Black Friday might seem like a distant memory, but it's in full bloom at Home Depot.
The home improvement store is having Spring Black Friday through Wednesday to kick off its busiest time of the year, when homeowners get the itch to freshen up their homes and yards. The store has sales on everything from garden soil and barbecue grills to bath faucets and power drills.
Home Depot is expecting strong sales this spring and began hiring 80,000 new employees in February, an additional 10,000 people over last year. Overall, the Atlanta-based company employs 300,000 for its more than 2,250 stores nationwide.
Fueling the retailer's sunny outlook are forecasts from the remodeling industry citing increased demand from homeowners for kitchen and bath renovations and repairs. The National Association of Home Builders estimates remodeling spending for owner-occupied, single-family homes will increase 2.4 percent in 2013 over last year and another 1.7 percent in 2014.
Officials say homeowners are finally moving forward with home improvement projects they had put on hold during the economic crisis. They aren't necessarily rebuilding or putting on additions, but they are making smaller changes to upgrade their living arrangements. A fresh coat of paint and new ceiling fan go a long way.
The Home Depot is entering spring on a high note. The publicly traded company ended fiscal 2012 with sales of $74.8 billion, an increase of 6.2 percent over 2011. The company credited the boost largely to the continued recovery of the housing market but also because of sales related to repairs in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Also this month, Home Depot is teaming up with Martha Stewart on a new do-it-yourself video series starting April 25. The videos will highlight Martha Stewart Living products sold at Home Depot through product profiles, designer interviews and "Ask Martha'' segments, according to Retailing Today, an online news source for retail leaders. The videos will be released every Thursday via e-newsletter and on HomeDepot.com.
To sign up, go to Martha Stewart Living's Facebook page or @MarthaStewart on Twitter and scroll to the April 4 posts for the link. Each subscriber gets $5 off their next purchase at Home Depot.
Best Buy is embracing spring cleaning season with a trade-in program for consumer electronics April 21-27. Bring any working mobile phone, tablet, e-reader, laptop, video game console or other device and get a minimum $5 off any item in the store or online.
In many cases, the average trade-in value is much higher — $145 for a tablet, $75 for a laptop and $30 for an e-reader — which could be a good deal if you're looking to upgrade something. For items that aren't working, Best Buy will collect them for free and send them to contracted recyclers, a program that's available year-round.
Best Buy offered the $5 minimum trade-in program in January and got such a strong response it decided to bring it back. It helps reduce the growing problem of technology-traded trash worldwide, plus gets people in the store. (You can also trade-in products online.)
Best Buy says it recycles more than 400 pounds of electronics every minute its 1,400 stores and locations are open. That's a lot of old phones. It also has recycling kiosks to drop off used ink and toner cartridges, cords and other items.
It gets plenty of stuff most young people wouldn't recognize, like eight-tracks, Walkman tape players, home cordless phones and CD players. I know I've got a few of those lying around my house.
For a listing of trade-in amounts by product and condition, go to bestbuy.com/tradein.
Susan Thurston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 225-3110.