Hardware Retailing

APR 2011

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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TheNext R etailers of all kinds, including hardware stores and home centers, are going to find themselves facing consumers with a different mindset in the next few years, according to Doug Stephens, president of Retail Prophet Consulting, a leading Canadian futurist and scheduled speaker for the NRHA Village & All-Industry Summit at the National Hardware Show® Stephens spoke at a dealer conference sponsored by Johns Manville in Toronto earlier this year. AS BABY BOOMERS AGE AROUND THE WORLD, THEIR needs will be shifting. "People over 50 just don't need as much stuff," he explained, "but they will be thinking more about services." Smart retailers, Stephens said, will focus on making shopping easier and more enjoyable and by providing vari- ous kinds of services to supplement the goods they sell. 46 Hardware Retailing That could very well impact the very idea of store sizes, too, as the older people get, the less likely they might want to trudge the aisles of a supersized store, so smaller stores may become more popular. Already, Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is developing smaller stores called Walmart Express, and electronics giant, Best Buy, is developing a smaller format. . The first of the so-called baby boomers will reach retirement age this year, Stephens pointed out, and this means consumer buying habits for a large part of every country's population will be undergoing major changes. It will be vital for retailers to begin thinking of how they will counteract the reduced demand of aging consumers who have almost everything they need after 50 or 55—except services. Stephens pointed out that many aging consumers are thinking of downsizing their homes, moving into maintained communities, taking more trips—spending their money in different ways. From the hardware industry's standpoint, downsizing has advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantage is the need to decorate a new dwelling, install a new lawn, plant trees and flowers, which bodes well for decorating and lawn and garden departments, though some of the work may not be done by the baby-boomers themselves but rather by hired help. Thus it becomes vital that retailers also more aggressive- ly court the business of service-providers such as gardeners, painters, decorators, etc. www.nrha.org April 2011 CONSUMERTRENDS

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