Buying Power. Customers have a slight advantage since other retailers offering similar items. The way Lowe’s can separate them from the competition is to offer a product mix that appeals to both male and female needs.
Home Depot has clearly set itself up to be successful in the recent upswing in the housing markets. Their technology upgrade has proven to be successful in keeping stores stocked and employees more engaged with helping the customers.
Lowe’s has done a great job over the years of scanning their competitive environment and establishing themselves as the second leader in market share for the home improvement industry. It is important for Lowe’s to fully understand the direct competitors as well as their indirect competition. This paper is going to take an in depth look at Sears, one of Lowe’s biggest indirect competitors, but it is important to keep in mind that Lowe’s has many indirect competitors. Sears has over 7,000 service technicians handling over thirteen million service and installation calls annually. Customers can obtain a wide array of products within the lawn and garden, consumer electronics and heating and cooling systems.
Lowe’s, and other home improvement businesses, serve three types of customers; the Do-It-Yourself customer that is the individual who completes their own projects and installations. The Do-It-For-Me
Established as the older company of the two, Lowe’s ranks forty-second as a Fortune 500 company. Established in 1946 as a small hardware business, Lowe’s has grown into a 40,000 product, global market enterprise that consist of 1,710 stores nationwide expanding into the countries of Canada, Mexico and Australia (Lowe's Internal, 2010) Home Depot, founded in 1978, is the fastest growing retailer in the United States. Ranked twenty-ninth as a Fortune 500 company, Home Depot continues to remain the number one do-it-yourself retail store in America. These two companies may sell products of the same nature, but comparing their Code of Ethics is their way of setting themselves apart. (Home Depot Internal, 2009)
Lowe’s is continuously being threatened by Home Depot in losing market shares. It is a constant battle; Lowe’s and Home Depot are expanding substantially in attempts to take over territory claimed by the other as well as unclaimed territory. The biggest weakness for Lowe’s is its lack of customer service. Customers are leaving Lowe’s in search of credible, knowledgeable service which is found at Home Depot.
Lowe’s is part of an oligopoly type market structure. An oligopoly is a situation in which a particular market is controlled by a small group of firms with at least two firms controlling the market. The main key to behavior in an oligopoly is that companies must take into account what other companies will do. In perfect competition, firms are price-takers and can ignore other firms (Basic Economics, 2009). The home improvement retail stores are an industry that includes Home Depot, Lowe’s, Builders Square, and in other states, Menards. Smaller companies have to try to compete with them to stay in business.
Lowe’s (LOW) and Home Depot (HD) are competitors in the every growing market of Home Improvement. The following analysis of each company will examine the home improvement industry, the individual companies, their operating philosophies, their financial strengths or weaknesses, and a final conclusion on which company would be a better long-term investment.
The home improvement sector of the economy is large with two major players in the industry and with many smaller local and regional competitors. These two major competitors are Home Depot and Lowe’s. These two companies account for over $110 billion in total sales each year. Even though sales have gone down over the past few years due to the downturn in the economy they have not gone down nearly as much as home sales and this is due to more people deciding to do more home improvements to their own home then buying a new home. Both of these companies have been able to keep up sales and increase them year over year by improving current
Lowe’s Companies, Inc., is a $26.5 billion company that employs 122,000 people. It is the world’s second largest home improvement retailer and the 14th largest retailer in the United States as well as the 30th worldwide. Lowe’s owns 854 stores in 44 states and serves eight million do-it-yourself and commercial customers weekly. Headquartered in Wilkesboro, N.C., Lowe’s has been in business for 57 years and publicly held for 41 with stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LOW. The company offers products and services in home improvement, home décor, home maintenance, home repair and remodeling and lawn and garden.
Fifty eight years ago Lowe’s began as North Wilkesboro Hardware Company, a neighborhood hardware store fittingly named after the small town it was located in. Owned by partners H. Carl Buchan and James Lowe, this concept was more than a living, it
Home Depot and Lowe's believe in big warehouse space, an informal atmosphere and low prices. They are able to offer the lower prices to consumers due to their purchasing power. Inventory differs depending on the story type, home centers typically sock more lumber and building supplies, as their biggest customers are contractors. They pay their floor employees minimum wage, and keep overall costs down by keeping them as part time employees.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is the fourteenth largest retailer in America, and overall the world’s second largest home improvement retailer. They are the 108th ranked corporation on the Fortune 500 top corporations list. With an impressive in store stock of 40,000 home improvement items on hand, ranging from lumber to Home décor items, plus an additional 400,000 home improvement items available through a special order program. Lowe’s provides a onetime stop for all home improvement needs, for both the Do-It-Yourselfer, and the ever-expanding market of the Commercial Business Customer.
Home Depots functional strategies are in many ways similar to Lowes. However essential differences, while they are not always clear do exist between these competitors. The human resources strategy of Home Depot is more prevalent than Lowes in my estimation. Home Depot has an offering to contractors with advanced knowledge. The experience curve for employees does exist for this industry.
The first Lowe's store, Lowe's North Wilkesboro Hardware, was first opened in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina in 1921 by Lucius Smith Lowe (1879 - 1940). After Lowe died in 1940, the business was inherited by his daughter Ruth, who sold the company to her brother Jim that same year. Jim took on Carl Buchan as a partner in 1943.