Paint primed to grow in 2023

DIY paint sales expected to rise as paint departments drive traffic in hardware stores.
Pleasants Hardware paint bar
There’s been an investment in the paint department at Pleasants Hardware. “We introduced the Color Bar from Do it Best and have updated our Benjamin Moore chip racks to a more modern design,” said Darrell Campbell, general manager.

Darrell Campbell, general manager of nine Pleasants Hardware stores in and around Richmond, Virginia, part of Taylors Do it Center, has seen continued growth in the DIY paint market in the last several years and expects that to continue in 2023.

“The supply chain issues that we saw in 2021 and 2022 have eased in recent months and product has been filling in well. Our inventory position with paint in 2023 is expected to be strong,” said Campbell, who this February celebrates 20 years with the hardware.

Pleasants puts paint front and center. “Paint has a prominent position within our stores right off the power aisle. This location becomes a central hub for, not just paint, but many activities throughout the store.”

The general manager said that in the last several years, they have remodeled their stores and with the help of Do it Best and Benjamin Moore to put an added focus on the paint department. And they are opening a new store in Powhatan, Virginia, he said.

The paint market for 2023 looks brighter than 2022, said Steve McMillen, paint department buyer for Hartville Hardware in Hartville, Ohio.

“I am expecting more DIY sales as opposed to pro purchases through 2023,” he said. “The supply chain for paint is still broken, however it is better now than it has been.”

Several suppliers have become vertically integrated which has helped. “There are other raw materials that are in short supply, and I don’t see any relief on the horizon,” said McMillan.

Pleasants Hardware Darrell Campbell
Darrell Campbell, general manager at Pleasants Hardware helps customers with paint choices.

Many suppliers are concentrating on their “A” items, said the paint buyer, and not producing their slower moving items and in some cases sizes that are not as popular. For example, producing gallons only and no quarts.

As far as merchandising, paint is in the center of the Hartville store. “We have a good mix of full-time associates some with professional painter experience and several part-time associates. Paint and accessories are merchandised together in the department,” he said.

Geoff McCaslin, senior category manager for paint and sundries at Orgill adds some color to the paint picture in 2023. “As always, the paint market will be impacted by housing starts. Current research companies expect these numbers to be down.”

Paint projects limited by product availability could rebound as supply becomes more available, said McCaslin. “Our vendor partners anticipate strong and steady pro and DIFM business, at least through the first half of 2023.”

Orgill, said McCaslin, will become a Valspar supplier. “For 2023, we will be working alongside Sherwin-Williams to launch their new Valspar Complete program.”

Alan Shore, director of seasonal merchandise for Orgill offers advice for dealers when they ask: What’s the best way to sell paint?

“We recommend that dealers make paint a focal point. Independent hardware store data shows a paint department drives more traffic, improves margin, and protects from growing e-commerce pressure with DIY customers,” said Shore.

Additionally, widening the scope to include pros helps capture the DIFM demographic, he said. “Margin improves with a pro focus, too, as pro customers purchase a higher mix.”