The marketing masochists at Home Depot (HD) are again trying to make Black Friday happen in the spring. As if one day a year of bleary-eyed shopping rugby isn’t enough. Nothing cultivates commerce like a ginned-up shopping holiday—so the thinking goes—and this one is even more random than the post-Thanksgiving scrum. Americans don’t give gifts en masse every spring, and other retailers don’t respond with similar blanket deals.
Home Depot doesn’t even hold its spring sales event on the same day, choosing to play it out over several weeks “on a market-to-market basis based on climate by geography.” Sounds festive, right? That’s like Santa canvassing the southern hemisphere in July. Still, never underestimate the American consumers’ demand for a killer patio and a lush lawn. Home Depot’s mantra: “Spring is our Christmas.” May through July is always the company’s busiest period.
There’s plenty of evidence that Home Depot’s Black Friday push will pay off handsomely this year. For one, rising home prices have spurred consumer confidence and emboldened do-it-yourselfers to tackle bigger, more expensive projects. Home Depot said purchases greater than $900 were up 5.5 percent in the recent quarter as shoppers splurged on appliances and flooring. “The housing market is in the early innings of a recovery,” Robin Diedrich, an analyst with Edward Jones, told Bloomberg. Indeed, Home Depot estimates home sales and price appreciation will add 2 percentage points to its sales growth this year.
Secondly, an unseasonably harsh winter has done a job on gutters, roofs, boilers, fences, driveways, and other expensive real estate trimmings. “The extreme winter weather in February hasn’t been our friend, but … we know firsthand that many homeowners have major repairs ahead of them,” Home Depot Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome said during a conference call with analysts this morning.
So what are the big door-busters this season? Grills—plus patio furniture, lithium-ion powered lawnmowers, and hedge-trimmers.