Back in 2013, Lowe’s kicked off an electrical hand tools merchandising refresh, where they discontinued brands such as Channellock and Knipex, and replaced them with Southwire Tools.
In 2019, Southwire came out with a new Romex hammer, and it launched on Amazon. That was one of the first indications that Southwire was expanding their tool distribution beyond Lowe’s.
Now, Southwire tools are being sold by Home Depot, and this seems to be a rather significant development.
It’s one thing for Southwire tools to be available outside Lowe’s stores and at online retailers such as Amazon. But for Home Depot to be selling Southwire tools? That’s a pretty big deal.
Did an exclusivity period between Southwire and Lowe’s end?
Is Lowe’s moving towards other electrical hand tool brands?
What will this mean for all three parties?
For Home Depot, there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight regarding their exclusivity arrangement with Klein Tools. Home Depot and their partnership with Klein Tools kicked off in mid-2009, and it appears to be going strong.
It’s no surprise then, that none of the Southwire tools listed on Home Depot’s website are available anywhere near my zip code for in-store purchase or pickup.
Still, this doesn’t lessen the significance of Home Depot now being able to sell a once Lowe’s-exclusive brand, at least among retail home improvement stores.
Mike (the other one) emailed in recently, that he spotted Knipex diagonal pliers at his local Lowe’s, in the midst of the “severely depleted” electrical tools section.
Looking online, Lowe’s lists a lot of Knipex tools on their website, which isn’t at all significant, as a lot of online retailers and marketplaces now sell Knipex tools, but they do have a single size and style of Knipex Cobra pliers available for in-store pickup at several local stores.
So, to sum things up, here’s what we know so far:
- Home Depot now sells (select?) Southwire tools on their website
- There is the suggestion that Lowe’s is bringing (select?) Knipex tools back to stores
First EGO leaves Home Depot and goes to Lowe’s, and now this.
I get the feeling that we’re going to see more brand and retail shake-ups this year.