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Makita USA Faces Hard Times

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Every year, I work through all of the holiday tool deals and promotions. I scout them out, sort through everything, and analyze and organize the best ones.

I like to save money on the tools and supplies I’m looking to buy, and I also enjoy sharing my findings with readers.

In repeating this process every year, Black Friday and Holiday season tool deal trends and patterns tend to appear.

From what I have seen, Makita USA has far fewer holiday promotions this year, overall and in highly competitive product categories.

Some of the offerings that are available at Home Depot and other tool dealers are also less compelling than similar promotions one year ago.

Last year, Makita had an 18V X2 cordless circular saw for $199, and it came with 2 bonus batteries. This year, it’s priced at $399 with no freebies. Their rear-handle saw kit was $259 and also came with bonus batteries. This year the same deal is $299.

Last year, their XGT 2-tool cordless power tool combo kit was $449 and bundled with 2 free batteries. This year it’s $469 and you get 1 free battery. Earlier this year the same combo kit was $349 with 1 free battery.

$469 for what was $349 a few months ago?

For the first time I can recall, there are no deals on Makita’s 18V X2 cordless track saw, or their XGT 36V version.

I could not find any Makita 18V cordless drill or impact driver deals this year, at least not at the traditional holiday season “special buy” $99 price point. While it might not seem like a big deal, these can be considered gateway tools to cordless power tool brands’ platforms.

While Makita’s $99 promo drill and impact kits didn’t always have the best specs, the inclusion of a 3Ah battery made them good values, especially when compared against competing kits with 1.3Ah batteries.

Makita USA laid off more than 200 people earlier this year, following a series of price hikes and a fiscal year loss reported for their North America business segment.

A new CEO and President is in place, presumably to help turn things around.

All of this – the dearth of holiday deals, the layoffs, and the change in top leadership – are individually concerning. When combined, the picture it paints suggests that Makita USA is facing hard times.

Makita recently filed a new financial report.

Makita Fiscal year 2023 Financial Results thru March
Makita Segment Information for the Years Ending 3/31/22 and 3/31/23

For context, these tables show Makita’s segment performance for the 12 months ending on 3/31 for both 2022 and 2023.

Converted from Japanese Yen to USD at today’s conversion rate, Makita North America earned a $5.35 million profit in 2022, and reported a $6.08 million loss in 2023.

Makita 2023 Financial Results thru September
Makita Segment Information for the 6 Months Ending 9/30/22 and 9/30/23

For the 6 months ending 9/30 in 2022, Makita’s North America reported a profit of $2.74 million, also using today’s conversion rate for simplicity.

For the 6-months ending 9/30 in 2023, Makita’s North America segment reported a loss of $23.15 million.

These numbers also show that sales are down, with similar being true across the industry.

However, Stanley Black & Decker and TTI (Milwaukee’s parent company) have reported operating profits in their latest filings.

Makita XGT Holiday Deal Spotlight 2023

Makita USA has been promoting their holiday savings, but in my opinion their too-few “season’s best offers” are not very compelling.

As mentioned, their flagship 40V Max/36V XGT cordless combo kit was $449 with 2 free batteries in late 2022, then $349 with 1 free battery in early 2023, and is now advertised as one of their “season’s best” Black Friday offers at $469 with 1 free battery.

Here’s the difficult part. What if Makita USA has cut back on holiday sales and promotions to curtail spending? This would reduce operating costs, but I would think it will also absolutely hurt short and long-term sales.

I recently posted about how I don’t think Makita can afford to launch the Packout-like tool box system that is discussed in recent patent applications.

Makita North America segment sales are down and losses are up compared to the same period as last year.

Can they afford to save money by skipping out on a lot of holiday season promotions this year?

Maybe Outdoor Adventure will put some money back into Makita USA’s pocket?

Makita Outdoor Adventure Vacuum at the Web Restaurant Store

I spotted Makita’s olive green Outdoor Adventure cordless vacuum at the Web Restaurant Store, an online restaurant supply shop, but have not seen any of these tools at Home Depot stores yet – or even their website.

Makita’s USA business can get through this and emerge stronger. Right? They just need to sell more tools.

I have taken advantage of Makita holiday deals on cordless power tools and accessories in the past, but don’t see anything compelling enough to pry a penny from my pocket this year.

Hopefully they have a plan to boost sales through the end of the holiday season and into 2024.