Q&A   //   July 5, 2022

‘Being on trend is critical’: Why Home Depot is building a home decor line

In a bid to become the go-to option for customers looking to reset their space, Home Depot is betting on home decor. 

Just this month, Home Depot expanded its home decor line, StyleWell, into the kids category — a move that indicates the company’s plans to touch every aspect of home life. The collection currently offers 65 products, including curated textiles, soft goods, bedroom decor and bathroom decor. The company’s efforts to expand into decor first took shape in 2019, when it launched the StyleWell line — an assortment geared toward younger shoppers looking for modern and trendy home products.  

Interest in the home category skyrocketed during the pandemic, benefitting retailers like Home Depot. But now, interest in the category is starting to slow as people spend more money on activities like travel. Home Depot reported annual revenue growth of 3.7% during the first quarter of this year, down significantly from 32.7% growth last year. Still, with the ongoing expansion of the StyleWell line, Home Depot is betting that in the long run, adding more exclusive home decor items will help them attract more customers. 

“We all have to find a reason for our consumers to come back and shop with us and offer things that are exclusive to us,” said Corinne Bentzen, general manager for Home Depot Home. “Developing some of our own lines and expanding what we call our private brand assortment is instrumental to the growth strategy.”

Bentzen spoke to Modern Retail about Home Depot’s strategy in the home decor category and its opportunities for growth. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did Home Depot decide to expand its StyleWell line into the kids category?
As we’ve expanded the line, one of the places we were not yet playing was in the kids space. ​​We’ve seen it resonating a lot with young adults entering into the next stage of their life. So being able to offer those products to them felt like the right next step for the StyleWell collection.

We estimate that the kids market is going to grow 15% to 20% over the next 10 years, and we saw tremendous growth out of that in the last couple of years. It’s really interesting, it’s exciting [and] it’s a fun space as well where parents invest in their kids’ room, bringing their personalities out.

There’s a lot of pink in the market for girls, more gender-neutral propositions and trucks and automobiles and so on for boys. But I think there’s always a new way to do that and to offer a more modern approach to that.

What would you say are some of the goals behind Home Depot’s home decor expansion, from the StyleWell to now StyleWell Kids?
We really would love all of our very passionate or loyal consumers to be able to finish their space. So they already engage with the Home Depot and all their renovation projects and so on, and we really would love them to be able to finish the space with us and decorate.

Our customers — and we’re all guilty of this — want the latest thing. We all want to have a space that we’re proud of that reflects our personal style. And so making sure that we, as a company, stay up to date on that and have a compelling innovative offering for our customers is very important.

Other retailers have reported softening sales for their home products due to a shift in customer spending. Why is Home Depot continually investing in home decor?
The investment has been over the last four or five years and so, we were actually really investing in the space prior to the pandemic and clearly grew massively over the last couple of years.

We have the benefit of continuing to see that [growth] so we have not yet seen the pullback in our space. We are happy to be growing. You’ve seen overall… we continue to perform.

Yes, the consumers are able to travel now again, and there is a little bit of a shift but I think the customers recognize that Home Depot has great product at great value.

What can customers expect from StyleWell in the near future?
[Home Depot is] continuing to bring newness… and quite modern [products] with StyleWell. So more extensions into different styles of beds, dining tables, chairs, mirrors and so forth over the next 12 to 18 months. 

We do a pretty good job right now at covering most, if not all, of the categories within the home decor space. But as you know, being on trend is critical and making sure you have different styles for different personalities or regional preferences is important. So as we look at our lines, it is more about having different styles at the right value for our customers.