Home Depot will defend its lead in power tools

Speaking at The Home Depot’s 2012 Investor and Analyst Conference in Atlanta, Home Depot executive VP merchandising Craig Menear revved up the power tool rhetoric.

Menear said the company intends to defend its position as power tool market share leader.

He also described power tools as a category with a relatively high vulnerability to online competitors. One of the best defenses is a large fleet.

“Our 2,200 stores are convenient for our pro customers when they have a tool go down on the job,” Menear said. “We are now executing a strategy to compete across all channels of the business.”

The company is also playing offense in the category, developing and maintaining strategic relationships with suppliers that bring new products to Home Depot as exclusives, he said. Also, the company is building its capabilities in the area of product repair.

And online, Home Depot is fighting fire with fire, he said. “Rapid expansion of online assortments and brands has produced excellent results in this channel as well,” he said. “We have grown market share the last two quarters faster than the online market leader.”

The online-market share leader would be Amazon, which many believe is benefiting from smartphone-fueled consumer behavior that lets shoppers browse in a store, search online for cheaper prices and buy somewhere else.

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