Lowe's has begun outsourcing maintenance and assembly jobs to third party companies to "allow store associates more time on the sales floor."
The news pushed Lowe's shares to an all-time high and overshadowed the weaker-than-expected first-quarter results the chain reported on Wednesday, as colder-than-usual weather hurt demand for lawn and garden and other seasonal goods.
"We do believe that we will make up a significant portion of the sales that we lost in the first quarter," Chief Executive Robert Niblock said in an interview
Claudia Brown, a kitchen and bathroom designer for Home Depot Inc. (HD), is witnessing what she's rarely seen in the past six years: customers knocking down walls again.
"People aren't hesitant; they're getting what they want," Brown, who works in Greensboro, North Carolina, said earlier this month after selling a kitchen project costing more than $13,000 and a bathroom remodel for $3,700.
Spurred by rising home prices, homeowners who spent the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression taking on only must-do repairs like fixing leaky faucets or minor upgrades like painting
Home improvement retailer Home Depot's excellent run of results over the first three quarters of 2012 has been capped off with another strong performance in the final quarter. Earnings for Q4 2012 crossed the $1 billion mark compared to $774 million in Q4 2011 - a healthy increase of nearly 32%.
Net earnings were propelled by top-line growth with a steady recovery in the U.S. housing market driving consumer appetite for home improvement products. HD's net sales for the final quarter stood at $18.2 billion, an increase of about 13.9% over Q4 2011.
After years of reeling under the housing downturn, North America's largest home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe's are hoping that this year's spring will finally bring a long awaited bloom in retail sales of home goods and furnishings. And with the U.S. housing market finally getting back on track in recent months and an improvement in general employment levels, investors have plenty of reason to share the excitement.
Spring marks the peak selling season for home improvement retailers with home construction and rebuilding activity picking up after a long, hard winter.
The home improvement retailer Lowe's plans to hire 54,000 part-time workers this spring, and company officials say they expect 9,000 of the jobs to become permanent positions.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the company's hiring plans reflect a gradual turnaround in the housing market, a rebound in the economy and an improving job market.
John Challenger, of the job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., says the large-scale hiring effort reflects another trend as well. Challenger says companies are relying more on part-timers to fill specific needs
Mooresville-based Lowe's Inc. said Thursday that it's hired a Husqvarna executive as its new chief merchandising officer.
Michael Jones was president of Husqvarna North and Latin America, and before that worked for General Electric. As chief merchandising officer for Lowe's, he'll report to chief customer officer Gregory Bridgeford.
"Mike has extensive experience with consumer products in categories relevant to the home improvement business, with both Husqvarna and GE including appliances, outdoor power equipment and lighting categories," said Bridgeford, in a statement.
This week, Home Depot and Lowe's both announced new additions to to their major appliance lineups. Home Depot, the nation's largest home improvement chain, will begin selling appliances from Samsung on Sunday. Number two Lowe's will start carrying LG appliances in the first quarter of next year. Sears leads both in major appliance sales.
In Consumer Reports' latest Ratings of appliance retailers, Lowe's held a slight edge over Home Depot, largely because of the latter's subpar selection. Home Depot's efforts to change that started this summer when it added Whirlpool, Electrolux and Frigidaire
Lowe's Inc. CEO Robert Niblock said the company's 76 percent rise in third-quarter profits shows the company's improvement plan is on track. But he was cautious in the face of challenges such as the fiscal cliff, the unknown impact of health care reform, and a sluggish housing market.
The nation's second-largest home improvement retailer's financial performance improved in large part because Lowe's avoided large one-time charges that dragged down its results last year.
Analysts greeted Lowe's results favorably Monday, and investors responded enthusiastically.
Home Depot said it has roughly 100 truckloads of post-storm merchandise out on the roads with about 650 on hand and in the process of moving out. Lowe's said hundreds of truckloads of emergency-relief supplies are being distributed to stores across the affected areas.
Aaron Flowe, Home Depot's Northern Division president, said power outages have a major effect on the type of merchandise needed. Areas with brief outages