Best Buy goes outdoors
Best Buy, the consumer electronics retailer, is venturing into the outdoor living category, according to several news reports.
The Richfield, Minn.-based company has begun testing several product lines dedicated to outdoor living, including grills, pergolas, fire pits, outdoor heaters, lights and patio furniture. The new offerings also include rock-shaped speakers and HDTVs specifically designed for outdoor use.
The products are available in an undisclosed number of California Best Buy stores, as well as on the company’s web site, ranging in price from $11.99 for solar stakes to $5,703.99 for a pergola with privacy wall.
Other recent new Best Buy product categories have included musical instruments and electronic bikes. Best Buy could not be reached for comment on this report.
Deere names new chief executive
Deere & Co., the Moline, Ill.-based manufacturer of lawn, landscaping, agricultural, forestry and construction equipment, has named Samuel Allen as its new chairman and CEO, effective Aug. 1. Allen will assume the titles of president and chief operating officer on June 1. The 55-year-old executive will replace Robert Lane. No reason was given for Lane’s departure, although the company said the change has been planned for 18 months.
Allen will become the ninth chief executive in the company’s 172-year history. Allen has worked for John Deere for 34 years, most recently as president of the worldwide construction & forestry division. Other responsibilities included senior positions in John Deere’s power systems, credit operations, intelligence solutions group, human resources, industrial relations the agricultural division and consumer products.
In a prepared statement, Allen said he was honored to take the helm, and added: “We have significant challenges but exciting global opportunities.”
One of those challenges was reflected by recent layoffs at the John Deere Ottumwa Works in Iowa. Of the total production work force, 494 will go on indefinite layoff effective June 29, while the remaining 195 will face “periodic inventory adjustment layoffs throughout the next several months,” the company announced June 2.
The Ottumwa Works manufactures balers, mower conditioners, windrowers and pull-type forage harvesters used by hay and livestock producers.
In its most recent quarter ended first quarter ended April 30, the company posted net income of $472.3 million, down 38.1% from $763.5 million in the same quarter last year. Revenues declined 17% to $6.784 billion.
Deere & Co. also announced the promotion of Michael Mack, the SVP and CFO, to take Allen’s place as president of the worldwide construction & forestry division.
Azek Porch classified for fire zones
Azek Building Products announced that Azek Porch joins Azek Deck on the list of products tested and classified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for use in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire zones in the State of California. WUI zones are geographical areas where undeveloped wildland and flammable vegetation meet human development and structures.
“We feel it is an important assurance to our customers that all of our decking and porch profiles are classified for California fire hazard zones,” said Brian Kincaid, VP marketing, Azek Building Products. “Along with Azek Deck’s building code reports, it demonstrates that our decking products are tested and safe.”
Beyond simple A, B or C fire ratings, these new building fire codes published by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection went into effect Jan. 1, 2008. The updated tests were created to reduce the speed and spread of fires from burning embers carried by winds that would land on roofs, decking or other surfaces. The testing criteria under Code 12.7A-4 includes burning embers on the surface and under-deck flame ignition.