Building material sales hold steady
Back-to-school sales lifted the latest Commerce Department report on monthly retail sales for August, which had its best showing in five months. The back-to-school crowd couldn’t lift the home channel’s month-to-month numbers, however.
Overall, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August came to an adjusted $363.7 billion, an increase of 0.4% from the previous month, and up 3.6% August 2009.
The adjusted advanced estimate for building material dealers and garden equipment and supplies dealers for the month of August were $23.3 billion, unchanged from July, but up 4.9% from $22.2 billion in August 2009.
On a non-adjusted basis, building material dealers, hardware stores and paint and wallpaper stores slipped in July, the latest month of available data for the latter two classifications.
On an unadjusted basis, preliminary estimates for hardware stores (NAICS code 44413) were $1.621 billion, down from $1.726 billion in June, but up from $1.591 billion in July 2009.
Paint and wallpaper stores, also a subset of the 444 sector, showed preliminary sales of $783 million in July, down from $800 million in June, and down from $805 million in July 2009.
The larger category of building material and garden equipment and suppliers dealers, (classification 444), which includes the hardware stores group, was estimated in July to reach $25.581 billion, down from $28.411 billion in June, but up from $24.867 billion in July 2009.
“Most Americans are in a much better financial position than a year ago, but they are still spending cautiously, looking for bargains and comparing prices before buying,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.
HD Supply sees signs of stabilization
HD Supply today reported net sales of $1.974 billion for the second quarter, up slightly from $1.973 billion in the same quarter last year.
Consolidated net loss for the second quarter of fiscal 2010 was $115 million, compared with a net loss of $89 million for the same period in fiscal 2009.
“As we enter the second half of this year, we are beginning to see signs of economic and industry stabilization and are cautiously optimistic,” said CEO Joe DeAngelo. “We continue to invest in the critical growth areas for our business that will uniquely position HD Supply to grow faster than the markets as they recover.”
Net sales for the first six months of fiscal 2010 were $3.8 billion, a decline of 2.8% compared with the first six months of fiscal 2009. Operating income in the first six months of fiscal 2010 improved $11 million to $5 million compared with an operating loss of $6 million in the first six months of fiscal 2009.
“Over the past six months, we have enhanced our product mix, continued to improve our operational efficiencies and have made critical investments in our technology systems. In addition, our teams are intensely focused on maintaining and growing current customer relationships, and earning new business by providing outstanding service to our customers,” DeAngelo added. “Our growing liquidity and the extension of the majority of our debt maturities to 2014 enhances our solid financial position.”
Lowe’s expands energy center nationwide
After a 21-store trial period in California last year, Lowe’s announced it is launching its Energy Center nationwide.
Designed to be a one-stop destination for energy-saving products, Lowe’s said The Energy Center is a fully integrated energy solution, bringing products that measure, reduce and generate energy to one convenient location.
“The Energy Center builds on Lowe’s commitment to bring more innovative products and services to our customers,” said Nick Canter, Lowe’s EVP merchandising. “By pulling together comprehensive options to help them manage their energy use, the Energy Center makes it easier for customers to become more energy efficient while putting money back in their pocket.”
The new Energy Centers take a three-tier approach to saving energy around the home. They feature products to measure energy loss, reduce energy consumption and even help generate new energy through solar power.