Early next year, Ace Hardware will rebrand the franchisor as Ace Handyman Services, which will operate as a new standalone subsidiary.

Ace Hardware Corp., which recently boosted its omnichannel capabilities by delivering from stores, is getting into the online home services business.

The hardware retailer cooperative of roughly 5,300 worldwide stores acquired Handyman Matters, a franchisor of home repair, maintenance and improvement services that books appointments online and via a toll-free phone number. Handyman Matters currently has 57 franchisees who collectively employ approximately 250 handymen and women in 121 markets across 23 states.

Under the terms of the deal, Ace Hardware will rebrand Handyman Matters as Ace Handyman Services, which will operate as a new standalone subsidiary. Integration and rebranding initiatives are currently underway, with completion targeted for the first quarter of 2020, according to Ace Hardware.

Andy Bell, the founder and CEO of Handyman Matters, will continue to lead the day-to-day business operations for Ace Handyman Services from its headquarters in Denver. Ace Hardware officials did not immediately respond to a request for more details.

“This acquisition combines a proven home repair and maintenance franchise system with Ace’s trusted brand and renowned helpful service. Providing increased support to existing franchisees while aggressively recruiting more is part of a compelling evolution in our plan for strategic growth and our retailers’ continued success,” says John Venhuizen, president and CEO of Ace Hardware.

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Services are a way that online and store-based retailers can differentiate themselves. A March survey of 1,202 U.S. consumers conducted by Bizrate Insights for Internet Retailer found shoppers are booking an array of services online. The survey found 26% of shoppers had used the web to book at least one kind of service over the preceding six months. Among those who had booked a service online, roughly 90% reported being happy with the experience.

Among those surveyed, the most popular services booked online were automotive services, cited by 20% of respondents and beauty services, cited by 10%.

The Handyman Matters acquisition is part of Ace Hardware‘s continued build out of its omnichannel capabilities. In April, it rolled out buy online, deliver from store services at many of its U.S. locations.

Ace is ranked No. 1030 in the 2019 Internet Retailer Next 1000 ranking. Without providing specific numbers, Ace Hardware reported its online sales rose 58.0% for the second quarter ended June 29, compared with the comparable period a year earlier.

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