Home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. said it expects to increase the number of exclusive product arrangements it has with suppliers.
The move to product exclusivity is "a direction we're heading in," said Dale Pond, executive vice president of merchandising at the Wilkesboro, NC, U.S. retailer.
In the past year, Lowe's has reached exclusive deals to sell Husqvarna outdoor-power equipment, Kichler lighting, and Cub Cadet lawn tractors.
Competitor Home Depot Inc. is also pursuing exclusive product arrangements. It will begin selling an exclusive line of John Deere-branded lawn and garden tractors next spring. Lowe's Mr. Pond said such arrangements, in which a supplier allows a retailer to market a certain product, were "a very important part" of Lowe's strategy to set itself apart from other home-goods retailers and offer different brands. "A lot of retail has become so homogenized that customers really are frustrated by the sameness from store to store," he said. (Reuters)
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