CHICAGO — Does hardware have a softer side? Home Depot thinks so. It is testing a warm-and-fuzzy approach to selling hammers, lighting and garage doors that is targeted at female shoppers.
Responding to long-time criticism that its warehouse environment was simply too rough for many women, the nation's largest do-it-yourself retailer is set to open the two test stores, called Home Depot Design Centers, later this month in Charlotte, N.C., and Concord, Calif.
They're fashioned as a hybrid of the typical Home Depot (HD) store and its Expo stores, the retailer's upscale design-studio concept.
Jason Feldman, the company's senior director of merchandising, described the stores as a test — "to romance and wow the customer."
Meeting in Home Depot’s corporate office:
Boss man: What are we doing wrong, ya’ll? Women love shopping and they love home décor. This should be a no-brainer for the world’s number two retailer. Any ideas? Simmons, wow me.
Simmons: Uh. We could offset some of our orange aprons with pink trim?
Boss man: That’s ridiculous. Take a lap. Murphy, go.
Murphy: We could get Burberry to make leather tool bags.
Boss man: Not a bad idea. Someone mark that one down. Fielding, what’s on your mind?
Fielding: Well we already sell nails, we could also start doing nails.
Boss man: Crazy and not so crazy that it just might work. 20 pushups and not girl pushups. Bloom, lay it on me.
Bloom: Shirtless Chippendales dancers?
Boss man: Bloom, that’s your solution for everything. Scott, make it good.
Scott: Why don’t we just make the stores cleaner and less…rough. Maybe throw in some softer lighting and does everything have to be made of uncovered metal?
Boss man: OK. Good start. Everyone take five, we’ll regroup after paintball.
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