I caught up yesterday with Jim Loree, CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, who has been on a roller coaster ride recently that makes Cedar Point seem tame. The $24 billion market cap company saw sales nosedive after the pandemic hit, and its stock followed suit, losing more than half its value. “We were at the edge of the abyss,” he says.
But then in late April, the company started to see U.S. tool sales by way of Home Depot, Lowes and Amazon shoot up, with growth numbers “we’ve never seen in our lifetime.” What happened? “There’s been a reimagination or a reconnection with the home,” he says. “That works extremely well for our tool business. It also works well for the outdoor business.” He expects much of that to continue. “I think this reconnection with the home is going to be a semi-permanent sort of change.”
Loree added a note of caution that I’m hearing increasingly from U.S.-based CEOs. “I have an ominous sense about what is happening in the U.S., in terms of a second wave, or a continuation of the first wave,” he said. The roller coaster ride may not be over.
By the way, Loree mentioned the $600 unemployment benefit “has not helped” his efforts to keep his factories up and running and fully staffed in the U.S. “Some employees can make more money by staying home.” That’s the subject of a hot debate in Congress this week. Fortune’s Lance Lambert breaks it down, here.
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