The Nuts and Bolts: May 29, 2013

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A little DIY, FYI…

Home Improvement Stores Head to… Afghanistan?

Ace Hardware plans to open 15 stores in Afghanistan, offering a new generation of Afghans the option to DIY their projects. In the past, many Afghans would hire cheap yet skilled labor due to high unemployment rates. With a younger and more hands-on generation coming of age, Ace Hardware looks to offer the tools and supplies to support DIY.

“At Ace Hardware International, we consistently provide our international retail licensees with ideal retail success elements, starting with a globally recognized brand, operational flexibility, market exclusivity and a global distribution network,” said Alberto Vidal, Ace Hardware International business development director (

With the ability to purchase product categories tailored to international retailers from nearby suppliers, shipping supplies into Afghanistan won’t be a lengthy and difficult task. The first Ace Hardware store will open in Mazar-e Sharif, with second planned for Kabul later this year.

Study Shows 70 Percent of Americans DIY It

An interesting report has been released showing that 70% of Americans prefer the do-it-yourself route when making home improvements! One key factor given in this increase is the power of social media – allowing home owners to access professionals and how-to guides quickly and hassle free. conducted a survey showing that “homeowners planning their next improvement project the top five areas they plan to focus on are: garden or landscaping (22%); bathroom (14%); kitchen (12%); family/living room (12%); and deck or patio (11%).” The study goes on to highlight that “35% of Americans spend between $1,000-$4,999 on projects; 23% spend less than $500; 22% spend between $500-$999; and 12% spend more than $5,000 annually.”

This is an exciting report and points to the continual growth of the do-it-yourself spirit sweeping home owners everywhere.

Hardware Supply Store Q1 Battle Ends

The battle between hardware stores for Q1 has ended showing The Home Depot came out on top, ending the quarter with sales of $19.1 billion, up 7.4 percent year over year. Net earnings were $1.2 billion, up from $1 billion for the same period in 2012.

Lowe’s came in second with reported net earnings of $540 million, up 2.5 percent year over year - down 0.5 percent to $13.1 billion from $13.2 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

The climate was cited as a key influence in the earnings for both hardware stores. "Last year, weather was very warm in the first quarter and drove garden sales. This year was a chilly, wet spring, so spring started very late," said Robin Diedrich, senior consumer analyst at investment firm EdwardJones, as reported by ( Diedrich went on to explain that “Home Depot tends to have more of the professional market — more contractors as a percentage of their mix. Lowe's has more do-it-yourself customers. That has been favorable to Home Depot as the housing market is improving and people are spending on bigger projects in the home."