Lowe’s Sees No Let Up in Appliance Demand

Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison said the big-box chain is experiencing sales increases across nearly every product category as stuck-at-home consumers take on home improvement projects and purchase additional appliances.

In an interview with CNBC, the former JCPenney and Home Depot exec said customers are snatching up refrigerators and freezers as they stock-up on food, and some are buying new water heaters as homes fill up with kids grounded from college.

Lowe’s, as well as Home Depot and Menards, have a temporary advantage over some BrandSource dealers in that most shelter-at-home states have classified home improvement chains as “essential businesses.”

Nonetheless, even with the sales gains, Ellison is reluctant to forecast long-term business trends.

“What could be up double digits this week or this month, could be down because of the fluid nature of this,” he told CNBC.

Ellison added that his stores are taking a host of preventive measures in light of the contagion, including announcements and signs reminding customers to stay six feet apart; the use of mobile checkout to thin counter queues; front door or in-garage deliveries; and questioning the health of households before performing in-home installations.

Lowe’s is also extending emergency paid leave for up to four weeks for susceptible employees, Ellison said, and is providing appreciation bonuses of $300 and $150 to full- and part-time workers, respectively.