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Artisan Group names new board members

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Austin, Texas-based Artisan Group announced two new 2014 board members: 
Hunter Adams, owner of Trindco Inc. in Suffolk, Va.; and Scott Lardner, owner of Rocky Mountain Stone in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Artisan Group is a member organization of stone fabricators in North America that serves as a leader in the granite and surface fabrication industry.



Adams and Lardner are filling the open slots vacated by outgoing Artisan Group charter members Brad Pearce, owner of Front Range Stone in Englewood, Colo., and Layton Day, owner of Bangor Wholesale Laminates in Bangor, Maine.

Both Hunter Adams and Scott Lardner have been longtime members of the Artisan Group and look forward to taking their place on the board.

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Existing-home sales decline 0.4% in February

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Existing-home sales dropped 0.4% in February even while home prices continued to grow.

According to data released by the National Association of Realtors this morning, total existing-home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60 million in February, compared to 4.62 million the previous month. This is also 7.1% below February 2013 levels, and the slowest pace of sales since July 2012.

Meanwhile, single-family home sales came down 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million, which is 6.9% below the sales pace in February 2013.

NAR president Steve Brown said that student debt may be contributing to a weak number of first-time buyers (who accounted for 28% of purchases in February, down from 30% a year ago). 

“It’s clear there are other people who would like to buy a home that are not in the market because of debt issues, so we can expect a lingering impact of delayed home buying,” Brown added.

The median existing-home price was $189,000, a 9.1% improvement since February 2013. For single-family homes, the median price was $189,200, up 9.0%. The NAR noted that price gains have added an additional $4 trillion of housing wealth recovery over the past three years.

“We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country last month, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead. With an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year.”

With total housing inventory rising 6.4% in February, it’s possible that prices may level off a bit in the months ahead. The current inventory of 2.00 million existing homes for sale represents a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.9 months in January and 4.6 months a year ago.

 

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Rayovac boosts flashlight offering

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Spectrum Brands Holdings announced that its Rayovac battery division has added two new products to its family of Virtually Indestructible Lights — the Virtually Indestructible Sportsman Spotlight and the Virtually Indestructible Sportsman Lantern.

The company said the products focus on consumers’ three most-wanted attributes: brightness, durability and value. Rugged and durable, these lights are water-resistant and achieve extreme brightness up to 500 lumens. Complete with a lifetime warranty, Rayovac’s Virtually Indestructible Spotlight and Lantern have been tested to withstand drops of up to 15 ft. 

“We’re proud to offer our customers a broadened family of products they can rely on,” said Harrison Smiddy, senior director of Global Product Marketing at Rayovac. “The addition of the Lantern and Spotlight to Rayovac’s Virtually Indestructible lighting series makes the product line even more dynamic, outputting more lumens and offering more applications for outdoor activities. The virtually indestructible design of these lights provides consumers with a long-term solution.”

The Virtually Indestructible Sportsman Spotlight is for activities like camping, hiking, fishing and hunting. The multi-use lighting device offers three light modes — high, medium or low — and provides 500 lumens. It has an MSRP of $39.99.

The Virtually Indestructible Sportsman Lantern is for the outdoor enthusiast. The 400 Lumen High Performance LED can be placed into three light modes: high, medium or low. Running on three D alkaline batteries, this lantern has up to a 280-hour battery runtime, providing a long-lasting and reliable source of light for any outdoor application. It has an MSRP of $29.99. 

Rayovac’s Virtually Indestructible Lighting series includes flashlights, headlights, lanterns and spotlights in both a Sportsman line and an Industrial Grade line.

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