At Orchard Supply, two robots hit the floor

Lowe’s Innovation Labs will introduce two autonomous retail service robots in an Orchard Supply Hardware store in midtown San Jose, California, during the upcoming holiday season to study how robotics technology can benefit customers and employees. Called OSHbot, the robots will assist customers to navigate stores by directing them to specific products and providing real-time information about product promotions and inventory.

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Home Depot Names Mark Powers EVP U.S. Stores

The Home Depot promoted Marc Powers to the role of EVP U.S. Stores, effective Nov. 1, 2014.

“Marc brings a deep understanding of our operations, culture and customers, making him an ideal fit to oversee our U.S. stores,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. “We’re truly fortunate to have such a deep bench with leaders like Marc.”

Powers will transition from his current role as SVP operations, U.S. Stores, which has put him in charge of store operations and customer service programs for the retailer’s nearly 2,000 U.S. stores. He began working for The Home Depot as a store associate in 1986.

In his new role, he will be charged with leading the company’s three U.S. operating divisions, as well as Pro, Tool Rental and Home Depot’s installation business.

Powers replaces Marvin Ellison, who left Home Depot to join J.C. Penney in a role that will eventually put him in the CEO post.

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Ace Hardware Profits in a Home Depot World

Ace Hardware Corp., a 90-year-old co-op that oversees nearly 5,000 locally owned hardware stores, never would be mistaken for trendy. But its recent growth proves the adage that everything old eventually becomes fashionable again.

“We are a service-based, high-touch, local business,” says John Venhuizen, CEO of the Oak Brook-based chain. “The shop-local trend is one that has served us well.”

So, too, has the small-box movement, in which recession-chastened retailers began shrinking their store footprints. Except for a failed experiment with a few larger locations in the mid-2000s, Ace always has focused on modest stores. Its average footprint is about 8,000 square feet, a mere couple of aisles in a typical 100,000-square-foot Home Depot. A healthier housing market and a slew of American homeowners empowered by low interest rates certainly don’t hurt, either.

Sitting on the sunny side of retail trends helped propel Ace to record profit and sales in 2013. Net income increased almost 28 percent to $104.5 million as revenue rose 8 percent to $4.15 billion.

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Lowe’s realigns senior leadership team

Lowe’s has announced a realignment of its leadership team to “more sharply focus the company on strategies to create and deliver seamless customer experiences.” Seamless retail across the brick and mortar and digital channels is a major focus of the retailer’s strategy.

The retailer moved its executives into two teams: the Customer Experience organization, which will create customer experiences to differentiate Lowe’s from competitors, and the Operations organization, focused on delivering the customer experience.

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Home Depot Opens Big-Format Store

Home Depot has opened a 211,000-sq.-ft. “superstore” in Anaheim Hills, Calif., which it describes as “almost twice the size of [a] regular Home Depot.” The unit, situated in an affluent area of Orange County, is an existing store that was remodeled. Among the changes are:

• Expanded bath fixture showroom, including a “shower gallery;”
• More kitchen cabinet options;
• Weber grill showroom;
• Year-round outdoor living showroom;
• Expanded appliance showroom with lifestyle vignettes;
• Expanded hard surface flooring and rug selection;
• Expanded decor showroom; and
• Expanded hardware department

(As reported by Home Channel News) Read the article

Home Depot builds on pros

Here’s the compelling math behind The Home Depot’s effort to embrace the pro customer: Pros account for 4% of total Home Depot customers and 30% of total Home Depot sales.

Clearly, these are customers that the world’s largest home improvement retailer wants to impress. The Home Depot has known for years the importance of its pro customer, but something’s different at Home Depot these days, and the difference begins with three little words: “First for Pro.”

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Orchard’s super hardware strategy

Orchard Supply Hardware has gone through a lot of changes in its 80-year history, but the California chain — now numbering 89 units with $660.7 million in annual sales — has weathered them all. Changes in ownership, leadership, store design, color scheme and signage have come and gone. But the stores’ customers — known for their exceptional loyalty — have generally stuck with the chain.

In March 2011, Orchard’s majority owner, Sears Holdings, announced that Orchard had hired Mark Baker as its new chief executive. Baker’s curriculum vitae — former head merchant for Home Depot and, more recently, president and COO of Scotts Miracle-Gro — has observers expecting big-league initiatives from the California company. Baker had only been on the job for a few weeks when he hired Steve Mahurin, the former chief merchandising officer at True Value and another former Home Depot executive, as his head merchant.

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(As reported by

Home Depot begins major expansion on Dallas DC

Home Depot has begun construction on a 1.18 million-sq.-ft. warehouse in South Dallas, according to an article in the Dallas Business Journal.

The $20 million expansion will add to Home Depot’s 531,000 sq. ft. of distribution space in South Dallas and includes tenant improvements and real property. The Atlanta retailer’s warehouse has been located at the leased site since 2007.

Construction is scheduled for completion in 2012. An estimated 250 jobs will result from the expansion, according to city documents.

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(As reported by

Home Depot posts another quarter of growth

Stormy weather around the country had something to do with Home Depot’s third quarter sales gain of 2.9%. So did strength in core categories.

The world’s largest home improvement retailer posted a 4.2% comp-store sales gain for the quarter ended Oct. 30. Total sales increased 2.9% to $17.326 billion. And even bigger growth came in the net earnings column, where Home Depot reported a 13.0% increase and net earnings of $934 million.

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(As reported by

99 Cents Only has big store plans, 2Q comps up 6.7%

A strong earnings and sales performance during its fiscal second quarter gave 99 Cents Only Stores the confidence to raise its full year guidance and become more aggressive with store growth. The company reported that total retail sales increased 9% to $352.2 million and same-store sales increased 6.7% for the second quarter. Consolidated net income increased by $2.2 million to $15.1 million or 21 cents per diluted share, versus $12.9 million in the prior year, or 18 cents per diluted share.

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(As reported in