Apply For Lowe's Home Improvement Credit Card – CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 24: Wes Bielinski (L) helps a customer purchase a sander at Lowe’s Home Improvement on January 24, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Lowe’s said it plans to hire 45,000 part-time workers this spring, the home improvement retailer’s busiest time of year. The company also expects to hire 9,000 full-time and part-time employees. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Lowe’s Home Improvement is entering Manhattan’s competitive retail market for the first time this summer with the opening of two new stores, a move that signals how the chain is remodeling its broader retail strategy to capture growing U.S. urban markets.
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The company is in the midst of finishing construction on two new stores in New York City’s Upper West Side and Chelsea neighborhoods, with both locations expected to open later this summer. The stores showcase a more urban view of big-box retail on several fronts. The stores will be smaller and will feature merchandise from new retailers that Lowe’s ( LOW ) has not worked with before. The Lowe’s team says they’re thinking about retail a little differently when aiming to address the Manhattan market.
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“We were looking at being more urban by a decade,” said Lowe’s chief development officer Richard Maltsbarger.
. About two years ago, Lowe’s finally moved forward with plans to envision a retail strategy for the New York market.
For starters, Manhattan stores are smaller than traditional Lowe’s. The new Island locations are three times smaller at about 30,000 square feet, compared to its existing stores averaging about 112,000 square feet concentrated across the U.S. suburbs. Manhattan stores also have storefronts to attract street traffic. It’s a feature you won’t find in a typical Lowe’s store.
Major U.S. cities have seen population growth in the post-recession years, and much has been made of the trend of millennials moving to cities for job opportunities and staying in urban markets for longer periods of time before buying a home in the suburbs. Although there are some indications that growth in US cities is slowing, their populations continue to increase.
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Lowe’s believes it can take this smaller retail space strategy to other urban markets, hoping to tap into those retail markets where Lowe’s doesn’t have much of a presence today.
“This format gives us the opportunity to enter spaces where we believe there are additional customers where we can help them love where they live,” says Maltsbarger.
The smaller store format strategy differs from chief competitor Home Depot ( HD ), which has two Manhattan stores that are about the same size as that retailer’s average store. Home Depot has also operated its two existing locations on the island since 2004, so Lowe’s is coming to the market for the first time more than a decade later.
The decision to open smaller stores also reduces the investment Lowe’s is making to enter Manhattan’s expensive retail market.
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“New York is the most expensive place to open a store,” says Ron Friedman, a retail consultant for accounting and advisory firm Marcum LLP. “The cost per square foot to open the store is extremely expensive.” He advises retailers to consider renting less space to begin with.
Smaller sites will cut back on some items that are not as popular for smaller homes, often with little open space. For example, Lowe’s stores in Manhattan will stock fewer shovels and fewer carpets because those items simply aren’t as popular for the city’s needs.
Of course, shovels can be ordered online, and Lowe spent a lot of time during a walking tour of the company’s Upper West Side location talking about its omnichannel capabilities to ensure that every item it carries can be shipped quickly. to homes and apartments in the city. . Omnichannel is how companies like Lowe’s can connect brick-and-mortar retail with their online businesses, ideally making order fulfillment as easy as possible.
“We were able to build something that was the right size and the right feel for the Manhattan shopper, but supported by a million square feet of Lowe’s that surrounds the island,” says Maltsbarger.
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Lowe’s focuses on eight basic “occasions” for home improvement, including storage and organization, a remodeling section, color and an appliance section. In those areas of the store, the retailer’s team identified several new partners that Lowe’s will be working with for the first time when it enters New York, including closet organizer Space Pro, appliance makers Smeg and Liebherr, and Jessica Alba founder . The honest company. Some are fashion shows, others focus on making small apartments more livable. While I concluded that Home Depot performed better than its rival, I said, “In the near term, the outlook for both companies is bright as long as the pace of employment growth holds up. “Almost everyone whose employment situation improves will at least consider making some improvement to their home.”
Home Depot Inc. HD, -2.44% and Lowe’s Cos. LOW, -2.52% have been improving their efficiency and enjoying a recovering housing market, unlike some other major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT, -1.33% The discount retailer reported a 15% drop in second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, cut its 2016 earnings outlook and said inventory cuts were weighing on profits.
Home Depot said Tuesday that second-quarter comparable-store sales rose 4.2%, well ahead of the consensus estimate of 3.5% among analysts polled by FactSet. US comparable-store sales rose 5.7%, higher than the consensus estimate of 4.1%. However, those growth rates were slower than those of the previous year.
But the slightly slower growth numbers don’t mean much, given that it’s been a full year of economic improvement. A year ago, many consumers may have lacked the confidence to begin home improvement projects.
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On Wednesday, Lowe’s said comparable-store sales for the second quarter rose 4.3% from a year earlier. That was much better than the consensus estimate of 3.7%. Since nearly all of the company’s stores are in the United States, this number compares favorably with Home Depot’s domestic comparable sales growth of 5.7%.
Here are the year-over-year comparisons of the fiscal second quarter results for the two companies. Figures are in millions, except earnings per share.
Home Depot’s second-quarter net sales of $24.83 billion came in ahead of the consensus estimate of $24.70 billion, while adjusted earnings per share of $1.71 met the consensus estimate. EPS was adjusted to exclude the gain on the sale of Home Depot Supply Holdings Inc.
What really pleased investors is that Home Depot raised its 2015 guidance, in part to reflect the expected completion of its acquisition of Interline Brands Inc. IBI, +4.07%. The company raised its expected range for sales growth to 5.2% to 6.0% from a previous range of 4.2% to 4.8%, and for EPS to rise 13% to 14% to a range of 5, 31 to $5.36. Previous guidance for EPS growth was 11% to 12% to a range of $5.24 to $5.27.
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Home Depot bought back $3.1 billion worth of stock in the first half of the year and expects to buy back another $3.9 billion in stock by the end of the year. Home Depot’s average diluted share during the second quarter was down 4.7% from a year earlier, causing EPS to grow at a much faster pace than net earnings.
Shares of Home Depot rose 3% on Tuesday to close at $122.80. Shares fell slightly on Wednesday, closing at $122.76.
Lowe’s second-quarter sales of $17.35 billion were slightly above the consensus estimate of $17.27 billion, but its EPS of $1.20 was below the consensus estimate of $1.24. So there were early headlines about the company’s “earnings miss.” But as you can see in the chart above, Lowe’s grew its EPS in the second quarter by a whopping 15.4%. The company’s average diluted share count for the second quarter was down 6% from a year ago. Lowe’s bought back $2.5 billion worth of stock in the first half of the year.
Lowe’s outlook for fiscal 2015 was unchanged. The company expects full-year sales to grow between 4.5% and 5%, with comparable-store sales up 4% to 4.5%. Earnings per share for the year are expected to reach $3.29, which would be a 21% increase from $2.71 in fiscal 2014.
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So Home Depot showed stronger comparable sales and revenue growth, but Lowe’s grew its net sales and EPS faster. Home Depot had a lower operating margin than Lowe’s, but a significantly higher pretax earnings margin. We compared pretax margins instead of operating margins because Lowe’s doesn’t report operating income the same way as Home Depot.
Given how well both companies’ stocks have performed over the past year, it’s easy to conclude that they’re expensive. At Wednesday’s close, Home Depot stock was trading at 23.1 times the consensus 2015 EPS estimate of $5.30. Lowe’s shares were trading at 22.6 times the consensus 2015 EPS estimate of $3.29. These valuations compare to a current-year price-to-earnings ratio of 17.7% for the S&P 500 Index SPX, -1.04% .
A year ago, Home Deport shares were trading at
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