Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Opportunity knocks in the garage

January 30, 2008

gladiator.JPGOne research group says department stores and other retailers could be missing out on an opportunity to gain sales in a part of the home that doesn’t seem to be affected by the current U.S. housing slowdown: the garage.

NPD Group said on Wednesday that garage storage products are bought mostly by high-income men. For the year ended in October, men accounted for 64 percent of dollars spent in this segment, it added.

The garage spending isn’t just confined to products like bicycle racks and tool chests, but now includes refrigerators and flat-screen TVs, NPD said. Appliance maker Whirlpool, for instance, sells cabinets, work surfaces and refrigerators to meet lifestyle needs under its Gladiator GarageWorks brand (products shown in picture).

“Garage storage is somewhat immune to the current housing market downturn,” Mark Delaney, director of NPD Group’s home division, said in a statement.

NPD found that 47 percent of total dollars spent in the garage and storage sector went to home-center chains in the year ending in October, while 32 percent went to mass merchants and 5 percent to department stores.

Gladiator GarageWorks says that garage organization is an industry valued at $1 billion. In a recent Gladiator survey, only 40 percent of garage owners listed parking their car as the garage’s primary use.

“Retailers looking to attract a higher-income consumer should consider expanding their assortment in this area,” NPD’s Delaney said.

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