From new formats to game-changing omnichannel strategies, and with the coronavirus pandemic impacting all aspects of the industry, the world of retail continued to evolve in 2020 as a number of leading chains and e-commerce pure-plays launched a range of key initiatives in an effort to enhance differentiation from their competitors.
Housewares and home were a focal point for many of these omnichannel-oriented retailers, which worked with leading vendors to launch new assortments ranging from kitchenware to home furnishings.
HomeWorld’s fourth annual Retailers To Watch, in the November 16 issue, takes a look at eight retailers that have made moves to further strengthen their respective businesses heading into 2021 through a range of initiatives, from new omnichannel directions to new retail formats. Selected by the HomeWorld editorial staff, each retailer selected is taking aim at growing top-level sales in the coming year and placing housewares and home at the forefront of their respective growth strategies.
The coronavirus pandemic gave home centers/home improvement retailers an essential retailer designation in the U.S., and Lowe’s benefited from that status, substantially growing its store traffic, market share and sales as consumers looked to the retailer for their do-it-yourself and home improvement needs.
Even before that, Lowe’s was gaining market momentum under the reign of former Home Depot and J.C. Penney veteran executive Marvin Ellison, who took the president and CEO role two years ago. Ellison has made several moves with Lowe’s, reinforcing its executive leadership, boosting its marketing and branding initiatives and expanding its technology, fulfillment and e-commerce growth strategies.
The moves have paid off, as Lowe’s has enjoyed strong sales in its recent quarters while expanding its safety and other community initiatives to support consumers and associates during the pandemic, along with taking a leadership role in helping to support small businesses impacted by the current market conditions.
Lowe’s is number seven on the recent HomeWorld Business Top 50 Housewares Retailer list, with $480 million in housewares sales January through June 2020. Home Depot ranks number six, with $586 million in housewares sales during the same period.
What To Watch
As with any retailer, the current coronavirus-impacted marketplace brings with it questions, and for Lowe’s it can be summarized as how to build on its current success. Following a strong spring season, will Lowe’s be able to maintain its current momentum heading into the fall and holiday season? Often overshadowed by Home Depot, can Lowe’s continue to build on its omnichannel strategies and grow market share? Will the home improvement retailer’s broader focus on home gain traction with consumers?
Two recent marketing initiatives signal that Lowe’s is willing to move in bolder, new directions to cement its place as a key home center for all consumers, pro or otherwise. A blitz of consumer facing marketing activities related to its NFL home improvement sponsorship, as well as a unique turn as a sponsor of New York Fashion Week, showcase the increasing flexibility Lowe’s has going for it as it makes its play to be a broader retailer for the home and to serve the needs of a larger, more diverse consumer audience. —Matthew Kramer
2021 Retailers To Watch (click on name for profile)