B&D prepares to expand line of DeWalt tools

February 19, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

Black & Decker Corp. will announce today an expansion of its successful DeWalt professional tool line to include fine woodworking tools, pneumatic hammers, screw guns and new kinds of drills.

The move, which will be formally announced at the National Association of Home Builders Show in Las Vegas but has been previously discussed, was widely praised by retailers, stock analysts and tool experts.

Towson-based Black & Decker revived the DeWalt name in just the last year and built sales from nothing to $30 million, said Andrew J. Silver, who follows Black & Decker's stock for investor clients of New York-based Dillon Read & Co. Inc.

And the existing tool line of professional-quality drills and other tools was expected to reach $100 million in sales this year, he said.

Mr. Silver said that with the expansion, DeWalt could reach sales of $200 million by 1995, and would soon add significantly to the company's profits.

"They are doing what they do best" in developing new products and establishing a popular trade name, he said.

The expansion of DeWalt is smart because Black & Decker already has the lion's share of the low-end consumer market and specialized industrial tool market, he said.

The only consumers who shied away from Black & Decker products were professional tradesmen, who didn't like buying tools designed for home use. Now, with DeWalt's brand name known for its tough professionalism, Black & Decker is starting to make inroads into the American tool market "with the greatest growth opportunity," Mr. Silver said.

Michael J. Smith, a sales manager at Clark's Do-It Center in Ellicott City, said the heavy-duty DeWalt tools introduced at this time last year have sold very well. And although the new products will attract fewer buyers because they are more specialized, he still expects good things from the new routers, belt sanders, hammer drills, and especially the new plate joiner or "biscuit joiner," as it is known in the trade.

Vincent Lawrence, editor of "Tool Forum" for Fine Woodworking magazine, said he just gave a highly positive review to DeWalt's new biscuit joiner.

The new line of woodworking tools is based on the tools sold by Black & Decker's European Elu subsidiary, Mr. Vincent said.

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