HARDWARE STORES

Britain’s oldest hardware store set to close

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Gill & Co. Ironmongers of Oxford, England, has been in business since the reign of King Henry VIII but now is being forced to close its doors, according to an article from the Daily Mail.

The store, which has been in business since 1530, has seen the turnover of 20 monarchs and 76 prime ministers over nearly 500 years. It cited the economic downturn and increased competition from large hardware chains like B&Q and Homebase as reasons for its closure, the article said.

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AHMA Confidence Index up again for June

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index improved in June to 283.3 from 258.3 in May (October 2008 = 100), while the Future Expectations Index fell slightly to 248.3 from 260.3 a month earlier.

The Current Situation index was indicative of all-time high levels for the 20-month-old survey.

In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 68% of respondents said sales were higher in June compared with last year, up from 62% in May. For June, 22% reported sales were even, and 10% said sales were below year-ago levels.

Looking forward six months, 66% of June respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, down from 69% in May. In June, 27% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months, and just 7% expect sales to be below current levels.

Looking forward one year, 78% of respondents projected sales will be higher, down from 82% who felt that way in May. Seventeen percent of June respondents projected sales will be even one year from now, and 5% projected sales will be below current levels.

“While it is encouraging to see 68% of the respondents to our member survey report higher sales in June versus year-ago levels, we remain cautious about the prospects for a strong economic environment as we head into the second half of 2010,” said Timothy Farrell, president and CEO of the AHMA. “Specifically, for example, reports released in late June showing pending home sales down 30% and new-home sales at record low levels, combined with continuing high unemployment levels in the country, lead us to believe that we still have a long way to go before the home improvement industry can confidently expect expansion going forward,” he said.

The April Confidence Index survey asked two supplemental questions of AHMA members. Of the first, “Do you think it is right for the Obama administration to use the Gulf oil spill as motivation to push for new climate and energy legislation?” 24% responded “Yes,” 12% responded “Not Sure,” and 63% responded “No.”

To the second question, “Do you approve or disapprove of the manner in which President Obama handled the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan?” 41% responded “Approve,” 22% responded “Not Sure,” and 37% responded “Disapprove.”

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Hardware store founder dies at 89

BY HBSDEALER Staff

George Dean, the founder of Northshore Ace Hardware in Muskegon, Mich., and a former Muskegon pro hockey player, passed away from heart complications Wednesday, according to an article from the Meskegon Chronicle. He was 89.

Dean was captain of the Muskegon Sailors between the late 1930s and early 1940s, before he left professional hockey to fight in World War II, according to the article.

He opened the Northshore store in 1955 and passed the business to his sons in 1986. He is survived by his wife, June; three sons, Kevin, Greg and Tim; and two daughters, Linda Roberts and Wendy Johnson.

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