Positive outlook for Mitre 10 NZ

By Steve Bohling April 21, 2018 Hard Talking - Industry interviews

Last but not least in our 2018 retailer/merchant "state of the nation", we ask Mitre 10 what's next for the co-op and for Hammer.

Neil Cowie: "We're continuing to assess our customers’ needs and preferences."

Neil Cowie: "We're continuing to assess our customers’ needs and preferences."


In October Mitre 10 NZ reported on another big result for the year to the end of June 2017.

The top line was a billion dollars plus for the fourth year in a row and revenue growth returned to double digits.

Growth in online purchasing was +48% and a whopping 40% of online purchasers were clicking & collecting.

With three and a bit months until the end of the current year, we put the following questions to Mitre 10 NZ CEO, Neil Cowie.


How was business after the soft patch around the Election?

This period was very strong for us, emphasising our strength in seasonal categories.

The start of spring is a busy time for gardeners and many people look ahead to the warm weather and kick off their summer projects and update their outdoor spaces.


How is the current financial year tracking with three and a bit months to go?

Our financial year runs July to June and at the half year we are pleased with our performance to budget and to last year.


With new home build growth slowing, what is your outlook and what are your hopes for the following year?

We’re feeling positive as we see a strong pipeline of work and we don’t see a material slowing in the trade space.

We’ve seen solid growth and hope that this will continue and that next year our customers will continue to see value in partnering with us and that we’ll find more ways to keep enhancing our offer and improving our service.


In terms of Mitre 10 Trade is this softening cause for concern?

Mitre 10 Trade is performing well and still remains a key focus for us.


Last year you saw massive growth in online sales. How has that been tracking?

We’ve had even better growth than last year and expect to keep tracking steadily. We’ve continued to focus in this space and have worked to make improvements to the service for our customers.

We have even more products online and we’re trialling a range of improved fulfilment options, including expanding our home delivery offer, looking at ways to get products direct from supplier to customer and expanding access to special orders online.


Has there been progress towards same day click & collect?

There certainly has. As a co-operative this does present a few challenges, however our Members and their teams have robust processes in place, which means that while we’re not currently advertising same day click & collect, over half of these orders are already available to collect the same day.


How have the new kitchen and bathroom programmes fared and what sorts of changes have you experienced as a result?

We’re very comfortable with the roll out and performance of these showrooms. We’ve received positive feedback from the network and customers, and are continuing to evolve the strategy.


How is the Number 8 rebrand progressing?

The new Number 8 campaign has driven strong results. We know that the brand really resonates with customers and has strong synergy with the Mitre 10 brand.

The recent campaign was about further cementing its position within our range and driving greater awareness.

Initial results are positive, showing a strong increase in awareness, and Number 8 was the most recalled DIY proprietary brand as at January 2018.


Do you expect to further increase your percentage of own brand products alongside this programme?

We continue to monitor our proprietary and exclusive categories but also have a strong focus on national and international brands.


Are there plans to bring in more products through the Ace Hardware relationship?

We continue to foster our relationship with Ace, but it is still a relatively small part of our overall procurement.


Are there further Do It For Me initiatives since last year?

Watch this space.

We’re continuing to assess our customers’ needs and preferences in this area and recognise that it’s something likely to become more popular as people juggle additional demands day to day, and as traditional skills aren’t handed down in the same way they once were.


What plans are in place for Hammer Hardware over 2017-2018 year?

The next year looks really positive.

The Hammer Hardware stores are about to go through a brand refresh at store level.

We’ve had some positive member changes and have had interest expressed from Mitre 10 Members to buy Hammer Hardware stores.


Mitre 10 New Zealand – Snapshot

Gross revenue last full year: $1.4 billion (+10% for year ended 30 June 2017)

Trade % of top line: 30%

Operating earnings last full year: N/A

Mitre 10 MEGA stores: 41

Mitre 10 stores: 40

Hammer Hardware stores: 47


Read the other instalments in our "State of the Nation 2018" series from BuildLink, Bunnings NZ, Fletcher Distribution and ITM here.

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