Stock

: Lowes makes a much bigger sport for professionals with the introduction of latest facilities

Lowes Cos.
LOW,
-0.46%Inc.
unveiled a number of benefits for its professional customers, including a dedicated Pro Zone to make items in high demand more accessible, free phone charging points and flexible credit.

The store's staff have also been equipped with technology to enhance the shopping experience for home improvement and construction professionals.

Lowe’s has been increasingly focused on the professional marketplace over the past few years, introducing more items that meet the needs of a professional customer, and launching the Lowe’s for Pros loyalty program in 2020.

With shoppers staying near their homes during COVID-19, many shifted their spending from experiences to goods, especially those that would make the home more comfortable and functional. Lowes, Home Depot Inc.
HD,
-0.12%,
Walmart Inc.
WMT,
-0.31%
and other "substantial" retailers have benefited.

While there are concerns that businesses that have done well in 2020 will see declines as consumers venture and shift their spending again, there is confidence that home-related businesses will continue to do well.

Read: "Suburban Sprawl" will continue to benefit luxury furniture retailer RH: Cowen

And: Home Remodeling Trends: What's In And What's Out For 2021?

“We see the housing sector, the home improvement sector, still very foamy at the moment, in the sense that demand across categories and geographic markets remains robust. We continue to see interest rates even though they are rising relatively to historic lows, ”said David Denton, Lowe's chief financial officer, during the UBS Global Consumer and Retail Virtual Conference last month, according to FactSet.

"We see the consumer balance as pretty healthy, still a high savings rate from the consumer's point of view, so cash is piling up in consumers' bank accounts."

And now that there is a certain distance between now and the start of COVID-19, during which buyers wanted to isolate themselves as much as possible, work with professionals can take place.

"When the pandemic started, consumers didn't want anyone in their home," Bill Boltz, executive vice president of merchandising at Lowe, told MarketWatch.

Over time, Boltz said consumers were more comfortable handling these larger projects.

Clock: COVID-19 could accelerate these three trends in real estate

"External projects like decks now have priority and are more convenient when an installer is at home."

During the fourth quarter earnings announcement, Lowe said do-it-yourself benchmark sales "outperformed" professional benchmarks, but pro business was still in the mid-range of 20% for the quarter and nearly 20% for the year.

With so much uncertainty in the retail landscape, Boltz said the company is trying to control what it can, and the company's data shows that 90% of respondents who took on one project last year have plans to take on another this year .

In addition, professionals report that "their bookings are full".

"We know we still have plenty of room for growth both online and in-store," said Boltz.

The market is very fragmented, there is a lot of share to be had … There are many parts in motion and it is early innings when it comes to being relevant to the pros. "

Lowe's stock is up 24.4% year-to-date, more than doubling 101.6% year over year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average benchmark
DJIA,
-0.20%
has increased by 10% so far for 2021.

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