Predicting slow growth
Predicting slow growth According to analysts at Retail Forward, retail sales growth for the U.S. home channel will slow in the years ahead. The compound annual growth rate for the entire United States over 2001-2006 was 8.4 percent, and for the upcoming 2006-2011 period, Retail Forward predicts 4.6 percent growth. For Home Depot, growth over the same periods will slow from 7.5 percent to 3.4 percent, and for Lowe’s, from 16.2 percent to 5.5 percent. In making the forecast, the management consulting firm cites factors such as the tough housing market and no sign of a quick turnaround.
Lowe’s execs eye lawn care items, eco-friendly products
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 14th Annual Global Retailing Conference, held today in New York, Patti Price, Lowe’s general merchandise manager for outdoor living, told investors and analysts what she expects will be trends to watch in the coming months.
“Because of drought [in some regions of the country], customers will be renovating their lawns,” Price predicted. Fall cleanup products and lawn care items are being promoted in Lowe’s stores, she said.
“We’ve had some real success in our holiday programs,” Price said. “We brought in John Deere. The merchants are so focused on moving the business ahead … we’re extremely well positioned for the back half of this year.”
Larry Stone, president and COO for Lowe’s, said new products that have been popular in Lowe’s stores include eco-friendly items and composite building materials.
“Something that’s really evolving, in my opinion, is all these composite products,” Stone said. “[There are] a lot of new products that customers want to use because they’re lower priced and lower maintenance.” Those products include composite siding, shutters and solid core composite flooring, he said.
Additionally, Stone said innovations in locksets, including keyless locks, have shown increased popularity in the home improvement market.
Stone spoke further on Lowe’s overall market position in the middle of a housing downturn, saying the company was “not happy with the negative 2.6 (percent) comps that we recorded” in the second quarter. He also said the company has seen weakness in big-ticket items, installed sales and special order sales.
However, Stone was optimistic about the next few years for the nation’s second largest home improvement retailer, adding, “Lowe’s will be well-positioned, once everything turns around, for further growth in the home improvement industry.”
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Dave Heine joins BlueLinx
BlueLinx, one of the industry’s largest building materials distributors, has hired Dave Heine, the former vp-retail development at Do it Best. BlueLinx confirmed that Heine started this week as a senior national account executive, where he will call on Do it Best accounts and other independent dealers.
“I have worked with [Heine] for over 20 years as a customer and always admired his abilities, leadership style and integrity,” said BlueLinx president and chief operating officer George Judd.
Heine, a 28-year veteran of Do it Best, left in July after serving in a number of positions that included vp-lumber and building materials, vp-building products, vp-purchasing for pro and commercial products and manager of the lumber and commodities division.
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