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Matco boasts 25% jump; Ace moves up top 10


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Sporting double-digit sales increases, Matco Tools, Pet Supplies Plus and Once Upon A Child led the franchise retail category in 2014 with the largest gains in a category seeing modest, 1.5 percent growth overall.

A 25.4 percent increase in sales and 129 additional units moved Stow, Ohio-based Matco Tools up to No. 161, a 19-spot jump from 2013. Pet Supplies Plus nearly cracked the Top 100, moving into No. 102 from 108 by increasing sales 11.1 percent, to $750 million, and adding 41 new units. Once Upon A Child has grown consistently over the last five years, adding 20 units on sales that rose 10.9 percent to $275 million in 2014.

Chris Rowland, CEO of Livonia, Michigan-based Pet Supplies Plus, said it’s seeing excellent comp sales and franchisee interest as a growing shop-local movement and interest in healthier eating trickles down into the animal world.

“We’re fortunate in the pet industry that we’ve had more than 20 years of positive, consistent growth in the industry,” he said. Rowland said recent efforts to refocus on franchise efforts have borne fruit in new stores that are beating expectations.

Ace Hardware, which moved up one position into No. 6 with worldwide sales of $14.3 billion, increased sales by 9.7 percent on a 35-unit decline attributed to a fallout with its former Canadian licensee.

CEO John Venhuizen singled out four drivers of its enormous sales growth: a continued focus on customer service, its The Supply Place subbrand serving small businesses, adding new stores and a localized assortment of good.

“Of our nearly 4,900 stores around the globe, we don’t have one store that has the exact same assortment of goods as another store,” he said. “It’s hard to manage, but these local owners providing local goods to their local neighbors is our weapon in the world.”

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