Woolworths has bought the Hardware.com.au domain name for over $33,000 as the supermarket chain prepares for the launch of its hardware warehouse big-box chain with Lowe’s hardware from the USA.
Woolworths’ joint venture with Lowe’s is expected to launch in Victoria in 2012 with 12 locations selected in the state in an aggressive play against incumbent Bunnings. Despite purchasing the hardware.com.au domain name, Woolworths does not plan to sell hardware online when it launches, at least initially.
Woolworths plans to use the hardware.com.au domain name initially to funnel customers to the branded store website and into the physical warehouse hardware stores when it launches next year.
Initially the Woolworths/Lowe’s hardware warehouse roll out would be across Victoria, at Coolaroo, Burnside, Preston, Hawthorn East, Oakleigh South, South Morang, Mornington, Wendouree, Geelong, Bendigo, Knoxfield and Carrum Downs. Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden has stated the the State Government would expedite the planning approval for the sites, giving cause for concern to rival Bunnings.
Don Stallings, CEO of the Woolworths and Lowe’s home improvement joint venture, said the approvals were vital in ensuring the new joint venture achieved scale in operations quickly to secure its future.
“Building a new destination home improvement offer from scratch is a challenging business venture, especially in a retail sector with just one existing dominant player,” Starlings said.
“Our plans require our business to get up to speed as quickly as possible to ensure we can deliver a new and competitive offer to the consumer.”