CHICAGO, IL -- True Value Company, one of the world's largest retailer-owned hardware cooperatives, today reported total fiscal 2014 gross billings of $2.015 billion, an increase of 6.0 percent or $114.8 million compared to the prior year and best growth since 1994. Revenue was $1,495.0 million, an increase of 5.9 percent, or $83.5 million. Comparable store sales to retailers were up 5.2 percent on a gross billings basis. Destination True Value retail comp store sales were up 4.8 percent and overall comp store sales were up 3.1 percent. 2014 was a 53 week reporting year versus a 52 week reporting year in 2013. On a 52 week comparable basis, gross billings were up 4.9 percent, or $93.9 million.
The co-op posted $54.3 million in profit prior to strategic plan spending, down $1.0 million or 1.8 percent compared to $55.3 million in 2013. The co-op posted earnings of $41.1 million including $13.2 million of strategic plan related expenses, a decrease of 25.7 percent or $14.2 million, for the same period a year ago. The net margin impact of the higher sales volume was offset by higher labor and benefit expenses, higher inbound and outbound freight expense, and operating expenses for the 53rd week, as well as the cost of the retailer subsidies on the rollout of the new paint colorant system.
"Our strategic plan is driving powerful, positive transformation across True Value as we experienced some of the strongest growth we've seen in the last 20 years," said President and Chief Executive Officer John Hartmann. "These achievements are the result of our members' support and the hard work of our associates as together we make the changes needed to drive new levels of engagement, growth and efficiency."
"True Value's growth team had a record year attracting new members to the co-op," added Hartmann. "Gross billings from new stores exceeded lost billings from terminated stores by $23.6 million. The co-op added a total of 230 new stores in 2014, a combination of 126 new ground up stores, conversions from other co-ops and distributors and affiliates. Additionally, 104 specialty and international stores joined the family. Because the conversions come from competing cooperatives, it reinforces our belief that True Value programs are the best in the industry."
True Value continued its support of the members' investment in their stores. In 2014, the co-op provided over $16.7 million in loans to retailers who implemented the Destination True Value retail format. Our retailers remodeled, expanded, or opened 969,000 square feet of DTV retail format in 2014, up 12.2 percent from the 864,000 square feet implemented in 2013. That brings the total to approximately six million square feet since inception of the format roll out in 2008. Stores that have implemented the DTV format continue to outperform stores that have not.
In December, the company completed an amendment to its existing revolving credit facility to support implementation of its new strategic plan. Changes included increasing the size of the facility to $450 million from $250 million and extending its term to December of 2019. The company ended the year with $97.6 million of borrowings outstanding on its revolving credit facility.
True Value Company, headquartered in Chicago, is one of the world's largest retailer-owned wholesale hardware cooperatives with gross billings of $2.0 billion and revenue of $1.5 billion in 2014. The True Value cooperative includes approximately 4,500 independent retailer locations worldwide operating under the store identities of True Value, Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental, Party Central, Home & Garden Showplace and Induserve Supply. Additional information on True Value and its retail identities is available at truevaluecompany.com.