Higher tariffs were on the mind of House-Hasson Hardware executives, and their customers, during the latest dealer market.
“Maintaining dealer profitability in the face of the potential tariff increases was a factor in our October dealer market buying programs,” said Don Hasson, House-Hasson Hardware president. “Dealers took advantage of the market to buy items at lower cost that they can sell at competitive prices even if the tariffs go into effect.
The Knoxville, Tenn.-based hardware distributor’s Fall Dealer Market took place in Sevierville, Tenn.
“If the tariff increase doesn’t occur, or if the tariffs overall are reduced or eliminated, our dealers will be in an even better profitability position because of the savings they achieved at the market. Either way, it puts a premium on thoughtful and information-driven decision making,” Hasson added.
On Jan. 1, 2019, tariffs will increase to 25% on $200 billion in Chinese goods imported into the U.S.
“We’re advising and consulting individually with dealers both at our markets and in our regular contacts with them to help them prepare,” said Pat McCutcheon, House-Hasson’s vice president of sales.
“At the same time, the economy is remaining strong, which is a positive. The better the deals give dealers, the better they can serve their customers,” he said.
Hasson said that compared to 2017, October market vendor participation was up 10%, with sales up 14%. The company says it sells to 2,500 dealers in 21 states.
“In January dealers want to start showcasing their spring goods, and what makes our markets so attractive is that dealers can buy for the future at lower costs through our bonus buys, drop-ship specials, pallet buys, and other programs.” McCutcheon added. “In our planning for the Jan. 2019 market in Nashville, Tenn., we can see that dealers are thinking ahead about the tariffs.”
McCutcheon said that industry analysts have differing views on the tariffs’ effects, which means the combination of dealer and House-Hasson local market knowledge is the primary factor in planning for the future.
“Industry trends overall may impact everyone, but in other areas what affects a dealer in Pennsylvania and the Caribbean Basin may be very different from a dealer in Arkansas or Georgia,” McCutcheon said. “That’s why the planning with our dealers individually is vital to ensuring everyone’s success.”