Hardware Strengthens Housewares Connection

The National Hardware Show hits Las Vegas May 8 riding a robust home improvement market validated by the strong performance by key retailers in the segment.

What shouldn’t be lost in this is the significant opportunity for the housewares business.

Growing Role

As the Hardware Show refreshes its identity as a multi-faceted platform to reinforce connections between home improvement suppliers and retailers, it continues to emphasize the growing role of housewares in the home improvement retail experience.

The show’s Homewares Show division presents a diverse housewares range— including home environment, storage and cleaning products— to provide hardware stores and home centers with incremental sales prospects. The show’s Outdoor Living exhibit includes myriad grilling and décor accessories straddling the hardware and housewares markets.

This year’s show also marks the 10th anniversary of the Homewares Awards, a retailer-juried program created by the National Hardware Show and HomeWorld Business to recognize innovation among the show’s expanding base of housewares exhibitors.

Home improvement-angled housewares categories have been integral to the hardware/home center channel for decades. And many neighborhood hardware stores have also featured kitchenware.

While the full-service DIY store base has been less vulnerable to Amazon and other big e-commerce platforms (for now), digital commerce development has helped widen the housewares scope for home improvement retailers eyeing new growth targets that also can be brought into stores.

Set The Stage

Surging Home Depot is two years into the development of a comprehensive program presenting kitchenware, kitchen electrics and tableware— along with housewares products more indigenous to the channel— as complements to kitchen and home remodeling projects. The stepped-up housewares program launched last year with a curated, lifestyle-themed e-commerce presentation promoted in seasonal print catalogs. This sets the stage for a more assertive housewares move into Home Depot stores.

Ace, meanwhile, credits revenue gains to its 2017 acquisition of the Grommet online innovation platform. The Grommet connection helps reposition Ace beyond its core neighborhood hardware identity, showing it as an early adopter of creative lifestyle solutions spanning several categories, including housewares. It also opens the veteran hardware store cooperative to a younger consumer base vital to every retailer’s long-term prospects.

More Aligned

Lowe’s, historically more family oriented than Home Depot, years ago began differentiating itself with a broader housewares mix. Lowe’s hasn’t matched Home Depot’s recent performance, but it has seen decent comp sales growth to affirm it as a meaningful outlet for more housewares business.

Considering limited growth opportunities in today’s shifting retail marketplace, the resilient home improvement channel and the industrious housewares business have never been more aligned with each other.

See you at the Hardware Show.