Home Depot points to holiday innovation

Father's Day and Fourth of July events at the world's largest home improvement retailer include expanded assortments of LED light bulbs and folding lawn mowers.

During the company's first-quarter earnings call with analysts and investors, Home Depot president U.S. retail Craig Menear spelled out four product introductions that he said will "generate a lot of excitement in the second quarter."

The company is expanding its offering of LED light bulbs from Cree with an extra 10 SKUs, including a 100-watt equivalent and three-way bulbs.

Stores will also sell a Toro mower that Menear called "the first ever gas-powered mower that can be folded and stored upright in your garage." It won't leak gas or oil either, he said.

A Glidden paint program for professional customers offers four different paint types with "features and price that our pros are looking for," he said.

Home Depot will also bring KitchenAid appliances to select stores and online by the end of the second quarter, he said.

Looking back at the first quarter, snow shovels did very well in February, March and April, of course. But Home Depot's sales growth -- 15 of 19 U.S. regions posted positive comp-store sales -- was boosted by what Menear called "strength across the store." 

Home Depot's best-selling departments during the first quarter were tools, electrical, plumbing, kitchens, bath, hardware, decor, building materials, millwork and lighting. 

Overall, Home Depot's comps were up 2.6% for the quarter. 

Also showing positive comps (but below the company average) were flooring, indoor garden and paint.

Negative comps hit the stores outdoor garden and lumber departments, Menear said, adding roofing, chemicals, lawnmowers, soils and mulch in the negative column.

"As we saw last year, the majority of these projects will likely be deferred to the second quarter," he said.

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