Americans get small for business
For the eighth year, Small Business Saturday is being hailed as a success by its creator, American Express. Two in five adult Americans shopped or dined small on Nov. 25.
As Small Business Saturday closed out its eighth year on Saturday, November 25th, shoppers provided an encouraging boost to small businesses at the start to the holiday shopping season.
According to data from the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released today by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express, an estimated 108 million consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently-owned businesses.
“Year after year, Small Business Saturday receives remarkable support from shoppers and communities nationwide,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, executive vice president of Global Advertising and Media at American Express. “In year eight, it’s encouraging to see Small Business Saturday continue to gain momentum as more people recognize the benefits that independently-owned businesses bring to their neighborhoods—and our country as a whole.”
The Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey also found that 70% of U.S consumers are aware of Small Business Saturday. In addition to support on Main Streets, shoppers turned out for online small businesses – with 35% reporting that they Shopped Small® online on November 25th alone.
The 2017 Small Business Saturday 50-State Survey, also released today by the NFIB and American Express, showed 73% of consumers who reportedly Shopped Small at independently-owned retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday did so with friends or family. The most reported reason for consumers aware of the day to shop and dine at small, independently-owned businesses was to support their community (64%).
Further insights from the 2017 Small Business Saturday 50-State Survey include the following:
• Shoppers made Small Business Saturday an all-day affair, as 58% of those who participated in the day reported shopping or dining at more than one small, independently-owned retailer or restaurant on Small Business Saturday this year.
• On a national level, nearly half (48%) of consumers who participated in Small Business Saturday reported visiting a small business that they had not previously been to on Small Business Saturday.
• Relative to the national average, shoppers in Colorado, Hawaii, and Vermont reported pet stores as the type of small business frequented the most; while shoppers in Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York reported visiting a bakery the most; and shoppers in Georgia, Idaho, Texas reported visiting spas, nail salons or hair salons the most.
Full results of the survey and an interactive infographic with state by state breakouts can be found here.
Seven takeaways from Lowe’s Q3
Lowe’s reported third quarter sales of $16.8 billion in the third quarter, and earnings of $872 million. Here are some of the key takeaways behind the numbers.
More riders of the storm.
As Home Depot, Ace Hardware Corp. and True Value Company all described in recent days in their own quarterly reports, the third quarter’s hurricanes made for an exceptionally challenging environment. Yet, they all made it work. Here’s how Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock described it: “This quarter, our teams were tested by the largest natural disaster response we've ever mounted, and I'm extremely proud of the way they met the challenge.” The company added that it donated more than $2.5 million in disaster relief – part cash and part product donations.
In the US., comp-store sales were positive 5.1%. All regions and all product categories showed positive comps for the quarter.
Some products performed better than others. LBM led all categories with a double-digit comp. The category benefited from pro demand, hurricane preparation and cleanup, and general product inflation. Appliances also generated double-digit comps. Above average comps were scored in rough plumbing and electrical.
Lowe’s recent acquisitions of Maintenance Supply Headquarters and Central Wholesalers are expected to expand penetration into the multi-family housing industry. Integration of the two entities into the Lowe’s operation “remains on track,” Niblock said.
Said COO Rick Damron: “The addition of Maintenance Supply Headquarters and Central Wholesalers further expands our capabilities to serve multi-family property management customers throughout the country with enhanced product and service offerings while strengthening our platform for future growth with this important customer.”
Digital slam dunk
The company pointed “online comp growth” of 33%. How? Through improvements in customer experience through the company’s omni-channel assets. Damron added: “Along with our flexible fulfillment options of buy online, pick up in store and buy online deliver from store and our enhanced digital marketing, our effort combined to drive online comp growth of 33%.”
Good bye, Rick.
Damron will retire after 36 years, to be replaced by Richard Maltsbarger. “Rick has worked across every aspect of operations and has positively impacting Lowe's customers and employees. We wish him all the best in his retirement,” said Niblock.
In the second half of 2018, Lowe’s will add Craftsman brand products to its merchandise mix, both in-store and online. Damron described Lowe’s as the partner of choice in the home center channel.
Craftsman, which for generations was the property of Sears, is now owned by Stanley Black and Decker. “We are committed to offering a wide selection of brands DIY and Pro customers trust, and Craftsman strengthens our ability to deliver on customer expectations across many product categories,” he added.
The introduction of Craftsman will follow the introduction during the past four years of more than 25 other brands back into the product portfolio.