Lowe’s seeks to stretch pandemic stay-at-home gains into spring

Lowe’s is gearing up for the busiest home improvement sales season. Garden-to-Go kits and accessories will be sold this spring for people to enjoy a stay.


Garden tools. Backyard grills. And supplies for a stay?

As the prime home improvement sales season begins, Lowe’s expects shoppers’ spring purchases to continue to be affected by the Covid pandemic. Along with typical merchandise, the retailer said this will meet consumer demand for a getaway – even if they are just camping in the back yard or planning a spa day at home.

The spring range, from tents to cocktail shakers, is part of the company’s strategy to sell a wider variety of items that consumers may need to maintain, decorate, or enjoy their homes – especially when it comes to it to maintain a strong, pandemic-induced run. During the holiday season, Lowe sold linens, small kitchen appliances like air fryers, and children’s toys. The company has added exercise equipment such as spin bikes to its website and has begun testing them on the storefront.

Lowe’s website now has over 2 million different products – more than four times as many as in 2018, said Bill Boltz, executive vice president of merchandising.

He said it made sense for the retailer to sell trampolines and towels, as well as lawnmowers, patio sets and bathroom shelves.

“We’re not going to go into the grocery section, but we believe there is an opportunity here to do some things and move them forward a little where we have the right to play,” he said in a CNBC interview.

Lowe’s turns its spring event, which is usually a weekend, into a month-long festival. These include pandemic-friendly activities like garden-to-go kits that customers can pick up in the parking lot.

Rival Home Depot is also stretching its spring sales, promoting items that make the home more comfortable and fun. Visit his website for DIY ideas on springtime, as well as virtual and livestream workshops.

Lowes stocks are up 134% over the past year and hit an all-time high of $ 184.15 on Wednesday. Its market value was $ 129.6 billion as of Wednesday’s close of trading, but some analysts believe it will continue to rise. Like-for-like sales, a key metric that measures sales in stores that have been open for at least a year and online, increased 26% year over year in the last fiscal year.

But even Lowe warned that this rate of growth is unlikely to continue in the coming quarters. Dave Denton, chief financial officer, said in a fourth quarter earnings report that in a cheap market, the retailer expects home improvement demand to fall 5% to 7%. That would mean Lowe’s net sales for the year would be around $ 86 billion – down from $ 89.6 billion in 2020.

Home Depot declined to provide a forecast for the year because it was too difficult to predict how factors from stimulus checks to Covid-19 cases will affect consumer spending. Like Lowe’s, it posted strong comparable sales growth of 19.7% last fiscal year. The stock also hit an all-time high of $ 296.78 on Wednesday, increasing its market value to $ 315.18 billion at the close of trading on Wednesday. Home Depot’s inventory has increased 58% over the past 12 months.

The two retailers have a hot real estate market and the growth in remote working is working in their favor for now.

Zack Fadem, senior equity analyst at Wells Fargo, said while consumers wait for a Covid-19 vaccine appointment or postpone travel and entertainment for more months, they could further spice up their backyards and take on DIY projects. Its price targets are above what both retailers are trading in: $ 310 for Home Depot and $ 200 for Lowe’s.

“As much as we all want to go on vacation, the light switch hasn’t been turned on for the vaccine, and it may take a while for everyone to decide, ‘Ok, time to go to the movies. Time to get on a plane again ‘”, he said.

Travel has increased but is still well below pre-pandemic levels – especially during a popular time like the spring break. The Transportation Security Administration examined more than 1 million people Tuesday, more than the same day a year ago, but 56% fewer than in 2019.

Lowe teamed up with Ally Love, a peloton instructor, to show how she made her home a travel destination, and how her clients can too.


Home gyms and “home trips”

Lowe’s insists that people’s enthusiasm for home projects has not waned. Those in charge of the retailer pointed to survey results. Almost 70% of respondents with children plan to “stay” at home instead of going on a spring break. This is the result of a survey of 2,000 homeowners carried out by Lowe’s on behalf of Morning Consult in late February. According to the survey, 89 percent of those surveyed who have completed home projects since March 2020 are planning more this spring.

“While we obviously long for the ability to feel safe and good and get out and do more, that idea of ​​the importance of the home is strengthened, not weakened,” said Marisa Thalberg, Lowe’s chief brand and marketing officer, in a virtual press conference.

While people are reluctant to book big trips, she said that people’s homes have become a “must do.”

Lowe’s has grown into another category that has gained momentum during the pandemic: fitness at home. It now has more than 1,700 products from brands like Life Fitness and ProForm, and plans to add even more, Boltz said. He said it was testing sales of the equipment in more than one store in different markets but declined to say how many or where they are based on competitive reasons.

As part of its virtual spring preview, Lowe’s joined a growing list of retailers trying to connect their brand with the almost iconic following of Peloton and other home fitness companies. Adidas is working with Peloton on an exclusive clothing line. Nordstrom has signed a contract with Tonal to open mini-stores that sell the high-tech, wall-mounted training stations in its stores. And the sports brand Fabletics has a partnership with the rowing machine Hydrow.

Lowe has teamed up with Ally Love, a peloton instructor. She showed how she used Lowe’s décor, including a plant, pillows, linens, and a wicker chair, to transform her New York apartment into a “trip home” to Miami.

The love that lives with her fiancé said the pandemic also forced her to get creative. Her guest room is now a home gym and office with a Peloton bike and treadmill. She said she tried to make the most of every square foot with mirrors and different seating.

“Since we were pretty much forced to spend time at home, I thought about redefining what these positions or these areas or that corner or that pocket meant, even in a small apartment,” she said.

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