Stifel Reports on Interior Finish Business' Response to Coronavirus

St. Louis, MO, March 23, 2020-Analyst Stifel has released a report summarizing the current situation regarding store closings for the companies it covers that operate through retail outlets. 

“Some of our companies will fare better than others based on whether the company has an online business that can accommodate an increase in possible sales, whether the products being sold are large tickets items, whether they are discretionary purchases, etc.

“Generally speaking: Many stores may be closed to customers coming in to make purchases, but many are open for customers to pick up orders done online or over the phone. This could help the company where the customers do not have to test or see the products. Some states have forced businesses to shut down. This may not matter as all people have been asked to stay at home, so we did not consider percentages of stores by states or hotspots.

“Retail: Williams Sonoma may be considered in the best situation with 56% of their business online and having some lower ticket items available. When the company broke out numbers RH was about 60% retail, but we think this business will be impacted by their restaurants and galleries closed and having high ticket items. Flooring projects may be considered large discretionary purchases that could be delayed.

“Home Improvement: Home Depot has been growing [its] online business that has been helping [its] comp growth. We think pros will continue to shop there, and the new store hours will not impact their purchases, as long as they are allowed to work. Lowe's online business has struggled and like on Black Friday of last year, it could be a bad time to have issues. Improvements are ongoing so we will see how the company fares. Both should see good seasonal sales as people look to do projects outside while stuck at home.”

For the full report, click here

USA Today reports that, “Lowe's announced Friday that starting March 23, it was temporarily reducing hours and closing its nearly 2,000 stores at 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, the company said in a news release.

“Rival Home Depot also is temporarily shortening hours and closing nightly at 6 p.m., spokeswoman Margaret Smith told USA TODAY, adding the retailer is "committed to keeping stores open just as we always do during times of crisis and natural disaster."