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Big boxes juggle their appliance assortments

BY Brae Canlen

The Home Depot and Lowe’s are adjusting their lineups in their appliance assortments. At Home Depot, Samsung joins the fray, while Lowe’s introduced LG.

At Home Depot, Samsung Electronics America products will be available to be ordered in store locations nationwide and on Homedepot.com beginning Dec. 9. "Adding Samsung’s line of home appliances to the roster really bolsters our offering to meet the growing needs of our consumers," said Bob Baird, merchandising VP.

Lowe’s has announced the addition of LG Electronics brand refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and ranges starting in the first quarter of 2013. The appliances will be carried in Lowe’s stores nationwide, and also available on Lowes.com.

"Through this strategic alliance with LG, our stores will now have a broader assortment of innovation and leading designs in appliances to help customers improve and maintain their homes," said Craig Webber, Lowe’s merchandising VP. As with its other major appliances, Lowe’s will offer next-day delivery and in-house repairs and maintenance, he added.

Lowe’s and Home Depot, the two top home improvement retailers, are struggling to gain market share in the appliance category. Last July, Home Depot announced the expansion of its major appliance brands by adding Whirlpool, Electrolux and Frigidaire in a limited number of stores and on Homedepot.com.

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Electrolux’s North American laundry products head to N.C.

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Electrolux will relocate its North American laundry products research and development center to Charlotte, N.C., from Webster City, Iowa.

The move signals the company’s commitment to further product innovation in its fabric care business and builds on the design, testing and marketing capabilities that already exist in its Charlotte-based North American headquarters.

“Electrolux is driving a strong pace of new product innovation to continually create consumer value,” said Chris Harris, VP laundry and dish care products, Electrolux Major Appliances North America. “We are increasing our R&D investment, moving closer to major science, engineering and technology universities and leveraging on the state-of-the-art research facilities that we already have in Charlotte.”

Electrolux will bring 80 research and development jobs to the city, growing its local employment to more than 800. The new positions will include engineering, product design and testing. Despite challenges in the economy, the company continues to outperform the U.S. home appliance industry.

Product design and testing will be discontinued at the company’s Webster City, Iowa, facility in the third quarter of 2013.

“This was a difficult but necessary decision,” Harris added. “The company is committed to assisting our Webster City employees and we are making this announcement nearly a year in advance to help with the transition."

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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 30, 2012

*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.

Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.

Lumber: Word that China purchased additional volumes out of the western SPF lumber market fueled up-limit moves in futures and a significant buy-in in the cash market beginning Tuesday and lasting through Wednesday. Mill order files extended at least through Dec. 17, if not through the year’s end. Southern Pine lumber sales were sluggish, leading to less upward price movement. No urgency among mills to discount beyond a few dollars on a few scattered items left many prices flat. Lumber prices continue to trend higher in the Coastal species market, led by narrow widths which gathered momentum early. The influence of strong futures gains and rising SPF prices were credited for the strong demand. A rally in the lumber futures market added strength to an already improving Inland dimension market. The needs of buyers outweighed the volume of wood being offered, and control of the market remained in the hands of producers. Availability of Radiata Pine tightened and buyers had to work to find coverage in Mldg&Btr. Producers have not adjusted prices, but talk of price increases for 2013 circulated. The Ponderosa Pine industrials market continues to stumble along without clear direction. Prices remained stagnant, as light sales did little to encourage sellers to raise prices. Steady sales of ESLP boards were reported. Eastern White Pine board markets remained stable and prices were firm. Some relief from difficulties securing log supplies was reported. A week of strong bookings helped Western Red Cedar mills fill order files at least through January. Anything sold beyond that date is most often done on a PTS basis.

Panels: An uptick in OSB activity on Tuesday afternoon turned into a rally by Wednesday afternoon. OSB buyers looked for early December wood at the secondary level. Many mills quoted shipment in late December or were off the market entirely. Southern Pine plywood traders often pointed to the calendar when describing market activity. While mills generally held onto the same quoted levels, a few spot deals did take place. Western Fir plywood producers experienced a good week of sales, allowing them to move order files more firmly into the weeks of Dec. 10 and 17. Shipments to a robust Canadian market helped keep supplies in check. The surge in activity in the Canadian Plywood market had quieted somewhat by Friday, but not before mill order files moved out to the week of Jan. 21 or 28, depending on the mill and the item. MDF and particleboard markets continued on a steady, yet seasonal pace. Minor slowing at a few mills was noted in MDF sales. Moulding manufacturers continued to purchase strong MDF volumes.

For more on RISI, click here.

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