US Retailers See Signs of Stabilisation

Some good news from the Financial Times:

Home Depot, the second largest US retailer by sales, expressed guarded optimism on Tuesday over the stabilisation of the US housing market, but cautioned that its store sales results were still in ‘less bad’ rather than positive territory.

The home improvement retailer said that sales in 36 of its top 40 markets showed sequential improvements in comparable sales at the end of its third quarter, on a rolling six-week average basis. It also said it was continuing to see signs of stabilisation in sales in California, Florida and Arizona.

Frank Blake, chief executive, also welcomed the fact that the percentage of US GDP devoted to private fixed residential investment (PFRI) also remained flat, rather than falling during the third quarter – data the company has used as an indicator of overall health of its customers.

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48 Responses to “US Retailers See Signs of Stabilisation”


  1. 1 Deb Snyder November 17, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    I would really hope that the grammatically incorrect statement of “less bad” was not used. But that is neither here nor there. What the article is saying is that Home Depot feels that the worst of the housing crisis is over and that people are starting to, once again, make improvements to their homes.

    I don’t know that I agree with that. It could be, on a national level, that sales are in fact “less bad” than they were, and that San Francisco and the Bay Area are not in the 36 markets that have started to turn around. The Home Depot in San Rafael, according to a contractor friend of mine, is still a ghost town, and construction, both new housing starts and remodels, are still off considerably. I would also have to look at the fact that on my street, just this week, two houses were repossessed. The people moved out in the middle of the night, the houses are trashed, and will be going up for auction in the next couple of weeks.

    As much as I would like to say that the economy is improving, I am more inclined to look at how many homes are still being repossed than an incremental increase in the rolling average in overall Home Depot sales.

  2. 2 Mike Beretta November 17, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    I agree. I know more and more people who are having to leave their homes due to repossession. Two of the Home Depots in the east bay have closed down due to the lack of construction and even people just trying to keep up their homes. My cousing is in new housing construction and he barely has a job. Loew’s is in the same trouble, with little business to keep their employees working. I don’t think the housing market has stabilized. There are plenty of houses that aren’t selling or are being repossessed. The unemployment figures haven’t stabilized so why would the housing market? If there is any stabilization, it probably comes from those individuals who can wait out the market and buy low.

  3. 3 Matthew Abang November 19, 2009 at 7:57 AM

    Home Depot should be glad that they are doing better. People don’t seem to do too much remodeling during tough economic times. Of course, if you need to do work on your house, then Home Depot is the place to go. They usually have pretty good prices and a wide selection of products. It’s true that Lowe’s is also having trouble keeping workers in business. The recession is far from over. It is hard to see signs of recovery. It will be interesting to see how retailers do over the next few weeks.

  4. 4 Alex Stauffer November 20, 2009 at 11:27 AM

    Thank goodness for one thing. It’s good to hear and see that the real estate market is picking up slowly but surely. Because we are students in college and don’t own homes or even in the market to buy a home it’s hard for us to realize the impact the real estate market has on everything. But my mom is a real estate agent for Sotheby’s International and we have definitely seen a hit from the economy. From the little rise in real estate it seems that Home Depot has started to see a rise in their revenue as well. Which makes sense more people are putting more money into their homes to sell, or after purchase. I am confident that this recession will work itself out, America always does.

  5. 5 Yolly T. November 20, 2009 at 2:36 PM

    I’m glad to hear that Home Depot is doing a little better. Which means the the real estate market is improving or that people are starting to spend money which also generates more money for those who work. Its a very good cycle. If the pace picks up then maybe just maybe the recession will improve at a quicker pace.

  6. 6 Jennifer Tarbell November 20, 2009 at 11:04 PM

    Today we live in a economie where we cant afford to move up or buy bigger and better so we muct improve and work with what we got. My parents are spilling money into home depot right now as my house is currently undergoing remodeling. people cant afford to spend frivilously and are realising that its time to start down sizing and cutting back. more power to the average joe companies.

  7. 7 Carling November 21, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    I feel like this make sense. My neighbors back at home start a remodel a couple years ago. They had workers in their house 24/7 trying to get everything finished. When the recession took its toll they had to stop paying other people to finish it, and do it their selves. They found that in their situation all the “hard” work had been done and all they needed to do was put on the finishing touches. They went to Home Depot and bought all their supplies. When the couple was asked about their project they said it was a lot of work but it was cheaper for them to do it themselves than pay someone to fix up the house plus labor.

  8. 8 Ciara Pedroncelli November 26, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    I think people need to be optimistic with what is slowly happening to the country. Yes, there are homes that are still being repossessed and there are still people losing jobs but everything takes time. The fact that Home Depot has seen improvement, especially in states like California and Florida who have been hit by the recession the hardest, is a good sign. People wanting to improve their homes and their lives means people feel like things are getting better. Plus, improvements again mean that the housing market is very slowly beginning to pick up again. Everyone just needs to remember that things like this take time!

  9. 9 Anna Hernandez November 28, 2009 at 8:06 PM

    black friday was meant to be the answer to a retailer’s prayers this year. it was, somewhat; however, the losses exceed the gains from this weekend but it is a move in the right direction to improve the economy.

    the reason why home improvement retailers were doing so poorly is because of the housing market. people were losing their homes and were no longer in need of repairing homes they were about to lose or knew they could possibly lose. all business, though, have been affected by the housing market. families have held back on groceries, clothing, entertainment, and transportation because these are miniscule luxuries compared to that of owning a home. unfortunately, no matter how much families may attempt to hold back on bills it is very difficult to avoid losing a home.

  10. 10 Nubia Cazares November 29, 2009 at 12:26 AM

    I am definitely glad Home Depot is doing better because that means people are spending and the economy is will eventually rise. The idea of real estate stabilizing is great becaues that means less people are losing their homes. Although many people might argue that this might be a bad thing or wont necessarily make a difference. But it actually does,Home Depot is an example of the economy getting better.
    People are buying more from home depot which means more homes are being remodeled. This then means that there are not only less people losing their homes but real estate will rise once again. Especially after the huge loss that hit California, this is a definite plus for our economy.

  11. 11 Maria Rogan November 29, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    The economy is hurting so bad right now that Home Depot should be happy about doing better that it was before. Obviously many people do not remodel during hard economic times, therefore the fact that Home Depot is doing okay is a good thing. Also, because Home Depot is doing well, it must mean that some people are also doing better in regards to money. More people must be buying things they need even with the bad economy. So I think this article shows that not only is Home Depot doing better in business, but people are doing okay as well.

  12. 12 Genine Lobo November 29, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Although is it good hearing that stores such a the Home Depot are doing “less bad,” it would be much better hearing they are in the positive range. We must take into account home improvement efforts are usually not at the top of families priorities so it definitely is a good thing that the Home Depot is no longer on the negative side. A turn around will take time…and we all hope it comes come around soon!

  13. 13 Vince Kaehler November 30, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    due to it being the holiday season, it makes sense that retailers are stabilizing. It is good to see Home Depot is doing better but how is the real estate market?. I believe that the holiday season will be good for the retailers (it always is), so what is all the hype for? If houses were selling well then that would be a different story.

  14. 14 Fr,K November 30, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    People putting their money back into the economy is what we need. This wasn’t a report on how the housing market is doing, it’s about retailers; however since it is Home Depot I guess the two are somewhat connected. The fact that the populous is starting to feel secure enough to spend their money is excellent, and we will eventually see that in California. Home Depot being in the “less bad” sales area is better than being in the “bad” area. At least consumers are spending, and putting money towards the homes to try and raise the value.

  15. 15 Kathryn Koller December 1, 2009 at 1:32 AM

    Home Depot equals home improvement and building. And if Home Depots are doing well and improving then thats great! I thought i had heard construction was down, but why else would Home Depots randomly be doing well. I don’t know this is good news because it’s just not one Home Depot it’s several all around the u.s. So we are slowing getting out of this. People are starting to put money into their houses which puts money back into the economy which may raise the real estate market because houses are looking nice. All i see is positives. Yay for home depot.

  16. 16 Cole Norton December 1, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    I would not say necessarily say that the worst is over. The government’s tax credit for mortgage-backed houses is set to expire this April. When this happens, the government will stop taking these mortgage backed houses, and the housing market will have to survive with very little government help. The housing market, right now, according to the Wall Street Journal is still expected to take over 10 months to recover considering there are over 1.5 million houses on the market currently. The housing market will not improve until the economy can bring back enough jobs to sustain a housing market.

  17. 17 Jacqueline Guerrero December 1, 2009 at 3:49 PM

    I think that it is a good think that U.S retailers are seeing and improvement. Especially in the states that are effected most by this economic crisis, such as Califonia and Florida. These improvements mean that consumers are buying goods which then stabilizes our economy. Although it will take some time, hopefully this trend that retailers are experiencing will continue.

  18. 18 eldiel December 2, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Well the fact that Home Depot is doing better is a sign that more people have the money to renovate houses, complete unfinished projects, etc. The article states that it is still bad though, just not as bad. Improvement and not decline is definitely a good thing to hear as it is a step in the right direction. Hopefully more and more people can start rebuilding to kick start the housing markets again.

  19. 19 nicholas joy December 2, 2009 at 7:50 PM

    home depot sales are good because home depot connects to retail, real estate markets, and construction three areas that were hit very hard during the recession and now appear to be on the mend. but while home depot continues to strive you see more and more mom and papa hard ware stores close. just in my neighborhood alone over 3 closed down so while the corporate giant continues to flourish its important to remember the local individual retailer.

  20. 20 Britany Linton December 3, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    I agree. more and more people are having to leave their homes due to repossession. Two of the Home Depots in the east bay have closed down due to the lack of construction and even people just trying to keep up their homes. Lowe’s is in the same trouble, with little business to keep their employees working. the housing market hasnt stabilized. There are plenty of houses that aren’t selling and/or being repossessed. The unemployment figures haven’t stabilized so why would the housing market? If there is any stabilization, it probably comes from those individuals who can wait out the market and buy low. but everyone is holding on to their money during these tough times so theres no saying when we will move forward from this unstable stage

  21. 21 Francine Zumbo December 5, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    It’s great Home Depot is going better but I don’t think it will last. There are not that many people who are remodeling and probably won’t remodel for a while or at least a few years. I feel like Home Depot is only doing good right now because of the holidays. People are buying what they need to fix stuff but actually not doing major remodeling. I do hope Home Depot keeps seeing improvements but I feel it will not be for a while.

  22. 22 Justin Castro December 5, 2009 at 8:49 PM

    During such tough economic times like this, people are doing less and less home improvement, meaning that stores like Home Depot aren’t getting much business. But, it also means that people will stop hiring workers to do their necessary home improvements for them, but instead go to stores like Home Depot or Lowes and buy the materials to do the work themselves. Let’s hope that the housing market stays stable enough that people want to do home improvements or remodeling at all.

  23. 23 Angela December 6, 2009 at 1:17 AM

    It’s good to know that Home Depot is doing better, that means that other business are doing better as well. For a while the house market was doing very bad, but if retail stores as home depot are improving their sales, then the house market is improving.

  24. 24 Jorge Clavijo December 6, 2009 at 6:02 PM

    This is important for our economy now days; it means for me that consumers are feeling better by spending and living a good life. Home Depot & Walmart are two big companies that should be worry on how their sales should be improved. Great news, keep it up Home Depot.

  25. 25 Nick Rood December 6, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    I love how people look around their neighborhood, see what’s going on, and assume that is the indication of our nation’s situation. Not to say it can’t be a good indicator, and I definitely know that is going to be the basis for the structure of logic, but think bigger. I believe that many people are still losing their homes and that there will be many more to follow. The economic situation is not going back to where it was anytime soon. I do believe that with the drop in housing prices, and a more stable economy, less people are losing homes and more people are buying homes. When a $300,000 home now sells for $150,000 you will most likely find a buyer. Obviously things take time, and certainly people have experienced hardships, but sometimes I wonder how much of the panic is strictly psychological. It’s everyone’s new favorite topic: People are being fired, losing their homes, can’t find jobs, etc. I know part of it’s true, but the more people believe things are getting better, and act like they are getting better, the faster things WILL GET BETTER. As a group, we actually have quite an impact on the economy.

  26. 26 Margaret Garbo December 6, 2009 at 10:41 PM

    People putting in and setting aside money for purchases in Home Depot is a good sign. It means that people are able to gain more income and are willing enough to spend in other necessities at home rather than just basic standard needs like food and clothing. This shows an improvement as people are able to gain more income so asthey are not as choked up on other expenses like they would if they were low on budget. This could also mean improvements in the real estate business or the housing industry as more people want their homes to look better and be better. Improvement. The only thing we’re waiting on now is for american economy to do so as well.

  27. 27 Sarah Reddell December 6, 2009 at 10:54 PM

    I know that although the Home Depot numbers are looking better, the housing and construction industries are still not picking up. A close family member owns a construction company in the bay area and has been struggling. I wonder if the good news for the home improvement/do it yourself stores means larger companies or contractors are still struggling.

  28. 28 Lukas Bradvica December 6, 2009 at 10:55 PM

    I don’t think this a good sign for us. Knowing people whose homes had been foreclosed, I know that when a house is foreclosed almost everything torn out and sold. People take whatever they can sell from their house and sell it. The sale increase could be a cause of new home buyers buying material to replace what was taken from the foreclosed home.

  29. 29 amos mccray-goldsmith December 6, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    i remember last year when for the first time in the history of black friday, sales went down as compared to the previous year. and to hear that sales are starting to stabilize is great. plus that means people have more faith in the economy now, they are willing to spend their money and are not scared anymore and are not hoarding or saving their money put spending it like they should.

  30. 30 Chris Griffiths December 7, 2009 at 7:59 AM

    By saying that “we are doing less bad” Home Depot has highlighted a major fact that we should be focusing on, the fact that even though the economy may not be in recovery yet we are geting closer. The reasoning behind this could be that because we are doing less bad today we should be doing better tomorrow. This news is especialy good around the holiday season because that means that their will be an even larger boost to the economy in a month or so.

  31. 31 Kaitlin E December 7, 2009 at 8:47 PM

    It is definitely a positive thing when people feel that they can begin to spend their money at places such as the Home Depot. Although many things the Home Depot sells can be considered necessities, those items which are needed for shelter, many other things it offers are more for people who are renovating or adding on to their homes. So, if Home Depot is slowly seeing improvements, hopefully we will start to see improvements in other areas of the economy as well.

  32. 32 Anita Haas December 8, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    It is always a good sign when businesses start picking up. The fact that Home depot is showing some signs of improvement in their sales, we all hope that this is a sign that our economy is improving.

  33. 33 wallacej December 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    Its good to see retail go back up with this reccesion. It through a lot of people of in terms of their property as it is hard to buy and sell in a recession. Its nice to see Home Depot pick things up. It shows signs of improvement.

  34. 34 Alejandro Plascencia December 8, 2009 at 6:40 PM

    If more people are spending money on Home Depot then that could mean two things. That could mean that people are finally being able to make their house payments and are deciding to live long-term in that house. Or that people are being able to purchase homes and have the money to re-model them for future use.

  35. 35 Stephen Cassinelli December 8, 2009 at 7:06 PM

    When people start to feel that they can spend money on things to improve their home, this could be a little sign that the comfort levels are raising with our economy. The way things have been going, people everywhere have been penny pinchers and this is why our economy is not doing well people need to start spending money to stimulate the economy. The quicker this happens, the quicker we will get out of this hole. Home Depot should be loving where they are at rights now if this is right.

  36. 36 JamieB December 8, 2009 at 8:53 PM

    I think this is very good news. The fact that the sales were going up in 36 out of the top 40 markets is a very good sign. Even though that Home Depot isn’t in positive margins yet, the fact that they are improving is a good sign for other stores like Home Depot, construction, and even the housing market.

  37. 37 Kyle Ray December 9, 2009 at 12:33 AM

    Stabilization is good, and these numbers seem to be based on something more than just an individual total for each month. Which means this may be a real trend! Does home depot sell efficient windows and heaters and the like? that may explain their relative success at the moment.

  38. 38 Kirstie Scott December 9, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    I had no idea that Home Depot was so popular, let alone the second largest retailer in the United States! I was also unaware that: “Frank Blake, chief executive, also welcomed the fact that the percentage of US GDP devoted to private fixed residential investment (PFRI) also remained flat, rather than falling during the third quarter.” This is very interesting to me.

  39. 39 Melissa Alexander December 10, 2009 at 10:08 AM

    It’s good news when The Home Depot has a slight improvement in it’s third quarter. Being a wife of a general contractor times are hard and no one is wanting to fix or add anything to their homes. Even our wealthier clients shut down project and pulled out of contracts….so you know its a positive step when the #1 home improvement store for the “do-it-yourselfers” is seeing a slight improvement itself.

  40. 40 Taylor Smith December 11, 2009 at 4:34 PM

    I am glad to hear this I know a lot of people in the construction business and they have all been have an extremely hard time for a while. It is nice to see a company like home deport doing a little better, they are a company that always seems willing to help and one that connects to the community. hopefully this growth will keep up and more companies will be able to say the same as home depot.

  41. 41 Anthony Azevedo December 13, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    Like most all other people that commented on this article, I glad to see Home Depot doing better. If Home Depot goes belly up then there will be barely any competition for that market.

  42. 42 Kyle Reichenberg December 13, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    I walked into a home depot and there seemed to be more employees than customers. They where very helpful but at some point maybe they need to look at labor. Its hard to pay employees when no one is in the store paying their wage. Even though i walked out of the store with my dad spend in 150$ on breaker switches not everyone walks out of that store spending a lot of money

  43. 43 Karla Martinez December 14, 2009 at 8:13 PM

    I think this is a good indication of the overall economy in the sense that it has to get “less bad” before it goes in a positive direction. This may be more so for the economy of the states that experienced the improvement in sales, at least when it comes to the sales of big corporations.

  44. 44 Nathan Couch December 17, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    Home Depot sales increased as the housing market it it’s low point, that was the point at which contractors by the masses started remodeling homes for a large profit. With older houses being remodeled and sold that helps spur the economy because people moving into a new home are bound to buy SOME new appliances or furniture because they’ll want to match the new house with some new stuff.

    This article was posted a month ago, at which point, the stock market has climbed back up for lots of companies but 2010 will be the true test for the economy.

  45. 45 Jordan Premo December 17, 2009 at 4:30 PM

    The remodeling and construction business has been so slow… i work for a remodeling company and typically this time of year is so busy! I guess if it’s less bad it’s better than way worse? Hopefully 2010 will be a better year for everyone!

  46. 46 Tiffany Hagewood May 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    I think this article is very interesting in the fact that it talks about how home improvement retailers are seeing signs of increased sales. While the actual housing markets have seen a major decrease in sales. American’s know they don’t have the money to buy a home so they’re being smart and investing a small amount in the houses they already have. The same goes for the clothing industry. While higher end luxury and designer brands have seen major decreases in sales, companies like Ross and Forever 21 have seen a drastic increase in sales. Even thrift stores have become popular. To be honest it’s not like all spending has ceased to exist. It’s just people are being smarter with their money and buying more affordable merchandise. Retailers have also seen an increase in the sales of accessories. Women are trying to spend less by buying a scarf or necklace in order to change their wardrobes, instead of purchasing a whole new outfit. Makes sense when you’re trying to spend less.

  47. 47 Melissa Moylan May 6, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    With the economy in the shape its in, people are not running into home repair stores buying things for their homes. People are only buying basic necessities. Until the economy stabilizes the home repair businesses wont drastically increase.

  48. 48 Stephanie Boyle May 18, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    The economy has really taken its toll on all aspects of our nation. Stabilization in the retailing business is a good sign. This means that people are buying more and becoming more comfortable with buying again. There are always going to be the necessities that people have to buy, but if this business is stabilizing then people are buying more regularly and less for essentials. Home Depot is a good place for home repair items and people are trying to ho DIY style nowadays to keep prices down, so I could see why there sales are up, but they shouldn’t expect too much until the housing market improves.


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