Home and gardening specialists have lagged behind other retailers in the development of their online operations, with such players failing to invest significantly in internet retailing activity that continues to lack user-friendliness and look old-fashioned. One reason for this lack of investment may be that many home and garden specialist stores are located in areas with high levels of elderly consumers who are less likely to shop online than metropolitan consumers.
With increasing pressure on sales to consumers in a declining, ageing population, some home centres are focusing on developing professional sales. Some stores are exclusively targeting professional customers, while some have dedicated specific areas within outlets to professionals.
Large chained home and garden specialist retailers are increasingly focusing on the development of private label, with such products dominating the offer in areas such as towels, plastic storage boxes and stove top cookware. Private label offers advantages such as simpler distribution and competitive pricing capable of attracting consumers, as well as the capacity to use retailers’ experience of evolving demand to target consumer trends through product development.
As the private label segment evolves, product design is becoming more sophisticated. Cainz, the second largest player in home and garden specialist retailers, has notably won design awards for its private label products.
Another way in which Cainz is working to develop its operations in response to changing market conditions is the targeting of urban areas. The company opened an urban-style outlet named, Style Factory, not far from Nagoya Station in 2017 and another one in Nagoya City in 2018.
Nitori witnessed strong growth in terms of both value sales and outlet numbers in 2018, while rivals struggled. The company holds a strong lead in homewares and home furnishings, which it extended even further in the final year of the review period.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.