Building on a strengthening housing market, Home Depot and Lowe’s each recently reported Q2 gains that bucked general shopper trends for traditional retailers, leading many to speculate that the home improvement titans were more immune to current digital pressures, aptly titled the “Amazon Effect.” With Home Depot arguably the stronger performer of the two – I’ve previously detailed the struggles Lowe’s has had in the past with attracting male shoppers as well as with its regional competitor Menards – recent analysis of the digital generation, a.k.a. Millennials, exposes vulnerabilities that Lowe’s in particular faces with this next great generation of spenders. Continue reading →
With speculation about the future of Sears Holdings running rampant among analysts and amid news of additional store closures, one has to wonder which retailers might step up with shoppers should a Sears shutdown become a reality. Earlier in the year, I detailed the highs and lows for Sears, according to insights from Prosper’s consumer survey of more than 6,000 U.S. adults 18+. One positive that remained for Sears was its first place position in appliances; however, while Sears currently leads in this category, the once dominant department store’s share is undoubtedly slipping with shoppers. With some of retail’s biggest boxes, including Home Depot and Best Buy, vying for the appliance crown, recent analysis reveals that Lowe’s appears to be best positioned to succeed Sears’ reign. Continue reading →
In the battle for home improvement supremacy, Lowe’s always seems to settle for second place behind star performer Home Depot. While both of these big box behemoths recently posted comp store gains in for the critical first quarter, Lowe’s lagged Home Depot’s stellar performance in a mixed and uncertain retail environment, disappointing analysts and investors alike. When we last visited the Home Depot / Lowe’s rivalry, I equated the competition to Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare fable. Then (and now), Lowe’s – the tortoise – benefited from a higher Net Promoter Score®, and its shoppers valued the “extras” Lowe’s offers beyond the location advantage of Home Depot – the hare – including perceived quality and store appearance. At the time, Lowe’s was on the verge of contesting its rival as the top pick among consumers, perhaps finally winning one for the slow and steady. Fast forward two years, however, and the big boxes are becoming increasingly bifurcated in Home Depot’s favor. So what’s wrong with Lowe’s? Continue reading →
Challenge anyone to name a positive aspect of Sears and chances are that person will opine about the department store’s vast real estate holdings or the value remaining in house brands Craftsman, DieHard, and Kenmore. While we could certainly question the validity of Sears’ worth in real estate in today’s increasingly digital society, it’s the Kenmore stronghold that’s up for debate today.
Previously, I’ve discussed Sears’ waning, aging, and uninvested customer base in women’s apparel, and it seems as though these same problems are leeching into that feather in Sears’ cap: appliances. On the plus side, our insights indicate that Sears continues to be the top destination for everything from coffee makers and vacuums to microwaves and refrigerators; about a quarter of consumers overall (23.5%) assert that Sears is the store they would head to first for these items. Unfortunately, as its big box competitors have ramped up their offerings, service, and customer share in other merchandise categories, Sears has begun to slump in appliances. Continue reading →