Future shock: We got some right!

When most magazines make predictions, they are long forgotten by the time actual events reveal the forecasts to be accurate or embarrassing. Not so here at Home Channel News. We keep track of our predictions. And sometimes we even publish the results.

Back in January, this editorial space looked into the seeds of time with industry predictions for 2008. Some of them were bold, some were cautious, but all of them were offered in the spirit of “use at your own risk.”

Here’s a recap of some of the major predictions.

Prediction: After a tumultuous 2007, Home Depot will experience a relatively quiet year.

Actuality: You can read all about it in the special section that begins on page 17. The year was far from quiet, but CEO Frank Blake told us directly: “2007 had a lot more moving parts.” If you’re keeping score at home, count this one as a push.

Prediction: Credit card debt will emerge as a bugaboo of the business pages to rival the “subprime crisis.”

Actuality: You don’t hear the phrase “subprime” as much as you used to, but you certainly see tremendous concern over the related issue of bad investments in mortgage-backed securities. Meanwhile, a Market Watch headline recently reported: “Bad credit-card debt could be next shot to rip through economy.” Score this one another push.

Prediction: Lowe’s Canada will grow its business organically, despite suggestions that an acquisition is necessary in a mature market.

Actuality: That was January. In July, the company announced plans for three Canadian stores to open in the fourth quarter. How did we see the future so clearly? It was written in black and white in Lowe’s annual report.

Prediction: ProBuild Holdings will grow at a pace of one significant acquisition per month.”

Actuality: Pretty close. Since January, we’ve watched six companies join the ProBuild group: Jasper Lumber, Northeast Panel & Truss, Collins Truss Systems, Khempco Building Supply, Big Buck Building Centers and CTX Builders Supply. That’s six. We were 50 percent right.

Prediction: Ace will ride out its accounting error, while avoiding the kinds of mass defections suffered by TruServ almost a decade ago.

Actuality: It is fair to say that this prediction has come to pass. The rank and file appear to be looking ahead .Without trivializing the seriousness of the accounting error and its impact on members, the $150 million scope of the accounting discrepancy seems to fly below the radar, especially as it contrasts to the truly massive figures being tossed around through corporate scandals or federal bailouts.

Prediction: For the 56th consecutive election, voters will elect a male for president.

Actuality: Bingo. This forecast didn’t seem nearly so obvious back in January. It’s worth repeating, this prediction did not constitute an endorsement.

Prediction: After a roller coaster year on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average will finish on a high note at 13,500.

Actuality: Generous reader, as the DJIA hovers around 8,500, let us turn our eyes from this forecast and reflect upon the difficulty of short-term stock market predictions.

For the complete list of 2008 predictions, visit homechannelnews.com and send us your best bets for 2009.

But be advised: we keep track.

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