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A Very Private Benjamin

In the 1980 hit movie Private Benjamin, actress Goldie Hawn plays Judy Benjamin, a young socialite with a dream of marrying well.

Which, she did!

But when Benjamin’s husband dies on their wedding night in THE act of consummating the relationship, Judy has second thoughts about life as a social elite.

Forlorn, Benjamin calls into a radio show where life advice is proffered by the others who call in seeking help with their own problems. One guest suggested that the grief-stricken debutante join the army, likening military life to a spa vacation, with “condo and private rooms.”

At basic training Benjamin realized that her life had been changed by an army recruiter, who called into a radio show look for help with his persistent lying!

The role earned Goldie her career’s second (and final) Oscar nomination, the movie’s hysterics though, were not enough not enough for the young star to bring home THE statue, the Oscar going instead to Sissy Spacek for her role in the fictionalized life of Loretta Lynne, the Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Despite the Oscar “L” for the film’s executive producer and star Goldie Hawn, remains a one of Hollywood’s most enduring comedies, the movie currently sitting in 89th place on the American Film Institute’s list of THE 100 Funniest Movies of all times.

Benjamin’s Private!

In last week’s blog I mentioned earnings news from the nation’s largest paint manufacturer, Sherwin-Williams. The company announcing recently that sales had increase 6.5% in the second quarter of this year; the results primarily the effects of inflation.

That same week brought earnings news from PPG and Masco.

With RPM, which is expected to report their earnings later this month, these announcements represent the greatest source of data for independent retailers looking to understand macro-economic trends which impact the paint industry.

Which speaks more to the paucity of information available on the multi-billion-dollar independent paint retailer channel, than any value these announcements impart.

Listening to these webcast earnings calls, you’ll never hear mention of THE independent channel. In fact, only two of the nation’s four largest paint manufacturers, PPG and RPM, even maintain distribution to independents as a regular course of business.

Meaning the trends identified from scouring these releases are no more that extrapolations, drawn from slightly relevant data.

Private Benjamin

Owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Benjamin Moore has no obligation to report their earnings as the other public companies do, except in aggregate with other Buffet-owned “sales and service” companies.

Last quarter, the sales and service category brought in more than $92 billion for the Oracle of Omaha, so good like extrapolating a trend in house paints from that!

Despite that frustrating lack of data there’s advantage, to both Benjamin Moore and the company’s dealers, that they not be required to publicly report earnings.

But stealth is an asset in business, one which I’m not advocating #DanTHE man give away. And it’s not any of John Morikis’ business how many of his former residential repaint clients are now shopping in Benjamin Moore stores!

But this advantage also creates a disadvantage for dealers, as they have limited access to the sort of channel-specific macro data which could help guide them through the challenges of commerce.

But even without these public earnings announcements, a private Benjamin should still be able to provide dealers with macro data on industry trends, while maintaining their modesty.

Simple indices reflecting a range of market trends would be a great start. Using data which THE company likely already gathers or possesses, these indices could better inform dealers as they forecast for and manage their businesses.

And crucially, allow dealers to compare their results to other dealers in the channel!


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