A.O. Smith plans a traveling efficiency show
Ashland City, Tenn.-based A.O. Smith is about to begin a cross-country journey called the High Efficiency Revolution Tour to promote its line of water heaters.
The two-year long traveling show will begin this month, driving around the country in a custom-made RV dubbed the High Efficiency Mobile Marketing Vehicle.
After its launch from Ashland City, Tenn., the tour will visit distributor/wholesaler locations, where contractors, plumbers, specifying engineers, builders and consumers are invited to visit, the company said. The first leg of the High Efficiency Revolution Tour will travel across the western U.S., with its first stop in Sacramento, Calif., and ultimately make its way from coast to coast. The tour schedule can be found at www.hotwater.com/MMV.
Inside the van, A.O. Smith’s interactive displays will include Cirrex Solar Thermal Water Heating System, the NEXT Hybrid High Efficiency Gas, the Voltex Hybrid Electric Heat Pump, the Effex High Efficiency Gas, Tankless and the Vertex Condensing Gas water heaters.
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Wal-Mart reports sales decline in Q4
Wal-Mart Stores posted its seventh straight quarterly sales decline, falling short of its own projections for the holiday period.
Still, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant reported Tuesday that earnings for the quarter ended Jan. 31 jumped 27% as its international stores posted strong results. Wal-Mart’s profit rose to $6.06 billion, compared with $4.76 billion a year earlier. Revenue climbed 2.5% to $115.6 billion but the gains came from Wal-Mart’s international operations. U.S. sales at the namesake Walmart unit fell 0.5% to $71.1 billion, and were down 1.8% on a comparable-store basis. Wall Street had expected a 0.8% increase.
"Some of the pricing and merchandising issues in Wal-Mart ran deeper than we initially expected, and they require a response that will take time to see results," CEO and President Mike Duke said in a statement.
Going forward, the chain said it plans to focus on everyday low prices on a basket of goods, feature the broadest assortment possible and remodel Walmart stores and focus on multichannel selling to spur U.S. sales.
Proving its international strength, Wal-Mart reported fourth quarter international sales rose 8.9% to $31.4 billion, helped by particularly strong sales in Brazil, China and Mexico. Profit increased 7.1%.
However at its U.S. business, sales slid 0.5%, the second quarterly decline in a row. At Sam’s Club, revenue rose 4.4%.
Duke said in a recorded conference call Tuesday that the chain would move forward "with even greater urgency in opening small stores." The company said that it plans to open its first Walmart Express stores in the second quarter.
The company also noted during the prerecorded call that rising inflation in key raw materials such as cotton is pushing it to consolidate suppliers to improve purchasing power.
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SafeLawns.org founder promotes living soil
Edison, N.J. — American lawns don’t need to be dandelion-free, says the founder of SafeLawns.org. It’s much better for them to be healthy for children and other living things.
That’s one of the many green-minded messages Paul Tukey delivered to a small group during the New Jersey Flower & Garden Show here. Tukey is founder of the non-profit pro-environment organization SafeLawns.org
"If people want to care for their landscape naturally, they have to embrace the idea that soil is living," he said.
While he still thinks retailers should do more in terms of banning harmful pesticides from their store shelves, he said he was encouraged by the growth in the consumer demand for organic lawn care products. What was close to 0% penetration about 10 years ago has risen to about 10% of the market today. In some areas, use of organic lawn care products has risen to about 50% he said.
Tukey also promoted the cost-benefit of the organic lawn care. Although organic lawns are about 20% more expensive to maintain initially, they are less expensive over time. In five years, he said, organic lawns are about half the cost to maintain than chemically enhanced lawns.
"The way I explain it is this: Organic lawn care is an annuity," he said.
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