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At Home Depot, First Phone Junior

BY Ken Clark

The world’s largest home improvement retailer has described its First Phone on-the-floor scanner and sales tool as a competitive advantage. Now comes the smaller version.

The mobile sales-floor device known as the Home Depot First Phone has been described as competitive advantage for the world’s largest home improvement retailer. Now comes the “First Phone Junior,” which has begun to roll out to all Home Depot stores, said Frank Blake during the company’s first-quarter earnings call. 

“This junior version of the First Phone provides our associates a tool that combines the communication features of a phone, with the product and inventory look-up features of the First Phone, but without the complex business analytics and product ordering functionality of the First Phone,” Blake said. “This allows us to spread the basic functionality of the First Phone throughout the store at a fraction of the cost.”

The phone takes its name from the initials FIRST, which stands for Find, Inquire, Respect, Solve and Thank — key points to Home Depot’s approach to customer service.

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Man arrested in HD arson case says he’d do it again

BY Brae Canlen

A man who claimed his friend’s hardware store was being driven out of business had been arrested for torching a Home Depot in Shoreline, Wash., a town 9 miles north of Seattle.

As reported in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Randol Stebner, 53, started two small fires near the Aurora Avenue North store on May 14. According to police documents, Stebner admitted to lighting the fires and said he’d do it again.

“I am upset with Home Depot because they are making business difficult for my friend,” Stebner said in a written confession, according to the newspaper report.

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Consumer Confidence slips again

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined slightly in April, fell further in May. The Index now stands at 64.9 (1985=100), down from 68.7 in April. The Expectations Index declined to 77.6 from 80.4, while the Present Situation Index decreased to 45.9 from 51.2 last month.

"Consumers were less positive about current business and labor market conditions, and they were more pessimistic about the short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “However, consumers were more upbeat about their income prospects, which should help sustain spending. Taken together, the retreat in the Present Situation Index and softening in consumer expectations suggest that the pace of economic growth in the months ahead may moderate."

Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions deteriorated in May. Those claiming business conditions are "bad" increased to 34.3% from 33.2%, while those saying business conditions are "good" decreased to 13.6% from 15.5%. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was also less favorable. Those claiming jobs are "hard to get" increased to 41.0% from 38.1%, while those stating jobs are "plentiful" decreased to 7.9% from 8.4%.

Consumers have also grown less upbeat about the short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 16.6% from 18.5%. However, those anticipating business conditions will worsen decreased to 13.1% from 14.2%.

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