Against the backdrop of a slowly recovering economy, Home Channel News has once again published its Top 300 Industry Scoreboard — the 300 leading home improvement and building material retailers ranked by sales for the most recent fiscal year. For the second consecutive year, the sales of the Top 300 retailers showed a positive increase over the previous year.
Calendar year 2011 was the year of the lowest single-family housing starts ever recorded. But it was also the year of a slow-moving economic recovery. The nation’s housing stock got another year older. And as economists from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) like to point out, 20-year-olds got another year closer to finally moving out of their parents’ basement.
The macroeconomic and social factors that influenced sales at the nation’s largest and most successful home improvement and building material retailers are too numerous to identify and too complicated to measure. More important are the local market conditions — the job creation, the family formation and the spending habits of local communities.
A few highlights from the list this year:
For the second year in a row, the companies listed in the Top 300 showed a combined increase in sales. Combined sales were $205.9 billion, up 3.3%.
Most of that growth took place at the top of the list. The sum of the increase in sales at Home Depot and Lowe’s in 2011 was $3.783 billion. If that sales growth were ranked as a company, it would rank eighth among all home improvement retailers.
Walmart is back
After a short-lived experiment in 2011 to remove the Bentonville, Ark., giant from the list, the editors have reversed course. The influence of Walmart Stores on home improvement is too large to ignore, especially as the company builds on its DIY basics.
Welcome to Amazon.com
Amazon continues to reshape the way consumers — and retail executives — think about shopping. Increasingly that thought process is affecting home improvement. The estimated $1.5 billion in home improvement sales equates to about 3% of the company’s total sales.
Gainers vs. decliners
After a difficult 2009 that was dominated by decliners, more companies are reporting sales increases — 57% on the current Scoreboard.
More good news: Among those companies in the green in 2011, a full 42% showed double-digit sales growth.