Home Depot, Lowe’s Report Growth in Pro Sales

Home Depot, Lowe’s Report Growth in Pro Sales

“Sales to our Pro customers continue to strengthen, posting the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating growth and the best quarterly growth rate on record.”

“We continue to gain momentum with the Pro.”

The first quote comes from Ted Decker, President and Chief Operating Officer at Home Depot. The second comes from Joe McFarland, Executive Vice-President of Lowe’s. While earlier this week, Home Depot reported first quarter sales were up nearly 33%, Lowe’s reported a 24% increase in sales for the same time period. Both DIY chains are reporting sales to Pro customers rose more than 30% in the first quarter of this year.

“Pros continue to tell us that project demand is strong and their backlogs are growing,” Decker continued during his conference call on the earnings report. He also pointed out an increased success with Klein Tools. “And at a time when Pros are busier than ever, we’re thrilled that we’re the destination for Klein tools. We’ve enjoyed a long exclusive partnership with Klein, being first to market with their new and innovative products.”

Home Depot Chairman and CEO Craig Menear explained to reporters that last year’s acquisition of HD Supply is leading to an increase in sales from both small and large Pro customers. “The focus of the capabilities that we’re building out is to be able to expand our reach into the pool of customer. We’ve been very strong over the years with the smaller Pro and the unplanned purchase with a larger Pro. And what we’re building is capabilities to actually extend into that planned purchase and we’re seeing that beginning to play out. So we’re pleased with what we’re seeing in the early stages.”

Home Depot also said during the conference call that it is building on its $1.2 billion plan to improve delivery, which will include more major flatbed delivery centers across the country, and close to 100 distribution centers to deliver products in key markets by the end of this year.

Lowe’s admits it has been a process to gain traction with the Pro customer, but told reporters that it is starting to see some rewards. “Although this has been a 2-year journey, I’m very pleased with the progress that we’ve made with our Pro customer,” President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison told reporters. “We began by addressing the basics, ensuring that we were carrying the brands and products that Pros need, and also provided the excellent service this busy customer expects. Now we shifted to the more strategic phase of growth in the Pro by resetting the layout of our stores with a Pro in mind and deepening our relationship with the Pro through a loyalty program that provides them with members-only benefits.”

Ellison added that right now, the small and medium sized Pro is a target customer, but as it continues to improve engagement, it plans to move into larger contractors. That will include implementing some new services aimed at making the buying experience easier and faster.

“We’re launching a tailored shopping experience created specifically for Pros to ensure that the time they spend away from their job site is efficient and productive,” Ellison added. “We’re introducing new convenience products at checkout and services like dedicated Pro trailer parking and phone charging stations, all designed to help add value to each trip the Pros take, thus cutting down on the number of stops they make throughout the day.”

During the pandemic, Lowe’s learned that more customers are buying online, so it is enhancing the Pro capabilities to track online orders and make it easier for the Pro customer to buy what they need. “We’re enhancing their online experiences with the ongoing migration of Lowe’s for Pros to the cloud. This will give our Pro customers access to incremental options that our DIY customers already have on Lowes.com and it will allow us to more quickly add new Pro only features in the future, including a personalized app experience. Both in-store and online we continue to demonstrate that Lowe’s is on a mission to be the new home for Pros,” Joe McFarland, Executive Vice-President explained.

While Lowe’s did not go into great detail, Lowe’s Executive Vice-President of Merchandising Bill Boltz did mention the electrical category of products saw solid demand in the first quarter, with both copper and repair model markets showing strong gains.

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