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3M touts new Command Hooks, shower caddies

BY Steph Koyfman

3M gave viewers a sneak peek of its latest Command Hook innovations at the Orgill Market in Boston. New outdoor, UV-stable and bathroom hooks, launching Oct. 15, were present at the 3M booth.

The Command Damage-Free Hanging Light Clips are outdoor strips that hold in temperatures of up to -20 degrees. Meanwhile, Command Damage-Free Window Hooks are UV-stable, meaning they won’t fall off in hot weather. Previous Command products, first launched about 10 years ago and now expanded to 60-70 SKUs, failed to address temperature issues as directly as these soon-to-launch items, according to sales representative Chas Nelson. 

A new collection of bathroom Command products is also on queue, ranging from water-resistant shower caddies, razor hooks and soap dishes to regular towel hooks. 

Other prominent features at 3M’s Orgill booth included the 3M-sponsored Greg Biffle Nascar car — now retired — which raced two years ago. The official pit crew was in attendance Thursday at the Orgill Market.

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Consumer confidence up slightly in August

BY HBSDealer Staff

Consumer confidence was up slightly from July’s upwardly revised score of 81.0 to 81.5 in August, though it still fell below June’s revised score of 82.1 (up dramatically from 74.3 in May).

According to The Conference Board, the Present Situation Index dipped to 70.7 from 73.6, and the Expectations Index remained fairly positive at 88.7 (up from 86.0 in July).

"Consumer Confidence increased slightly in August, a result of improving short-term expectations," said director of economic indicators Lynn Franco. "Consumers were moderately more upbeat about business, job and earning prospects. In fact, income expectations, which had declined sharply earlier this year with the payroll tax hike, have rebounded to their highest level in two and a half years. Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, on the other hand, was somewhat less favorable than last month.”

As for business conditions, those with a favorable assessment declined to 18.4% from July’s 20.8% (the number of respondents viewing them as "bad" remained stable). Similarly, upbeat sentiment toward "plentiful" jobs decreased to 11.4% from 12.3%, though 2.2% fewer people said jobs were hard to get.

Prospects for the future were hopeful, with more people expecting improved business conditions in the near future and fewer expecting them to worsen. Outlook for the labor market was similarly positive, with more people expecting more jobs to be posted and more anticipating a raise in their incomes.

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Home prices continue upward swing

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed U.S. home prices continuing up. But in some places, the growth isn’t as fast. 

The National Index grew 7.1% in the second quarter and 10.1% over the last four quarters, according to data released Tuesday morning. The 10-City and 20-City Composites posted returns of 2.2% for June and 11.9% and 12.1% over 12 months.

“National home prices rose more than 10% annually in each of the last two quarters,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, the monthly city-by-city data showed the pace of price increases is moderating.

“The Southwest and California have consistently led the recovery with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco posting at least 15 months of gains. Looking at the cities, New York recorded its highest monthly return since 2002. Atlanta was up the most at +3.4% and Washington, D.C., had the lowest return at +1.0%. In terms of annual rates of change, San Francisco lost its leadership position with Las Vegas showing the highest post-recession gain of 24.9%. 

Year-over-year, Las Vegas and San Francisco were the only two metropolitan statistical areas to post gains of more than 20%; Atlanta, Detroit and Phoenix decreased to +19.0%, +16.4% and +19.8%, respectively. 

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