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Category Scorecard: Kitchen & bath

BY HBSDEALER Staff

 

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Blue Rhino acquires Mr. Bar-B-Q

BY Ken Clark

Blue Rhino, a division of Ferrellgas Partners, one of the nation’s largest distributors of propane, announced today the acquisition of Mr. Bar-B-Q, a leading provider of high-quality barbecue tools, accessories and parts, headquartered in Old Bethpage, New York.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Blue Rhino is sold at thousands of retail stores nationwide. Through Blue Rhino’s Global Sourcing arm, the partnership is also a top provider of barbecue grills and outdoor living products through some of the nation’s leading retail outlets. 

Ferrellgas President and CEO Steve Wambold pointed out: “Mr. Bar-B-Q is the perfect complement to Blue Rhino’s propane tank exchange brand and its wide assortment of outdoor living products.”

He added: “Mr. Bar-B-Q has long prided itself in offering ‘Everything for the Grill.’ As we marry the Mr. Bar-B-Q brand with Blue Rhino, consumers will be able to exchange for our ready-to-grill tanks at the front of the store and then find our propane-powered products and barbecue accessories elsewhere in that same store. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us and our retail partners. Although Mr. Bar-B-Q doesn’t represent our typical acquisition, it clearly meets our strict criteria. Its diverse product offerings fit quite neatly into our portfolio, and will add to our earnings at once. We’re thrilled to welcome the company and its employees to our family.”

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Consumer Confidence takes a dip

BY Ken Clark

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in February, declined in March. The Index now stands at 59.7 (1985=100), down from 68.0 in February. The Present Situation Index decreased to 57.9 from 61.4. The Expectations Index declined to 60.9 from 72.4 last month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was March 14.

Said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer Confidence fell sharply in March, following February’s uptick. This month’s retreat was driven primarily by a sharp decline in expectations, although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions. The loss of confidence, particularly expectations, mirrors the losses experienced this past December and January. The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident.”   

The data was released shortly after a glowing S&P/Case-Shiller report on housing prices showed gains across the board.

Still, consumers’ appraisal of current conditions declined in March. Those saying business conditions are “good” decreased to 16.0% from 17.6%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” increased to 29.3% from 28.2%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was mixed. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 9.4% from 10.1%, but those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 36.2% from 36.9%.

Consumers are once again pessimistic about the short-term outlook. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 14.4% from 18.0%, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen increased to 18.3% from 16.6%.

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