Depot’s Decker points to merchandise moves
How strong was Home Depot’s first quarter performance? Not even the historic California drought could derail the retailer’s growth. Consider this: the Western division’s indoor and outdoor garden departments both posted comps above the company average.
“We’re featuring more water-saving products and landscape options like moisture control soils & mulches, drip irrigation systems, and drought resistant plants, like succulents,” said Ted Decker, executive VP of merchandising for Atlanta-based Home Depot. “In addition, our stores in California are holding clinics to educate customers on these products and how to reduce water usage.”
Home Depot yesterday posted sales of $20.9 billion in the first quarter, and net earnings of $1.6 billion – up 14.5% from the same quarter last year. Comps for U.S. stores were up 7.1%.
In his remarks to Wall Street analysts, Decker credited Mother Nature’s return to normalcy and a successful Spring Black Friday event for some of the sales success. Across the country, comps in gardening tools, soils and mulch, watering, live goods and patio were all above the company average.
Other over-performing departments were tools, décor, lighting, plumbing and appliances. And overall, the pro focused merchandise performed well, with double-digit comps in siding, power tools, commercial lighting, fencing and power tool accessories.
“The core of the store continued to perform well across the country, as we saw strength in maintenance and repair categories,” Decker said.
Below the company average, but still positive, were kitchen and bath, lumber, hardware, millwork, building materials, paint, flooring, and electrical.
Looking ahead, Home Depot is introducing a new lineup of DeWalt and Makita pneumatic nailers. Also new is a 58-volt lithium-ion battery platform from Echo featuring trimmers, blowers, chainsaws and lawnmowers. Home Depot also added an assortment of Owens Corning shingle products in certain areas, including California.
Hardware All Stars: Ohio & Vermont
It takes a little more to be an All Star.
Now in its fifth year, the 2015 All-Star project is designed to recognize retail excellence. After a months-in-the-making review of nominations from vendors, distributors and manufacturers, HBSDealer published a list of 50 All Stars from 50 states. The 2015 All Star project is sponsored by Epicor.
The full article can be found online in our digital issue. Here are two mini-profiles of honorees – from Ohio and Vermont.
Woodsfield, Ohio: Woodsfield True Value Home Center
One thing about operating a hardware store in a small, rural town like Woodsfield, Ohio – “you get to know a lot of the people,” says Walter Kemp.
Kemp is the owner of Woodsfield True Value Home Center, which has made a lot of friends over the years in the Southeastern Ohio city of some 2,500. But friendliness is just one factor that leads to hardware store success. Another is product knowledge.
Woodsfield True Value was one of the Chicago-based co-op’s 2014 “Best Hardware Store in Town” honorees during its latest Reunion. The store operates out of a 12,000-sq.-ft. showroom and six different buildings for building materials. Karp describes the competition as Home Depot, Lowe’s and 84 Lumber. “We compete with them all the time,” he said. How? “Our employees know the products, that’s one of the main things.”
Manchester, Vermont: rk Miles
High quality showrooms set the stage for business at rk Miles, a four-location home center celebrating its 75th anniversary. The business supports its professional customers with a complete work-wear department and a strong tool department. For home owners, there is definite “wow” factor built into the kitchen and bath vignettes.
But more than that, the Manchester-based company prides itself on history of service, to customers and the community.
“It is the company’s commitment to fair business practices, belief in family and community, and the loyalty of its customers that makes rk MILES what it is today,” said Amanda Monks, marketing coordinator. “That and the knowledgeable staff and value added services we provide.
[Note: The photo caption that appeared on page 20 of the April issue of Hardware + Building Supply Dealer was incoorect. The photo shows a finished kitchen, not an rk Miles showroom. HBSDealer regrets the error.]