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In Cologne: 2,657 companies from 50 countries

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Cologne, Germany — The Internationale Eisenwarenmesse — or, International Hardware Fair — opened its doors Sunday, kicking off four days of product hunting and business dealing with an international flavor.

Of the 2,657 companies exhibiting on the massive Koelnmesse trade show complex, 83 hail from the United States — from Arrow Fastener to Zircon Corp.

The event is organized along four categories of products: tools, industrial supply, fasteners and fixings, and home improvement. Show organizers say the trends of “ergonomic, light and powerful” will be on display throughout the tool segment of the fair, as exhibitors react to consumer and builder preference.

Sustainability is another high-interest area, according to organizers.

The once-every-other-year hardware fair has 387 German exhibitors. China, with 882 exhibitors, has the most.

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Stat Flash: Consumer perception index slips

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group shows consumer perception of the economy slipped in February compared with the previous month and the previous year.

The February figure for the NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator measured 39.5, with 0 being “very concerned” and 100 being “very confident.”

“Layoffs and job losses continue to be Americans’ top concern,” according to NPD. For the second straight month, younger consumers continue to feel most optimistic about the economy.

The NPD Group’s U.S. Economic Perception Indicator measures consumer beliefs about the current and near-term state of the U.S. economy.

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Menards eyes Kansas City

BY HBSDealer Staff

Menards is looking to open as many as six stores in the Kansas City metro area, according to an article in the Kansas City Business Journal.

Kansas City officials said the home improvement chain has submitted initial plans for a 162,340-sq.-ft. store accompanied by eight pad sites for a large retail center that Menards would develop on vacant property. A rezoning hearing is scheduled before the city’s planning commission on March 6.

A Menards spokesman would not confirm or deny the number of units the retailer is planning for the area.

Sources familiar with Menards’ plans said the company is actively considering locations in Liberty, Lee’s Summit, Grandview, Independence,and Overland Park.

The Kansas City metro area already has 17 Home Depot stores and 12 Lowe’s locations, according to the newspaper.

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