Go to the 2015 Premier 150 List
Piece of the pie
Major news from 2014
Voices in the Industry
That’s the prevailing consensus based on respondents to the 2015 Supply House Times Premier 150 distributor survey. The annual survey, conducted by Supply House Times and BNP Media Market Research, ranks the top PHCP wholesalers by their reported sales for the past year. The 2015 survey is based on sales for fiscal 2014. Individual company sales are not disclosed and in some cases editor estimates were used if companies did not respond to the survey.
In the 2014 version, 82% of survey respondents reported increased sales in 2013. A year later that number has gone up a percentage point to where 83% of respondents reported sales increases in 2014. Only 9% said sales stayed the same and 7% noted sales declined (a 2% decrease from 9% in 2014).
“2014 was a growth year for us and we expect that to continue in 2015,” Elkhart, Ind.-based Mid-City Supply President Jeff New said.
Morris Cregger, president of West Columbia, S.C.-based Cregger Co., said his company continues to gain market share with a 20.2% same-store sales increase over 2013. He attributes that to product diversification, add-on acquisitions and increased personnel quality.
“Since 2010 we have doubled our distribution revenues and have expectations of achieving $250 million by year ending 2019,” he said. “We anticipate 2015 to again reflect a double-digit increase over 2014.”
Smardan Supply Co.’s AJ Benton said sales were flat in 2014 for the Fountain Valley, Calif.-based distributor compared to 2013, but there still was good news on the company’s ledger sheets. “Our margin went up a point so we were happy with that,” he said. “We’re making a push to be more efficient with our sales, not necessarily go after more and more business. We’re hoping to accomplish both in 2015 and the first quarter was a good start.”
WinWholesale Corporate Communications Director Maury Williams reported the Dayton, Ohio-based national distributor (with more than 570 locations) achieved double-digit revenue growth in 2014. “WinWholesale achieved one of its best years in the history of the company,” he said.
Survey respondents generated $65.7 billion in sales for fiscal 2014. That’s up quite a bit from the 2014 total of $56.3 billion, however part of that increase is attributed to a robust response in survey respondents this year. Other recent total survey respondent sales numbers included just under $51 billion in 2012 and nearly $43 billion in 2011.
Breaking it down by market sector, the pipe, valves and fittings industry again led the way with survey respondents reporting total sales of $15.7 billion, while HVAC-focused respondents reported total sales of $11.1 billion. Plumbing and hydronic-focused companies reported total sales of $9.9 billion.
Jim Fabricatore, vice president of HVAC distributor DASCO, which has locations in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, noted the company thrived last year thanks to the performance of two regions in particular.
“In our New Jersey market 2014 did not have the Hurricane Sandy rebuild construction so our Southern New Jersey locations’ sales struggled compared to 2013,” he said. “Fortunately our New York and Connecticut locations grew more than 20%. 2015 already has started out tremendous.”
In terms of category breakdown, one-third of survey respondents reported 2014 fiscal sales of $34.9 million or less, while 21% reported sales in the $50-$99.9 million range and 15% stated they logged sales between $100-$199 million in 2014. Nine percent of respondents had sales north of $500 million. In 2014, the greatest number of companies responding to the survey was in the $34.9 million or less category (35%).
While 2014 was a good year for the vast majority of survey respondents, 2015, judging from the tenor of comments, could be even better.
Of survey respondents, 87% say they expect increased sales in 2015, while only 4% feel sales will decrease. Seven percent say they will stay the same.
“Sales for this fiscal year, which began for us in October, have considerably outpaced the same period the previous year,” Eastern Industrial Supplies President and CEO Kip Miller noted. “We anticipate our pipeline business will grow considerably through the summer months.”
Not even the harsh winter conditions that have troubled parts of the country can put a damper on 2015 forecasts. “As most of us experienced in the Northeast, 2014 was challenging in the first quarter due to weather,” Central Plumbing Specialties/Grande Showrooms President Howard Frankel said. “Although 2015 has also been tough so far, we see sales well outpacing the previous year for the first two months.”
At the time he turned in the survey, TORRCO President Todd Becker’s company was still in the midst of a winter thawing.
“We anticipated a strong 2015,” he said. “All economic indicators pointed to a good year with employment and housing forecasts the most optimistic since 2007. The severe weather in New England in the first quarter has taken some of the wind out of that prediction. Our hope is once the weather improves and contractors get back to work, business will improve and make up for the lost sales of the previous three months.”
Todd Pipe & Supply President and CEO Dan Patrick sees many opportunities for his company in 2015. “We see 2015 as a strong year in our territory,” he said. “We are projecting 20% growth. Multifamily, single-family homes and commercial projects remain strong.”
- F.W. Webb opened a new 40,000-sq.-ft. location in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
- Southern Pipe & Supply, the 2013 Supply House Times Supply House of the Year, joined the Affiliated Distributors buying group.
- Ferguson acquired Karl’s Appliance, one of the 30-largest appliance dealers in the country.
- MSC Holdings, the parent company of Morrison Supply Co., acquired the assets of Denver-based Wholesale Specialties.
- Retired Eastern Penn Supply Co. Vice President John “Jack” Nesbitt Conyngham III died at the age of 88.
- Milwaukee Valve’s Herschel Seder died at the age of 95. Seder purchased the company with friend, Max Koenigsberg, in 1959.
- Morrison Supply Co. acquired the assets of Alamo Appliance of Fort Worth (Texas).
- WinWholesale opened a 256,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Denver.
- F.W. Webb opened a branch in Allentown, Pa., marking the ninth state where the company has a presence.
- American Standard announced a partnership with Blackman Plumbing Supply.
- TOTO inked a distribution deal with WinWholesale.
- Affiliated Distributors announced plans to expand into Latin America.
- Eastern Penn Supply celebrated its 125th anniversary.
- Tim Morales & Associates was named the 2014 Supply House Times Manufacturers Representative of the Year.
- Robertson Heating Supply celebrated its 80th anniversary.
- Crawford Supply acquired Community Home Supply in an asset transaction.
- Two Kohler store locations in Illinois were acquired by Logan Square Aluminum Supply, doing business as Studio 41.
- Milwaukee Tool acquired Empire Level.
- Industry veteran Robert Vick was the recipient of the 2015 ASA Industrial Piping Division Award of Excellence.
- InSinkErator’s Joe Maiale was the recipient of the ASA Plumbing Division Award of Excellence.
- APR Supply Co. acquired W.G. Balph, Co., a plumbing, heating and HVAC distributor. The company also teamed with Scaedler Yesco Distribution to open a new joint branch location in Hazelton, Pa.
- The Granite Group opened an Auburn, Maine location — the company’s 29th branch.
- Ferguson announced plans for the construction of a new distribution center in Coxsackie, N.Y., and also leased property for a regional distribution hub in Secaucus, N.J.
- Supply House Times earned another Awards for Publication Excellence in the Covers category for its January 2014 cover that featured members of the annual Supply House Times-ASA roundtable panel on Capitol Hill.
- TOTO announced it entered into a distribution agreement with Blackman Supply.
- The PVF Roundtable awarded a total of $100,000 in scholarships to the University of Houston and Texas A & M University.
- Eastern Penn Supply opened a new branch in Mifflintown, Pa.
- Ferguson was named the 2014 Supply House Times Supply House of the Year.
- Morrison Supply acquired the assets of Empire Plumbing Supply and Western Wholesale Co.
- Thos. Somerville named Doug Riley president and Dan Kelly executive vice president.
- Hardware Holdings acquired Jones-Stephens Corp.
- Industrial Valco was the recipient of the first Supply House Times PVF Ring of Honor award.
- Watts Water Technologies acquired AERCO International.
- Carr Supply opened a new branch in Lima, Ohio and another in Taylor, Mich.
- Keller Supply, Wool Plumbing Supply and General Plumbing Supply were named Kohler Distribution Partners of the Year.
- F.W. Webb acquired Watertown (Mass.) Supply.
- American Pipe & Supply opened a new facility in Nashville.
- The WIT buying group celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala in Portland, Ore.
- Ferguson acquired HP Products Corp., a company that distributes products in eight categories.
- Will VandeWiel was named the new president and COO of Taco.
- Shapco, parent company of Kelly Pipe, and JFE Shoji Trade Corp., along with its subsidiary JFE Shoji Trade America, reached an agreement where JFE Shoji acquired 100% of the membership interests of Kelly from Shapco.
“2014 was a year of increased sales, but repressed margins. 2015 will be better in our market.”
—Jim Porter, Porter Pipe
“Our baseline projections are for high single-digit growth across the Southwest with stronger performance in north Texas.”
—Blair Franklin, Ameripipe Supply
“In 2015 we will be gearing up to go live on our new ERP system, Infor SXe in late August. It is our expectation this system will help streamline processes and facilitate in accurate inventory keeping. We are also anticipating another increase in sales.”
—Alexander Federico IV, Coastal Supply Group
“We are continuing to see a steady increase in business.”
—Sheri Newman, Lion Plumbing Supply