By Tonya Garcia
Consumers may be preparing for spring and summer travel and events but Lowe’s Cos. Chief Executive Marvin Ellison says shoppers will keep spending on their homes.
“The home will be forever redefined by the pandemic,” Ellison told MarketWatch on Wednesday after the home improvement retailer /zigman2/quotes/205563664/composite LOW +1.54% reported fiscal first-quarter results.
Key among the ways in which the home has shifted during COVID-19 is that for many it doubles as a workspace. He doesn’t see the nation’s workers heading back to the office in the same way they did before the pandemic.
“This drives a different kind of home spend that did not occur pre-pandemic,” he said.
“That bodes well for home improvement. The more you’re home, the more wear and tear there is and the more investment you make,” whether that’s for home organizing or other items.
There are a number of other factors that Ellison says continue to bolster housing spend, among them high consumer savings, an aging housing stock, home price appreciation, and continued robust demand in the housing market.
“Consumers feel confident investing in a home,” he said.
Ellison also noted the “aging in place” trend, wherein baby boomers are hanging on to their homes and investing in modifications.
“They’re more active and independent, and want to change their homes for their changing mobility,” he said.
In November 2021, the company launched the Lowe’s Livable Home program in partnership with AARP to serve the needs of aging homeowners.
Lowe’s reported profit that beat expectations, though sales declined and fell just short of the FactSet consensus.
A challenge for the quarter was unseasonably cold and very wet weather, which delayed purchases for outdoor living, items like lawn mowers, grills and patio furniture. Three-quarters of Lowe’s business is the DIY (do it yourself ) customer, and for those shoppers, this merchandise is important, Ellison said.
This sort of hardlines merchandise were a challenge for other retailers, like Target Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207799045/composite TGT +0.81% , which reported a profit miss on Wednesday.
And unlike Walmart Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT +0.86% , Ellison says he hasn’t seen any indications that customers are trading down.