Any more info on lowes consolidating it's inventory?

if anyone has been paroosing deal sites like garage journal or slickdeals you will have noticed a TON of lowes clearance deals. after some googling I found out that the ceo is trying to streamline their inventory. I was just wondering if anyone has any insight or thoughts about this. In my local at least it seems like lowes is failing. when you go to the homedepot 2 blocks away it’s parking lot is always much more full and it’s overheads are packed full of merch (lowes top shelves are empty) which indicates a faster sell through of inventory. so i am curious how they are looking to everyone else.

I think Lowes is going through an identity crisis of sorts. I am jnsure if they want to be a full on builders/remodelers store that also serves the home diy crowd or whether they are trying to be more homeowner oriented and a little more specialised in home decor materials. Our local stores seem to do okay but who knows?

If they are going leaner like I have seen articles suggesting, then they had better have unique and usefull lines of tools and materials you don’t see elsehwere. Being Home Depot lite is no recipe for success. I think they were attempting this with the addition of the Orchards hardware stores but that didn’t last long at all. I wonder if they are going to depend more upon internet sales for the hard goods like tools, hardware, and items under four feet and 100 pounds and then thin down the building materials at the stores? I really don’t want to see them go away as they are a nice option to our local HD and Menard’s.

In my area of the east coast, HD outnumbers Lowes by an easy 3:1. But the ridiculous thing is that Lowes always seems to be in an area that there is already a HD. Rarely do you see a Lowes all by itself. They just don’t seem to have a solid business plan. Limiting inventory isn’t going to help if your competitor is better in every other regard.

The inventory that you carry on your books can be a drag - especially if a larger than expected percentage of it sell so poorly or slow that you need to liquidate it at clearance prices. In today’s world of internet sales - cross-docking has gained new meaning and value - allowing you to carry less inventory in a bricks and mortar store - but have many items available for relatively quick turn-around from your warehouse or (even better) the manufacturer to your customer or the store for customer pick-up, Its a balancing game - keeping enough inventory in a store to attract customer traffic and both planned and impulse buys - but not being so overstocked to have inventory costs soar.

Profitability can be a tricky business. There was an old vaudeville skit - where 2 partners were buying watermelons in the south, trucking them up north and reselling them. They talked on stage about how they seemed to be losing money - buying the melons at 15 cents a pound - but only being able to sell them at 12 cents a pound. After a bit of pondering - one partner proclaimed that he had the answer: they needed a bigger truck!

1 Like

Lowes has a lot of challenges ahead. Figuring out which one of them is in their critical path is probably the hard part. Corporations often start by changing up their management, whose first action is to do something different. Many times that only wastes more money and digs the hole deeper, until they rinse and repeat the management shake up in 2 years.

My own observations, the pros flock to HD, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Lowes. Lowes knows this is a problem and the pros spend a lot of more every week, so catering toward these folks is critical. The HD locations seem better placed. Yes, Lowes is usually within 1-2 miles (or not at all). Online shopping experience with HD is better. I can quickly search for stores that have inventory and see quantity on hand. Anything less than 10 I usually avoid because the quantity is not real time (and there are errors). Lowes, I have to search one store at a time to see the same information. My last visit to Lowes looking for sheet goods I found the finish grade stuff was cheap junk and the plywood sheathing was 10% more than HD. HD had some cheap Ecuador stuff that should be avoided, but they have some better/passable Columbia plywood for my cabinets and their sheathing was a little cheaper for my attic floor. My local Lowes discontinued their truck rental for some time and brought in an outside rental company (Hertz?) for a time. It was more expensive and time consuming to get a rental there. They recently reversed course and brought back ONE pickup truck, open bed, smaller capacity. My local HD’s have 3-4 trucks in rotation with different configurations, my info is on file, they just re-verify the paperwork and get me out in 5 minutes if there is nobody in line at the rental counter. Speaking of rental counter, there is none at Lowes. It’s rare that I rent vs buy but sometimes buying a tool you know you’ll only need once or twice makes no sense.

This summer I had a refrigerator delivered from Lowes. They contracted to XPO Logistics, who (despite text and voicemail reminders to me) blew their delivery window by 6 hours. That left a sour taste. They also brought me a fridge with some cosmetic damage which they would have seen when they loaded it on the truck. Not having a working fridge at the time, I had little choice if this one turned on (it did). So I had to follow up with the store manager to get replacement parts. He offered an apology over ther delivery, but it was contracted out and apparently he has little control over how they schedule deliveries and he admitted they over estimate how quickly they can travel through highly populated areas during rush hour. I’ve never ordered an appliance from HD, so I can’t compare that experience.

If Lowes thinks thinning out their inventory will help, take the discounts and run! I picked up a few Knipex when they dumped the line to fill the shelves with more Chinese junk. But overall, I think they just don’t understand how they can make a pro/DIYer’s experience better while still delivering quality. And don’t get me wrong, I have my critiques of HD as well. Lowes seems to fail in the same areas (which is an opportunity they don’t take advantage of). Until I see them addressing some of my own observations, I will deem all the talk as more management fluff. I’ll take any discount they give me, but HD usually ends up being more convenient for me.

I don’t see Lowe’s selling online. They seem not to be able to ship or store pickup if the local store is out of stock.

I have two Lowe’s within reasonable driving distance and a Menard’s was recently built within a few miles of one of them. Part of the reason is that there are limited places to build and it’s not easy to get a big box store of any kind built. So, sometimes the Lowe’s is built first.

I hope they continue as I’ve gotten some good things there at good prices. Now they are trying the new Craftsman line, and that’s possibly why they are clearing out inventory. If they discontinue the Kobalt line of power tools for Craftsman it will be a bad sign, IMHO.