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July 17, 2012

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose six points for July on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the largest one-month gain recorded by the index in nearly a decade, and brings the HMI to its highest point -- 35 -- since March 2007.

June 13, 2012

Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro has released a financial update for fiscal 2012 to “reflect the pressures driven by lower-than-expected sales and unfavorable product mix,” according to a company press release.

Consumer purchases of its products at its largest retail partners in the United States are up 3% on a year-to-date basis, compared with 8% entering May. The company expects to fall short of its previous guidance of 6% to 8% sales growth and adjusted earnings of $2.65 to $2.85 per share. 

April 16, 2012

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes declined for the first time in seven months this April, sliding three notches to 25 on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The decline brings the index back to where it was in January, which was the highest level since 2007.

February 21, 2012

Consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group shows some positive movement in consumer sentiment in January, but concerns linger.

The January figure for the NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator rose to 40.0 on a scale of 0 -- "very concerned" -- to 100 -- "very confident." The figure is an improvement upon 37.4 recorded in December, but it is below the year-ago figure of 41.4:

January 13, 2012

One of the top stories this week was the introduction of Robert Marchbank as CEO of Denver-based ProBuild Holdings. Marchbank is s former executive with Wolseley, where he led European businesses, among other positions.

December 19, 2011

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose two points to 21 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for December. This marks the third consecutive month in which builder confidence has improved, and brings the index to its highest point since May 2010. 

December 9, 2011

Consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group shows consumers are feeling a little better about the economy, but not as good as they felt last year at this time.

The November 2011 NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator, a measure of consumer confidence, increased slightly to an index reading of 37.4, on a scale of 0 -- "very concerned" -- to 100 -- "very confident."

The November reading is up from 35.9 in October. A year ago, the perception indicator index was at 40.5.

December 1, 2011

A report from Global Hunter Securities describes the new-home market as "finally forming a bottom."

Based on the number of new homes available for sale, the months required to sell them and the total new homes for sale, there's some good news, according to Global Hunter Securities: "We believe the new-home market is finally forming a bottom."

November 30, 2011

The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) rose in October on both a month-to-month and year-over-year basis.

The forward-looking indicator based on contract signings jumped 10.4% to an index of 93.3 in October, compared with a reading of 84.5 in September. The latest figure is up 9.2% compared with October 2010.

November 29, 2011

The Conference Board reported Tuesday morning that its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 56.0 in November, up from 40.9 in October.

That's not the only metric improving. The Expectations Index rose to 67.8 from 50.0, and the Present Situation Index increased to 38.3 from 27.1. 

It's certainly not partying like 1985 -- when the Index was set at 100. But it's an improvement welcomed by Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. 

November 9, 2011

One lumber executive was from the Washington, D.C.-area. Another was based in San Marcos, Texas. One ran six units, the other 83, but they both share a common award -- the Home Channel News Pro Dealer of the Year award.

November 3, 2011

There were no mixed signals this time from the NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator. October was down from the previous month, and down ever more from the previous year.

Consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group showed that consumers are increasingly concerned about the economy. The October 2011 NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator, a measure of consumer confidence, decreased slightly to an index reading of 35.9, on a scale of 0 -- "very concerned" -- to 100 -- "very confident."

October 24, 2011

Taylor, Mich.-based Masco Corp. reported third-quarter sales of $2 billion, up 3% from the same quarter last year. Masco's net income was $36 million for the quarter, compared with a net loss of $5 million in the third quarter of 2010.

CEO Tim Wadhams said the top line was lifted by "strong sales of plumbing-related products driven by share gains of our Hansgrohe and Delta brands, share gains in our Installation segment and foreign currency translation."

September 16, 2011

Consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group shows a sharp rise in concern over the economy in August.

The August 2011 NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator, a measure of consumer confidence, is down slightly to an index reading of 35.1 on a scale of 0 -- "very concerned" -- to 100 -- "very confident."

The August reading is down from 39.6 in July. A year ago, the perception indicator index was at 40.3.  

September 7, 2011

The "Consumer watch" section of the Dashboard shows gas prices rose a nickel last week, the unemployment rate was unchanged, and consumer confidence is plummeting.

August 30, 2011

After an uptick in July, the Consumer Confidence Index issued by The Conference Board fell to 44.5, down from a downwardly revised 59.2 reading in July. 

The August figure is the lowest since April 2009 when the index was 40.8.

August 11, 2011

The weather is always a popular topic in discussions of retail performance, but it seems this recent quarter has produced a storm of exceptionally intense meteorological commentary.

The following are just some of the examples of CEOs talking about the weather taken from news reports of the past several days:

August 10, 2011

The one-two punch of bad weather and a weak economy took its toll on Boucherville, Quebec-based RONA's second-quarter performance. 

Canada's largest distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products posted second-quarter sales of C$34.2 million, down 2.4%. Same-store sales declined 9.6%. Net income amounted to C$39.5 million, down from C$66.3 million in the second quarter of 2010.

August 8, 2011

The challenges from unfriendly weather hit Scotts Miracle-Gro hard in the quarter ended July 2, as sales declined 10% to $1.06 billion.

The decline was driven primarily by poor weather across most of the United States throughout the duration of the lawn and garden season, as well as a more competitive promotional landscape and changes in certain retailer strategies within the mass merchandise channel, the Marysville, Ohio-based company said. 

July 29, 2011

Louisiana-Pacific Corp., the Nashville, Tenn., wood products producer, reported sales of $362.4 million for its second fiscal quarter, a 19% drop from sales of $447.5 million during the same quarter last year. Net loss from continuing operations for the quarter, which ended June 30, was $33 million, compared with a net gain of $23.6 million a year ago.

April 26, 2011

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased slightly to 65.4 in April, up from 63.8 in March, and up from 57.7 in April 2010.

April 2, 2011

Chicago -- Ace Hardware Corp. CEO Ray Griffith pointed to some positive metrics that should give encouragement to hardware retailers in 2011.

Speaking during the opening general session during the Ace Convention & Exhibits here in Chicago, he said across Ace, same-store sales at retail in the month of February were up an impressive 5.8% over last year. Transactions increased "an equally impressive" 3.6%, he said. 

"We have not seen that kind of increase in over 47 months -- not since February 2007," he said.

March 30, 2011

In addition to glossy case studies of growing members, Chicago-based True Value Co.'s freshly released 2010 Annual Report forecasts a sixth straight "consistent patronage dividend" in 2011.

The report's letter to retailers, co-signed by CEO Lyle Heidemann and chairman Brian Webb, also forecasts about 40 line reviews this year. Another forecast is for an additional 1.25 million sq. ft. of Destination True Value retail space, up from the 900,000 sq. ft. that was added in 2010.

March 29, 2011

Miami-based home builder Lennar Corp. posted a profit of $27.4 million in the first quarter ended Feb. 28. That compares with a loss of $6.5 million in the same quarter last year.

Revenues were down 3% to $558.0 million, as the company's gross margin on home sales improved 80 basis points to 20.0%.  

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