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Dana French

Sales grow at top big box retailers

The Top 5 big box retailers together recorded 2006 outdoor furniture sales of $1.61 billion, an increase of 3.7% from $1.55 billion for the same companies in 2005. The Top 5 sold outdoor furniture through 9,464 stores in 2006, up a net 435 doors from 9,029 in 2005.

Wal-Mart remains in the undisputed No. 1 position, with 2006 outdoor furniture sales of $608 million. America's largest retailer opened a net of 142 stores last year.

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe's posted the highest sales gain in outdoor furniture sales last year. No. 3 Lowe's saw its sales from outdoor furniture increase 11% to $322 million, the highest of any Top 5 retailer, and opened a net of 151 doors in 2006.

Minneapolis-based Target climbed into the No. 4 spot this year displacing Kmart from that position. No. 4 Target recorded outdoor furniture sales of $170 million, up 3% from $165 million in 2005 and opened a net of 91 doors last year.

Rank Rank Estimated outdoor furniture sales in millions Percent change Number of Stores
2006 2005 Company, headquarters 2006 2005 2005 to 2006 2006 2005
All data for calendar year ending Dec. 31 or fiscal year-end closest to that date. Source: Casual Living market research
1 1 Wal-Mart, Bentonville, Ark. $608 $590 3.1% 3,331 3,189
Fiscal year ended Jan 31. Sales and store counts are for U.S. stores only, including discount and supercenter stores and exclude Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations. Also sells outdoor furniture online. Opened 15 new discount stores and closed two last year and opened 276 supercenters, including 147 discount conversions to supercenters. Plans to open 190 to 200 supercenters this year, followed by 170 in 2008. Comp store sales increased 2.0% in 2006. Total 2006 sales were $226.3 billion, up 7.8% from $209.9 billion in 2005. For the first quarter ended April 30, Wal-Mart Store sales were $55.4 billion, up 5.6% from $52.5 billion in the first quarter of 2006. Comp store sales decreased 0.1% for the first quarter. www.walmart.com
2 2 Home Depot, Atlanta $345 $335 3.0% 1,872 1,793
Fiscal year ended Jan. 28. Opened 86 new stores, including eight relocations during 2006. Also sells outdoor furniture through its Home Depot Direct catalog division and online. Launched an expanded outdoor living assortment in 2006, including a Hampton Bay patio line. Debuted a smaller store model at two stores in the Bay Area in April. These "Yardbird" stores, between 35,000 and 50,000 square feet, are expected to compete with hardware chains of True Value and Ace Hardware. A priority for 2007 is to hire more knowledgeable associates. Retail comp store sales declined 2.8% last year, driven by a decline in comp store customer transactions. Average ticket sales increased 1.6% in 2006. Total retail sales were $79 billion in 2006, up 2.6% from $77 billion in 2005. For the first quarter ended April 29, retail sales declined 4.3% to $18.5 billion and comp store sales declined 7.6%. www.homedepot.com
3 3 Lowe's, Mooresville, N.C. $322 $290 11.0% 1,385 1,234
Fiscal year ended Feb. 2. Opened 155 stores in 2006 including four relocations. Also sells outdoor furniture online and through its catalog. New stores include a 117,000-sq.-ft. prototype for large markets and a 94,000-sq.-ft. store for smaller markets. Plans to expand into Toronto during the second half of 2007 with five or six stores and into Monterrey, Mexico, in 2009 with three to five stores. Comp store sales were flat in 2006. Total 2006 sales were $46.9 billion, up 8.5% from $43.2 billion in 2005. For the first quarter ended May 4, sales were $12.2 billion, up 2.1% from $11.9 billion in the first quarter of 2006. Comp store sales for the first quarter declined 6.3%. www.lowes.com
5 5 Target, Minneapolis $170 $165 3.0% 1,488 1,397
Fiscal year ended Feb. 3. Opened 94 new Target Stores and 19 new SuperTargets in 2006 and closed 22 stores, including 18 store relocations in the same trade area. Plans to open 100 Target stores this year, including 30 to 35 new SuperTarget stores. Also sells outdoor furniture online. Launched on its Web site last year "Find-it-at-a-Target-store," a feature which allows customers to confirm product availability at their local store. Comp store sales increased 4.8% last year. Home furnishings and decor, including outdoor furniture, accounted for 19% of 2006 total sales, down from 20% in 2005. Total 2006 sales were $57.9 million, up 12.9% from $51.3 billion in 2005. For the first quarter ended May 5, sales were $13.6 billion, up 9.0% from $12.5 billion in the first quarter of 2006. Comp store sales were up 4.3% for the first quarter. www.target.com
4 4 Kmart, Hoffman Estates, Ill. $168 $175 -4.0% 1,388 1,416
Fiscal year ended Feb 3. Part of publicly held Sears Holdings Corp. Merged with Sears to form one company in March 2005. At fiscal year end operated 1,333 discount stores and 55 supercenters in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also sells outdoor furniture online. Features its Martha Stewart Everyday patio line. Closed a net of 28 stores last year. Remodeled about 200 stores in 2006, making them more customer friendly and easier to navigate. Introduced an animated spokes-character, "Mr. Bluelight," its first integrated marketing campaign since 2003. Comp store sales declined 0.6% last year. Total 2006 sales were $18.6 billion, down 2.3% from $19.1 billion in 2005. Comp store sales for the first quarter ended May 5 declined 4.4%. www.kmart.com


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