Investment in talent remains a top priority for HD Supply, (NASDAQ: HDS), Atlanta, GA, which reported a 6.8 percent year-over-year sales increase for the fourth quarter and a 6 percent sales increase for 2015.
As part of its growth initiatives, the company on-boarded 100 customer-facing associates in facilities maintenance, 130 in waterworks and 70 in construction and industrial in 2015.
"We invested in disciplined growth, optimized and infused talent at all levels, improved our business mix with the sale of power solutions and enhanced our capital structure by reducing debt and lowering our cost of capital," said Joe DeAngelo, president and CEO, in an investor call. "Despite a challenging uncontrollable environment we stayed focused on what we could control to deliver on our performance commitment."
In the fourth quarter, selling, general and administrative costs increased 8 percent year-over-year, due in large part to training and recruiting intiatives. And in 2015 as a whole the company invested $60 million of SG&A in growth initiatives, with similar levels expected in 2016.
"Our people are the lifeblood of our company," DeAngelo said. "Our growth investments enable profitable growth in excess of our market."
Building on the focus of talent development, HD Supply announced plans to open a leadership development and headquarters facility in Atlanta in early 2018. The facility will be used to "recruit and train talent, facilitate vendor and customer interactions and drive enhanced functional team collaboration that extends competitive advantage," DeAngelo said.
The new facility will also consolidate HD Supply's California-based facilities maintenance functional team and the Atlanta global support center team.