Heim retail trade
- Heimdepot,Lowes,EAce-Hardware, three of the largest hardware stores in the United States, offer a similar selection of products and help with home improvement projects.
- Although the stores sell many of the same products,HeimdepotThe setting seems more aimed at professionals - such as contractors and interior designers - thanLowese Ace Hardware.
- The information was released by Home Depot on Tuesday.Same-store sales up 8%In its most recent fiscal quarter, Lowe's reported in May that the first quarter was comparableSales increased by 0.6%,and Ace Hardware reported in May of this first quarterSales grew by 2.2%.
- We visited both retailers' locations and found that Home Depot had much more to offer and was more pleasant to shop than its competitors.
Home Depot, Lowe's and Ace Hardware compete to be the go-to place for all things DIY.
They stock everything you need to fix up your home, including kitchen and bathroom supplies, screws and nuts, paint, and tools. All three stores offer in-store pick-up and do-it-yourself tips.
Home Depot hat2,284 storesin North America,low hatabout 2,370, e Ace Hardware tem4,418 stores, most of which are independently owned and operated. However, Home Depot and Lowe's stores tend to be much larger than Ace Hardware stores.
Visiting the field offices of all three retailers, we noticed that Home Depot felt like a huge warehouse, while Ace Hardware felt more like a local hardware store without the flashy showrooms and massive promotions that Home Depot had. Lowe's was located somewhere in the middle of the two stores - it was comparable in size to Home Depot, but it didn't look that much like a warehouse.
All three hardware stores have performed well recently. Home Depot reported on TuesdaySame-store sales up 8%In its most recent fiscal quarter, Lowe's reported in May that the first quarter was comparableSales increased by 0.6%,and Ace Hardware reported in May of this first quarterSales grew by 2.2%.
Otarget marketis another notable difference between stores. Home Depot caters more to professionals — like contractors, interior designers and plumbers — while Lowe's and Ace Hardware tend to welcome do-it-yourselfers.
Also, Home Depot seems to be the store of choice for millennials. In a Bank of America survey of 1,000 millennialsreported by US News,64% said Home Depot was their first choice for home improvement purchases.
Here's what we found when visiting Home Depot, Lowe's and Ace Hardware stores in New York City:
I visited Home Depot in the Flatiron District.
It felt like walking into a warehouse with high ceilings and industrial lighting. On the left, small products such as detergent and cleaning products. To the right was the start of the flooring department.
Home Depot had an incredible selection of everything. There was a wide variety of styles and patterns for each type of product.
The main level had hallways filled with appliances and furniture.
There was also a huge lighting department on this level.
The upper floor housed model kitchens and bathrooms, as well as advice centers for clients who need help designing their homes.
In the basement was the garden section with plants, seeds, flowers, tools, soil and fertilizer.
There were cleaning supplies...
... craft supplies ...
... and lots of paint and paint chips.
Many things in the store were not labeled. There was a directory and lots of experts on hand to help, but the shop was clearly geared more towards DIY professionals. If you don't know exactly what nail or dowel you're looking for, it can be difficult to find it on your own.
However, there were many services for non-professionals, such as workshops where customers could learn to paint a patio, for example.
Signs around the store explained that Home Depot would reduce that price by 10% if shoppers could find a cheaper product elsewhere. In addition to price matching, this store offers same-day delivery anywhere in Manhattan, starting at $21. Other Home Depot locations do the same, with prices varying depending on the size of the order.
Home Depot's return policy is generous, allowing a full refund on most items if you bring the receipt and saving the credit if you don't. Home Depot also offers online returns and in-store pickup for online orders. The shop appeared to be geared towards professionals but seemed to have everything you could need for a DIY project and all of the employees were extremely helpful.
Lowe's was around the corner from Home Depot.
The garden department was at the front of the store and was significantly smaller than Home Depot's.
Lowe's immediately seemed to cater to people who aren't necessarily professionals. There was a lot more support for DIY projects and everything was well labeled.
Overall, however, the store underperformed compared to Home Depot.
Less of everything was offered, from lighting to tools and painting.
As with Home Depot, the second level featured model kitchens and bathrooms.
It also had a comparable assortment of lighting fixtures and flooring. The store looked less industrial than Home Depot, and its products were certainly better labeled.
Lowe's had a design center similar to Home Depot's consulting services.
Home Depot and Lowe's had the same return policy, and Lowe's also offered a 10% price match guarantee.
Lowe's also offers workshops and in-store pickup for online ordering. Most of the benefits in the two stores were very similar.
The Ace Hardware I went to was in the East Village.
The store was considerably smaller than Home Depot and Lowe's and stocked many household and convenience items such as soap and toys. It was a pretty random selection at the front of the store.
Ace Hardware had a tool selection comparable to Home Depot and Lowe's, and everything was clearly labeled in this part of the store. It felt more like a local store than a chain.
The rest of what was on the first floor was pretty random. There were keys, wood, cleaning supplies...
... and a selection of other random products. While there were lots of options to choose from, it was very confusing and finding a specific product could be difficult.
As with Lowe's, many parts of the store were underwhelming. One hall was completely empty.
Another aisle, which held small items like screws, nuts and bolts, had signs taped to the floor advising customers to write down the quantities and prices of the items they were purchasing. They were very easy to miss.
The store had about the same amount of paint as Home Depot and Lowe's, but it was a mess. One of the shelves looked like it was about to topple over and there were paint cans everywhere.
The rest of the main tier had more general household items like Command hooks and hangers. It also carried kitchen and bathroom utensils. The selection was smaller than Home Depot or Lowe's, and most items were under $20.
After passing the upper floor of the store, I went downstairs.
The lower level didn't have much to offer. There was a sign saying the store was being reorganized, which explained some of the disarray. . .
...but it was still poorly labeled and difficult to navigate.
Although the store had a lot of products to offer at low prices, it was very confusing and disorganized. Ace Hardware has no set guidelines for price comparison with competitors, and most of its businesses are independently owned and operated.
Ace Hardware had a promotional support sign for local businesses. Shipping and return policies are not advertised in stores, but they offer next-day delivery, in-store pickup, and returns with a receipt for up to 30 days.
Home Depot was the clear winner among the three stores. Aside from the lenient return and price match policies, it was better organized and had the best selection of products.
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