Tractor Supply feels pinch from extended drought

Tractor Supply Co., a major seller of lawn mowers and other outdoor equipment in rural communities nationwide, with 764 stores in 43 states, says in an interview that a severe drought across the Southeast hurt fourth-quarter sales, and that it uses a weather-forecasting service to help plan its buying. Chief merchandising officer Greg Sandfort says Tractor Supply will import up to 15% of its "hard product" -- including power equipment -- directly from China.

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