Ainsworth Lumber hires new CFO
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ainsworth Lumber has appointed Chris Davies as chief financial officer, effective Nov. 2.
Previously, Davies was VP finance and chief financial officer of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates’ Information Products Division. In addition, he spent 16 years with KPMG’s Vancouver office, focusing on British Columbia’s forestry sector.
He is a qualified ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certification specialist and has performed many certifications of forestry operations and pulp and paper mills.
Davies succeeds Robert Allen, who has left the company.
Lowe’s to open four new stores
Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s announced it will be opening four new stores Oct 23. The new stores will be in Philadelphia and Exeter, Pa.; Glenville, N.Y.; and Paso Robles, Calif. There will be opening ceremony celebrations Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. at each of the stores.
The company announced its fiscal-year new-store growth plan in September at 62 to 66 stores in 2009, reflecting total square footage growth of approximately 4%.
At HIRI, NPD points to hot products
Research firm NPD Group discussed home projects — “what’s hot, what’s not” during the Home Improvement Research Institute’s Fall Conference.
According to Mark Delaney, director of home improvement for NPD Group, even though the average amount to be spent on a home improvement project declined 5% in August when compared with last year — going from $641 in August 2008 down to $608 — overall, the home improvement industry is doing better than most others. Delaney pointed to a poll that asked: “Considering the current economic conditions in the U.S., tell us if you plan to spend more money than usual, less money than usual or the same amount of money.” According to the poll, 11% of respondents said they plan to spend more on home improvement, four points higher than any other category.
“Home Improvement is actually showing the largest positive number of all the industries that we track,” he said. “There is clearly some pent up demand out there. I’m not going to white wash it and say that people are going out and starting to use their homes like ATMs or anything like that. It’s not large scale remodel, it’s not big type of spending — but it is spending.”
According to a planned project poll, lawns and landscaping are dominant categories, due in part to seasonality and lower price points. Increases were also seen in electrical/plumbing, roof, gutter and dining rooms, as well.
Delaney pointed to the fact that the largest percentage of the housing stock in the country is around 30 years old, and that much of home spending is based on repair and replacement, rather than remodel and updating.
Home appliances are also seeing a recovery, albeit a slow one. One section that is seeing a greater increase is replacement, which has accounted for approximately 50% to 54% of appliance trends in the last nine months.
“It’s not about people upgrading, it’s not about people going out and buying the big Viking ranges and all that stuff that they were doing in 2006 and 2007. It’s all about washing machines that finally wear out that have to be replaced or refrigerators that just die,” said Delaney.
Delaney said that the biggest decreases were in home offices, workout rooms and other luxury type upgrades.