Retailer Comparison for Hobby Lobby & Michael’s
Hobby Lobby and Michael’s are two major competitors in crafting supply and arts and crafts. Michaels is the largest arts and craft retail chain. It currently operates more than 1040 Michaels Arts and Crafts Stores located in 49 U.S. states and in Canada (Marx, 2009). The average Michaels store now contains 40,000 different products in 18,200 square feet of selling space. The stores sell a selection of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall decor, bakeware, beads, scrapbooking and seasonal merchandise for hobbyists and do-it-yourself home decorators.
Hobby Lobby is a privately held retail chain of arts and crafts stores based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with stores located across the U.S.A. A major competitor for Michaels, stores carry a variety of arts and crafts products, including scrapbooking, beading, knitting, rubber stamping, home decor items, floral items, kids’ crafts, paints, framing, greenery, baking and many seasonal items (Whitford, 2010).
Hobby Lobby stores are larger in square footage than Michael’s stores, mainly because inventory selection is much broader. The chain carries much more than just art and crafts supplies. Shoppers can also purchase fabric and houseware items, which take up a large amount of the space in the store. While Hobby Lobby does have more products Michael’s, in my opinion, Michael’s would be the better choice for locating specific specialty crafting items.
Michael’s store locations are often nestled within shopping complexes near grocery and clothing stores. This puts them in close proximity to everyday shoppers, particularly during holiday seasons of any kind. Hobby Lobby stores are positioned near larger shopping districts where one may find Costco or other warehouse shopping centers. They tend to offer ample parking and sit on lots alone.
Hobby Lobby is cheaper on average than Michael’s for similar products and name brand items. Both stores, however, have excellent sales each week and offer online and printed coupons, particularly during the holiday season. Discounts tend to be deeper at Michael’s and promotions more frequent; however, in general Hobby Lobby is more likely to offer better pricing and overall value. Both stores offer shopper incentives and reward or loyalty programs.
Cashiers and customer service reps are readily available in both stores. In general, customer service is friendly and helpful at either Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. General operating hours are from 9 a.m. To 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday) for both chains. Lines are relatively shorter at Hobby Lobby. There is more store traffic which can lead to longer check out times if only a couple of registers are open. Michael’s may also have long check-out times due to only operating one to two registers at a time.
Michael’s stores are smaller and tend to be easier to shop and navigate through. Sections are clearly labeled, although stocking during shopping hours may mean more clutter and disruption to the shopping experience. Hobby Lobby is similarly organized, but the inventory levels are heavy and merchandise is be difficult to locate in the store, and even harder to reach on the high shelving and storage system used in some sections of the store. Michael’s uses a barcode system while Hobby Lobby uses sticker price tags which have to potential to fall off leading to price checks at the register.
The overall atmosphere in Michael’s is serene with an at-home quality. There may be soft music playing, but it is rare. Hobby Lobby delivers the same music to all of its individual locations via satellite from headquarters. It blends light jazz, classical, bluegrass, and contemporary music styles (a large percentage of the musical selection is instrumental adaptations of traditional Christian hymns) into one single playlist which loops continuous.
Overall, Michael’s strengths include a more intimate atmosphere and quality selection of high end art and craft products that are hard to find anywhere else. The chain could potentially benefit from modernizing the inventory system, offering more open registers and more competitive pricing. When selecting a store, Hobby Lobby may be the better choice due to the larger selection of products and craft categories and better pricing. Hobby Lobby tends to also emphasize its Christian history and affiliation and work within the community. This helps their competitive standing and brand image.
Green, D. (2009). A Matter of Principle. Chain Store Age, 85(6), 22-24.
Marx, P. (2009). MICHAEL’S. New Yorker, 85(42), 30.
Whitford, D. (2010). ONE FAMILY’S HOBBY. Fortune, 162(7), 69-72.
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