Kai would rather walk around a home improvement store than the toy store.
With DIY projects booming amid the coronavirus pandemic, more consumers might consider RIY: rent it yourself.
Lowe’s announced Wednesday it is getting into the tool rental business and joining its biggest competitor Home Depot, which already rents trucks, power tools and other equipment.
The North Carolina-based home improvement chain plans to add tool rental departments to stores across the nation starting Thursday with a location in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The national rollout is expected to take place over many years with approximately 300 planned per year, Fred Stokes, Lowe’s senior vice president of pro sales and services, said in an interview with USA TODAY.
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On Wednesday, Lowe’s reported its quarterly earnings and announced online sales soared 135%, while same-store sales, including those outside the U.S., rose 34.2%. CEO Marvin Ellison said in a prepared statement that customers seemed mostly focused on repair and maintenance of their homes.
Home Depot also reported a 23.4% increase in quarterly sales this week at stores opened at least a year globally, which was helped by a frenzied pace for do-it-yourself home renovations.
Each Lowe’s Tool Rental department will be about 4,000 square feet within newly constructed spaces that either expand stores or located next to an existing store, Stokes said, adding the space includes a mechanic shop. The company has more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores nationwide.
Tools that will be available for rent include drain cleaning, restoration, sanitation and concrete tools under brands such as Husqvarna, Bosch and Metabo HPT.
Stokes said the program was planned before the pandemic as part of the company’s strategy to be the “new home for Pros,” adding more than 70% of pros use tool rental businesses.
“For all of our customers, having the right tool is key to every project, but they may not always want to purchase a new tool or piece of equipment,” Stokes said. “Lowe’s Tool Rental helps customers save on the cost of owning, maintaining and storing the tools they need.”
Lowe’s previously offered rental tools in as many as 50 stores through a relationship with Sunbelt Rentals, Stokes said, adding the program was more focused on DIY customers than pros.
A list of stores that will get the new rental departments after the first location opens was not available. The program’s website is www.lowes.com/Rental and there will be an online reservation option as well in-store self-service kiosks.
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Contributing: Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
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