retail

The Home Depot Grows Its Own Black Friday

Planting-Flowers

The Home Depot is getting ready for its own version of Black Friday. For the second year in a row, the DIY heavyweight will roll out regional promotions that include doorbusters, as well as special pricing on lawn and garden, patio furniture, and grills.

The company launched the idea last Spring, and this year is expanding it to include 60,000 seasonal associates trained for four different weekend events, beginning this weekend. Participation varies by market and climate.

"Spring is our Christmas," Craig Menear, EVP/merchandising, says in the company's release. "We want to give consumers the best value possible to meet all of their indoor and outdoor needs." The Atlanta-based chain also says it will post Black Friday-type offers on Facebook every Friday through the end of May, and that these Facebook exclusives will include discounts of as much as 50 to 75% off.

Chains like Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears are likely hoping this year's spring results will be greener and less grim. Gardeners were still recession-wary last spring, and the latest National Gardening Association survey found that while overall participation in one or more types of do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities increased by 2% to 83 million households last year, spending dropped 18% to $363. And total retail lawn and garden sales fell 16% to $30.12 billion last year, the lowest level it has reported in over a decade.

Food gardening was the only growth segment -- up 21%, and gaining for its second year straight.

The good news, that survey says, is that declines in gardening spending were less than those in other discretionary categories, and there is still plenty of green-thumb enthusiasm: "There were many more people who increased the amount of time they spent on food gardening, lawn care, flower gardening, container gardening, and yard/landscape care than people who decreased the amount of time spent on those activities last year."

Gardeners' favorite money-saving strategies included using water wisely, buying plants on sale, growing plants from seeds, mulching landscape and garden plants, and mowing the lawn at a taller height.

The biggest casualty, it says, may be residential lawn and landscape services. "From 2006 to 2009 the amount consumers spent to hire lawn/ landscape maintenance, landscape installation/construction, landscape design, and tree care services declined by 44% from $44.7 billion in 2006 to $24.9 billion in 2009," the survey notes.

Most of the consumers in the survey say they plan to spend at least as much on their yard as last year, except in the lawn and landscape area, as well as somewhat more in food and flower gardening.

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