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Stanley Black & Decker’s Porter Cable brand has partnered with Tractor Supply, and is now the rural retailer’s exclusive cordless power tool and accessories partner.
Certain tools will still be available through other retail channels, such as Porter Cable’s immensely popular 6-gallon pancake-style air compressor.
Porter Cable dusted off their social media channels several months ago, and until today we could only guess as to the reasons why.
Why This is a Huge Deal
I know what some of you will be thinking, because it crossed my mind as well. “Oh. Tractor Supply – that’s it?” But, this is actually a very big deal.
As of June 26, 2021, Tractor Supply operated 1,955 stores in the USA, and like most retailers they also have an ecommerce website.
For context, as of February 1, 2019, Lowe’s operates 1,723 stores in the USA, with an additional 510 stores in Canada. As of August 2, 2020, Home Depot operates 1,985 stores in the USA, with an additional 182 stores in Canada and 126 stores in Mexico.
That’s right, Tractor Supply has more stores in the USA than Lowe’s, and nearly as many stores in the USA as Home Depot.
With respect to sales, here are some 2020 revenue figures:
- Tractor Supply: $10.6 billion
- Ace Hardware: $7.8 billion
- Home Depot: $132 billion
- Lowe’s: $89.36 billion
- Stanley Black & Decker: $14.5 billion
While not a top-10 retailer, Tractor Supply has a huge presence in the USA, and they drive considerable sales.
What Will This Mean for Tractor Supply Shoppers?
Tractor Supply is the “largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States,” and they target “the needs of recreational farmers, ranchers, and all those who enjoy living the rural lifestyle.”
The retailer carries an extensive range of products aimed at serving an “Out Here” lifestyle.
Over the past 18 months, there has been an increased interest in self-reliance, with users tackling their own DIY projects, home repairs, upgrades, and maintenance tasks.
With this partnership, Tractor Supply will be further expanding the cordless power tools and accessories that are accessibility to their rural customer base.
In July, a reader wrote in about changes that took place at their local Tractor Supply store. Zachary M wrote:
My local tractor supply has recently revamped the tool section with a full Makita line and some Bosch. This is along with still carrying Dewalt and Porter Cable.
In other words, this partnership is on top of existing efforts by Tractor Supply to expand and update their stores’ tool aisles.
What Will This Mean for Porter Cable?
I spoke with Anne Stringer, Director of Brand Marketing at Stanley Black & Decker, and she teased that Porter Cable will be announcing new cordless tool and accessory innovations in 2022, and that these products will be available exclusively through Tractor Supply.
Porter Cable has shifted their brand focus, as evident by the updated messaging on their website.
The new arrangement will help the brand “better meet the needs of customers who enjoy the ‘Out Here’ lifestyle,” mirroring Tractor Supply’s goals.
Building on their prior focus on on the typical needs of residential construction types of users, Porter Cable will be focusing on individual users who want reliable tools, and tools that are approachable and affordable.
In press materials, Porter Cable says that nearly 12 million shoppers already own Porter Cable 20V Max cordless power tools. I confirmed with them that there are no plans to change the battery form factor at this time, which is good news.
For existing Porter Cable cordless power tool users, new tools are on the way.
I see this as an extremely impactful development for both Porter Cable and Tractor Supply.
Not to mince words, Porter Cable has had a brand identity crisis for quite a few years, sending mixed messages about their cordless power tools. Their marketing language focused on tradesmen and value-minded pro users, but their cordless power tool pricing and positioning aligned more with DIY-focused brands,
Well, Porter Cable’s focus is crystal-clear now.
With respect to cordless power tools and accessories, Porter Cable is the supplier, and Tractor Supply the customer. Tractor Supply’s customers and shoppers are the end users.
It seems to me that Tractor Supply has a very good understanding of their customer base, and will seek to better serve their shoppers’ tool needs and wants.
I am told, for instance, that part of Porter Cable’s ongoing development efforts will focus on tools for maintenance types of tasks. Tractor Supply customers are intent on maintaining and repairing their equipment, and so there’s a need for fitting tools – reliable tools – to help with such work.
Short-term, I expect to see promotional placements and holiday sales at Tractor Supply. Starting in 2022, the initial launch of new cordless developments will set the stage for years to come.
Porter Cable was left without a retail home after being supplanted at Lowe’s by Craftsman, one of their sibling brands. This partnership between Tractor Supply and Porter Cable seems like much more than power tool maker searching for a new home.
This is certainly an interesting development, and I am optimistic that the new partnership will be great for Porter Cable, Tractor Supply, and end users alike. I am eager to see what happens next.