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Up and down: AHMA reports mixed Industry Confidence metrics

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index improved in September to 245.8 from 191.7 in August, while the Future Expectations Index fell to 148.3 from 193.1 a month earlier.

In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 59% of respondents said sales were higher in September versus year-ago levels, up from 46% in August. For September, 14% reported sales were even, and 27% said sales were below year-ago levels.

AHMA CEO Timothy Farrell expressed caution: “While it is certainly a positive sign that 59% of our survey respondents reported improving sales in September, we remain cautious about the prospects for future sales given the continuing climate of economic and political uncertainty in the country, which is restraining manufacturers as they plan investments in their businesses going forward.”

Looking forward six months, 36% of September respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, down from 44% in August. In September, 32% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months, and 32% expect sales to be below current levels.

Looking forward one year, 50% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 68% who felt that way in August. Thirty-six percent of September respondents project sales will be even one year from now, and 14% project sales will be below current levels.

The data collected from the survey produces two Indexes indicating: 1) Current Situation and 2) Future Expectations. Both Indexes use survey data from October 2008 as the base reference point so that October 2008 = 100.

The September Confidence Index survey also included questions designed to capture the political and economic mood of the AHMA members by asking two supplemental questions:

“Do you feel Republicans will win control of the House of Representatives as a result of the upcoming November elections?” and “President Obama has recently hinted that he may make changes to his economic team involving Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner or National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers. Would you approve of such a move?”

To the first question, on the control of the House, 86% responded “Yes,” 9% responded “Not Sure,” and 5% responded “No.”

On the economic team changes, 73% responded “Approve,” 18% responded “Not Sure,” and 9% responded “Disapprove.”

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Jersey Shore TV: Home improvement edition

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A home in Seaside Heights, N.J., will receive a makeover on the regional home improvement show “George to the Rescue.” A new porch and four-season room built with AZEK deck products will figure prominently.

The renovated house belongs to a family whose father suffered a severe stroke that left him paralyzed. One feature of the renovation is its low-maintenance requirement, according to Michael Gori, decking product manager for AZEK Building Products.

“AZEK Tahoe nicely matches the look of homes along the New Jersey shoreline and will resist stains, scratches and even moisture for years to come,” Gori said.

The show will appear Oct. 9 on NBC local media stations.

“There is nothing more rewarding than helping deserving families and making their home improvement dreams a reality,” said the show’s host, George Oliphant.

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Dealer named in drywall suit

BY HBSDEALER Staff

ASouth Dakota couple who claim their house was built with toxic drywall has named ProBuild, along with manufacturer US Gypsum, as defendants in a federal lawsuit, according to an article in the Daily Republic.

Brandon and Renae Gades of Mitchell, S.D., claim that they made extensive renovations to their home using drywall that was contaminated by sulfur dioxide and other harmful substances. These contaminants resulted in health problems and emotional distress, they allege.

The couple said they moved out of the home after their toddler had a seizure in April 2009. They claim that their home is now “valueless.”

US Gypsum produced the drywall, according to the court record. UBC/ProBuild is listed as a building supply center owned by ProBuild Holdings.

USG denies that any of the company’s drywall installed in the Gades home contains any harmful substance, the newspaper reported.

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