Home Depot Launches Consumer Catalog

Hardware retailing giant Home Depot in November dropped its first consumer catalog. The Atlanta-based company mailed 5 million copies of a 68-page holiday book to a combination of customers and prospects. The title sells more than 250 gift and home items, ranging from power tools to toys and books for children.

Toys? Yes, it seems that Home Depot is not just for hardware anymore. Through consumer research and trend analysis, the company has found that its customers have taken a keener interest in buying home-oriented gifts for friends and family.

As such, the company wants people to think of Home Depot as more than just a source for toilet seats and sanders, says Shelley Nandkeolyar, the company’s vice president, interactive marketing and e-business. “We want consumers to think of us as a gift destination,” he says. Hence the inclusion of such items as the Kids’ Electronic Workbench and a toolkit in a carrying case designed to look like a football. About 30% of the catalog items are not available in all Home Depot stores, Nandkeolyar, says, but seasonal catalog products, such as grills, hammocks, and retractable hose reels, will make it to the stores by the spring.

Home Depot does not have definite plans for additional editions of the catalog; it is waiting to gauge response. “It’s too early to know right now,” Nandkeolyar, says but he notes that “our strategy will likely leverage opportunities with direct marketing.”

The retailer, which also owns Maintenance Warehouse, a cataloger of commercial building maintenance supplies, in early December announced plans to buy Sterling, VA-based Economy Maintenance Supply Co., a wholesaler of maintenance, repair and operations products. Economy Maintenance will become a part of Maintenance Warehouse.

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