extensive negotiation. It wasn't a simple transaction because it was only part of our business.

Mr Woodman hopes to build up and invest in his other businesses, including his role as a distributor for Trailers 2000 and his paver and brick business.

Related:
Indie store update: Jobs to go at Porters - HNN
Indie store update: Mackay's Porters closes a store - HNN
Home Timber & Hardware changes media agency

The Home Timber & Hardware (HTH) media account has moved to Starcom Melbourne from Dentsu Aegis without the companies having to pitch for the business.

The account includes media buying and planning and follows the acquisition of HTH by Metcash, a Starcom client, last year.

Starcom has been the media agency of record for Metcash for more than a decade, which has Mitre10 since 2010. Metcash Independent Hardware Group general manager - marketing, Karen Fahey said:
We've had a great relationship with the Melbourne team for a number of years, and are looking forward to extending the relationship further. As Australia's leading independent home improvement and hardware wholesaler to the industry, the quality of our partners is paramount.

Starcom Melbourne managing director Peter Toone adds:
To be able to work with not one but two leading hardware brands is a rare opportunity, and one we are very excited to be able to fulfil. Both Mitre 10 and Home Timber & Hardware have a strong track record in building their brands and giving them a unique role in Australia's hardware landscape.
J.A. Berry changes to HBT

Catalogues are dead and the future is in direct sales, according to Dave Berry owner-operator of the J.A. Berry hardware store in Gunnedah (NSW). From June 2017, it will return to its independent retail roots and become a member of Hardware & Building Traders (HBT).

The store will no longer be part of Home Timber & Hardware (HTH) and deal directly with suppliers. Driving the change is a loss in faith in the catalogue industry. Mr Berry told the Namoi Valley Independent:
We don't feel there is a future in catalogues anymore. There's too many people in that game now. We don't think it's financially viable.

He said the overhead costs in the franchise were too great in today's market and the change in name will make life "a lot easier".
We're reinventing JA Berry as a true independent.

But it's not the first time the trader has run his own ship. The business was independent in the early days even before it was a Thrifty Link store that changed to HTH in 2011.
HNN Sources


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