Consumer trend: DIY pizza
Retail sales of pizza pans grew 7% in the 12 months ending March 2011, compared to the same time last year, signaling a consumer trend towards making pizzas at home, according to The NPD Group.
Metal pizza pans accounted for 64% of dollar sales during the 12-month period, according to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service. Stoneware/clay stone pizza pans, the second largest product segment, are outpacing sales of metal pans, however, with a 21% growth.
According to NPD’s National Eating Trends survey, pizzas prepared ‘in home’ increased to 6.4 billion in 2010 from 5.4 billion in 2009. In addition, 43% of U.S. consumers eat pizza at least once in a two-week period.
Shoplifting suspects set off manhunt
Stealing merchandise from a home improvement store is not considered a minor crime in Massachusetts, where state police used three K-9 officers and ATVs to chase two suspected shoplifters through the woods on May 15.
According to an article in the Eagle-Tribune, police received a call from a Home Depot store in Salem, Mass., about a shoplifting incident where three men fled in a 2006 gray Chrysler. The suspects ditched the car near an apartment complex shortly after the incident. Massachusetts State Police were able to take one man into custody, but the two other suspects fled into nearby woods.
Three state police dogs were brought in, and Andover police assisted with an ATV unit to patrol the area. As of 7 p.m., the two suspects had not been found.
Home Depot’s Menear points to Q1 category wins
The Home Depot’s executive VP merchandising Craig Menear said he was pleased with the company’s first-quarter performance in its core business. Some categories, of course, did better than others.
The company’s first-quarter results showed overall comp-store sales declined 0.6%, but several categories were positive — electrical, kitchens, tools, plumbing, paint and flooring. Hardware also outperformed the company’s average comp for the quarter, he said.
The retailer saw positive comps in all hard surface categories in flooring, as well as organization, interior paint and faucets.
The outdoor sales were impacted by bad weather. "Excluding the outdoor categories, we would have exceeded our sales plan for the quarter." Instead, the company fell short of its internal expectations, as sales declined 0.2% to $16.8 billion in the quarter.
Among specific products, one of the brightest growth stories is among LED light bulbs. "Strong sales of our EcoSmart and Philips LED light bulbs drove the LED subclass of light bulbs to more than 500% growth year over year," Menear said.
During his remarks at the earnings call, Menear also gave specific mention to Milwaukee Red Lithium portable power tools, Ryobi lithium ion powered tools for the yard, USG lightweight drywall and the new KILZ Pro-X paint for pros.
"Looking ahead, we continue to believe transaction improvement will lead to growth in the first half of the year, and improvement in average ticket will be more sustaining in the back half of the year," Menear said.