Proving that the pet products segment of the economy may be one of the strongest coming out of the pandemic, the giant home improvement chain Lowe’s announced it was hooking up with Petco to put shop-in-shops into its stores.
For the two brands, the combo seems at first to be a bit of a disconnect but in fact Lowe’s research shows a real symmetry between home improvement projects and pet ownership, both of which have boomed during the stay-at-home Covid era and seem to be continuing even as consumers start to emerge from their two-year hibernations.
The first Lowe’s+Petco store-in-store is set to debut in the San Antonio suburb of Alamo Ranch in early February and the retailer said it expects to have 14 additional locations elsewhere in Texas, as well as North and South Carolina open by the end of March.
The departments, the sizes of which were not disclosed, will offer pet food, grooming products and supplies and in keeping with the general trend for retailers to offer services will also feature mobile grooming and clinics at selected times. Lowe’s stores already sell some pet-related items such as beds, cleaning products and in-home items like pet doors.
Lowe’s research showed a connection for millennial and gen Z customers when it came to housing preferences that included pet-friendly layouts and environments. It said “58% of all pet owners say they’re more likely to shop a store that offers both home improvement and pet products.”
MORE FOR YOU
Of course, the Lowe’s-Petco mash-up will compete with big national discounters such as Walmart and Target that already feature home improvement products as well as pet goods, though selections of the former are obviously more limited than what a typical Lowe’s store would have. The company’s main competitor, Home Depot, also sells pet products, though they are more to do with supplies and outdoor items like birdhouses than with food or grooming.
But this new initiative between these two retail giants clearly ups the ante in the category. “For many of our customers, their pets and their homes top the list of things that matter most, especially after two years spent mostly together within the same four walls,” said Bill Boltz, Lowe’s executive vice president of merchandising. “This partnership enhances the total home solution we offer them by bringing home improvement and pet care products, services and expertise together under one roof.”
Lowe’s operates about 2,200 stores in North America while Petco has about 1,500, so should this pairing catch on there would appear to be much upside potential for both chains. Talk about building out a project.