Hilti Proshops exit Home Depot stores
In a sea of orange smocks, the Hilti store-within-a-store format at many Home Depots had injected a splash of red-shirted Hilti sales reps.
That color combination is fading to black, as Tulsa, Okla.-based Hilti’s “Proshops,” as they are called, are pulling out of the world’s largest home improvement retailer.
The Hilti Proshops had been a fixture at Home Depot for about 13 years. Hilti products will continue to be available online through the Atlanta-based retail giant.
The decision to split was mutual, said Hilti spokeswoman Carla Briggs.
“Over the past month, the Home Depot and Hilti have reviewed our business arrangement in light of the fast-changing retail industry and our respective business models and objectives,” Briggs said.
Hilti, which has more than 1,100 direct sales force team members and 105 Hilti Center locations, said it will not look for another retailer to take Home Depot’s place. Nor would the company describe the level of sales generated by its Proshops in Home Depot.
Liquidating more than the floor
Lumber Liquidators says it has about 10% to 11% of the flooring market in its wood categories — hardwoods and laminates — and a respectable 1% of all flooring. The company wants more, and one tried-and-true strategy is to broaden the assortment along with the product mix.
That includes tools.
“We are bringing in all the [tools] that you need to complete your project,” said president and CEO Robert Lynch during a Goldman Sachs investor conference in September.
At the helm of the effort is the chief merchant, Bill Schlegel. The company has expanded into vinyl and laminates, and its catalog has 51 new floors, Lynch said.
On the tool side, the merchandising team is optimizing assortments and looking for revenue. DIY installation starter kit buckets sell for about $30; oscillating multi-tools, laminate floor cutters appear along the old stand by floor nailers and staplers.
“The floor is the driver,” Lynch said, “but we want to make sure we are definitely giving the customer everything they need on that. And that will definitely increase tickets and help us with the comps, too.”
Cleaning house: Cleanliness is next to profitability
Cleaning supplies are big business. And the major hardware co-ops are showing by their actions, their words and their shelf space that they mean business in the cleaning business.
Most notable among recent moves was Do it Best Corp.’s recent elevation of its cleaning supplies category by giving it a dedicated buyer for the category of cleaning supplies and storage. It’s Amanda Harmeyer’s job to manage the cleaning supplies and storage category for the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op, which until now had cleaning supplies as part of a much larger housewares group.
“This category is an important and promising area of growth for our members, which is why we’ve invested in this new position on our merchandising team,” said Steve Markley, VP merchandising for Do it Best.
True Value sees the importance of cleaning supplies to the extent that its retail laboratory store in Mount Prospect, Ill., has gone double wide — a cleaning supply expansion in aisles 27 and 28 of its store.
“Cleaning supplies are always one of the top classes every week of the year,” said True Value CEO Lyle Heidemann, explaining the co-op-owned store’s increased emphasis on cleaning supplies “And it’s very much a selection business.”
At Ace Hardware’s Chicago market, Proctor & Gamble’s Mr. Clean was on hand to help promote a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital campaign. Ace is teamed up with the makers of Comet, Joy, Tide and Swiffer, among many others to provide in-store product displays for the campaign.