Sherwin-Williams Company Earnings Call Nuggets: Source Group and Retail Customers

Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE:SHW) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Source Group

John McNulty – Credit Suisse: A couple questions just on the overall business fundamentals — the volume for same-store sales number for your Paint Stores was 7% and I think when you adjust for Easter falling out of this quarter, unlike last year, it looks like it’s more like a 5% type number, which seems a little bit lighter than what we’ve expect given what’s going on in the construction market. So, I guess can you walk us through maybe some of the puts and takes that might be driving those volumes maybe coming in a little bit lighter than expected?

Christopher M. Connor – Chairman and CEO: I’ll take a crack at that John. First of all I think the 2% impact for Easter might be a little strong for us, it’s not that strong of an impact. We have been commenting about the mix change we’ve been seeing this year, so our gallon numbers actually were terrific, slightly higher than that sales numbers that we indicated. We’re pretty confident that that is an improvement over what the market ran for the particular quarter. So, from our perspective ,we see that as a pretty good quarter for the source group.

John McNulty – Credit Suisse: Then just one quick question with regard to the guidance. You’re reaffirming the guidance at this point, yet it sounds like the raw material environment is better than what you were originally thinking. So are you starting to give some back maybe on the pricing side or are there other puts and takes that we should be thinking about? Is it something around the timing of Comex potentially closing or what’s the change there?

Christopher M. Connor – Chairman and CEO: Yes, I think the guidance reaffirming has a couple of moving parts in it. You are correct, the raw material environment certainly is looking better, but we’ve also just taken an $0.08 hit relative to this Brazilian tax. Holding that guidance at that level we think indicates our confidence in the strength of the second half.

Retail Customers

Robert Koort – Goldman Sachs: Chris, just wondering if you can help out on the consumer side you’ve referenced losing some business out of a few retail customers, I guess, the new Walmart was a prominent one. Could you maybe give us a little color on the others? And then if we were to take that issue aside wasn’t there better growth in the consumer given that as you said the residential markets were reasonably hot?

Christopher M. Connor – Chairman and CEO: We have commented repeatedly about Walmart as well as an (intermediate) calls confirming a Masco comment about the displacement of the Sherwin-Williams’ Dutch Boy program out of Home Depot Mexico as Masco Behr moved that program into that country for the first time. So, those are the two impacts that we are seeing for the division. That’s had a significant impact. If we back those two things out, we are marginally positive there. We have commented for many, many quarters now that this segment has a little bit of a tough road ahead of us given the strength of the stores organization in the same markets that they are competing with. And to your comment about rebounding home programs we made the comment that we are disappointed in the quarter so we expect this team to do better.

A Closer Look: Sherwin-Williams Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

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