1. Stiffening competition from “Amazon brands” such as Tekton, Sunex, Ares, Capri, Olsa, etc. All of which offer tools that are good enough for professional use but often undercut the prices of big box brands such as Kobalt and Husky. Not quite as cheap as HF stuff but generally much better value. This pushed HF to attempt to move upmarket since people can buy much better stuff at a marginal premium.
2. Saturation of lithium power tools market. Fucking EVERYONE is making lithium power tools now and HF tried to jump in but they’re way late. Their Bauer stuff is price competitive with Ryobi but with significantly less selection, shitty warranty, and often lower quality. And having Hercules as a sister brand makes zero sense. The price and quality of each brand puts them in the same basic segment. It’s similar to how Lowe’s has all these weekend warrior brands only worse because the overall selection is pathetic in comparison and, again, the warranty sucks. Also all their tools are just rebadges of no-name chink tools that can be found elsewhere for cheaper.
3. Retail chains are struggling in general. Online shopping is just too convenient and promotes impulse buying like nothing before. People can browse tools on Amazon, read/watch reviews, and make purchases in their spare time right from their phones. Going fully online cuts a lot of overhead but an outlet like HF typically ends up forever stuck somewhere in between because their infrastructure investment is too high.
The solution? They should stock the “Amazon Brand” tools and try to work out deals to get slightly better prices than those seen online. HF greatest asset is being able to visit a location and see the tools in person. There are a handful of autoparts stores I’ve been seeing Tekton, Titan, and Sunex at but they’re always 10-30% more expensive than Amazon. If HF could undercut Amazon in a physical location I’d be shopping there a hell of a lot more often.