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Depot’s top merchant points to sales wins

BY Ken Clark

The Home Depot saw positive comps in all of its departments during the second quarter, which was described by executives as one of the best quarters in the company’s recent history.

Craig Menear, executive VP of merchandising pointed to four key factors for the success: strong summer events, a recovering seasonal business, commodity inflation and strength across the remainder of the store.

Some areas did better than others. During the company’s second quarter earnings call, Menear listed those departments that scored double-digit positive comps: kitchens, indoor garden, lumber, outdoor garden, lighting, electrical and flooring. 

"Our seasonal business exceeded our plan as spring finally kicked into gear in the second quarter," he said. 

There was also good news on the big-ticket front. Strong sales in appliances,riding mowers, flooring and pro business pushed transactions for tickets over $900 up 15.5% in the quarter. These big ticket sales represent about 20% of Home Depot’s U.S. sales. 

Looking into the third quarter, Menear called out several products that will play into its innovation at retail approach to merchandising: Behr Premium Deckover wood and concrete coating, LED 90-watt equivalent flood lights from Cree and DAP Smartbond adhesive foaming gel for pro customers.

Also for the pro, Menear mentioned Homedepot.com will offer a new line of fully welded Husky steel cabinets. 

 

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Lowe’s reports big second-quarter gains

BY HBSDealer Staff

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s Cos. reported second-quarter sales of $15.7 billion, up 10.3% from $14.2 billion in the same quarter last year.

Comp-store sales for the world’s second-largest home improvement retailer were up 9.6%, as net earnings jumped 16.2% to $1.48 billion.

"Home improvement demand was strong during the quarter, and we capitalized on it with improving execution," said Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock. He added: "We drove a healthy balance of ticket and transaction growth, and delivered solid performance across all product categories."

The report follows by a day that of rival Home Depot, which posted a 10.7% comp-store sales gain.  

Lowe’s said it expects full year total sales to increase about 5%. It also expect to open 10 stores in fiscal 2013.

As of Aug. 2, Lowe’s had 1,758 stores in North America. 

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Caterpillar’s sales down 16% in Q2

BY HBSDealer Staff

Caterpillar reported a drop in sales of 16%, year-over-year. Meanwhile, profit was down 43.5% at $960 million, compared to $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2012.

The company also cut its full-year forecast to $56 billion to $58 billion in revenue, down from its previous expected range of $57 billion to $61 billion. End-user demand remained generally unchanged, but the company reported greater reductions in dealer machine inventory in the second quarter than it had previously anticipated, with greater reductions expected to continue throughout the rest of 2013.

“Even though our sales and profit in the second quarter are down from last year, I’m pleased with how our team has performed," said chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman. "We’ve taken action to respond to the economic environment we find ourselves in, and operationally, the team has done a great job. We experienced headwinds during the quarter, and while we had a positive $135 million gain related to the Siwei settlement, it was more than offset by currency translation and hedging losses, an additional $1 billion of dealer machine inventory reductions and a decline of $1.2 billion in our own inventory. While these were significantly negative to profit in the second quarter, our outlook doesn’t reflect additional currency losses or reductions in our inventory during the second half of 2013. As a result, we expect profit to improve in the second half of the year."

Machine sales were down 9% in July and 8% in June. Power Systems retail sales were unchanged in July.

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