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Consumer confidence at 17-year high

BY Marianne Wilson
Consumers are entering the holiday season in very high spirits.
 
U.S. consumer confidence increased for a fifth consecutive month and remains at a 17-year high, according to The Conference Board. The Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in October, increased further in November. The Index now stands at 129.5, up from 126.2 in October. It is the highest mark since the index hit 132.6 in November 2000.
 
“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved moderately, while their expectations regarding the short-term outlook improved more so, driven primarily by optimism of further improvements in the labor market,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. Consumers foresee the economy expanding at a healthy pace into the early months of 2018, Franco added.
 
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved moderately in November. The percentage saying business conditions are “good” increased from 34.4% to 34.9%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 13.5% to 12.7%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market also improved. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased from 36.7% to 37.1%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 17.1% to 16.9%.
 
Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook was also more favorable in November. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased slightly from 22.1% to 22.4%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen decreased from 7.0% to 6.5%.
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Strong Q4 and fiscal 2017 for Central Garden & Pet

BY HBSDealer Staff

Central Garden & Pet Company, the lawn and garden and pet products supplier, reported fourth quarter 2017 net sales rose 18.6% to $490.5 million compared to $413.4 million in the fourth quarter a year ago.

The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based company also reported a net income of $4.3 million for period compared to a net loss of $5.6 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. 

Central Garden & Pet said it benefited from acquisitions, an extra week compared to the prior year period, and strength in the company's dog-and-cat-related business. Branded product sales increased nearly 19.4% to $393.5 million during the fourth quarter while sales of other manufacturers’ products increased nearly 15.9% to $97 million. Organic sales growth, excluding the extra week, increased 3.6%. 

For fiscal 2017, net sales increased 12.3% to $2.05 billion from $1.83 billion a year ago. Branded product sales of $1.65 billion increased 14.1% and sales of other manufacturers’ products increased 5.7% to $408.9 million. Fiscal 2017 contained an additional week compared to fiscal 2016. Organic sales growth, adjusting for businesses purchased or exited that impacted the year and excluding the extra week, rose 4.8%, the company reported. 

For the full year, Central Garden & Pet reported a net income of $78.8 million: a 77.1% increase compared to $44.5 million in fiscal 2016.

"We are very pleased with the record revenue and earnings that Central realized in 2017," said George Roeth, president and CEO of Central Garden & Pet. "Even more gratifying is the success we achieved in significantly advancing our strategy to support long-term sustainable growth in the future." 

Net sales for the garden segment, all organic, increased 12% compared to the fourth quarter a year ago to $160.0 million. The Garden segment’s branded product sales were $126.1 million in the quarter, up 9.4% compared to the fourth quarter a year ago. Sales of other manufacturers’ products grew 23.3% to $33.9 million. Organic sales, excluding the extra week, were up 4.1% on strength in the segment's controls & fertilizer category and an increase in sales of other manufacturers' products.

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T.WHALEN says:
Nov-30-2017 04:05 pm

Please renew
Please renew

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Throwback Thursday: Here’s Harvey Hackit

BY HBSDealer Staff

Meet Harvey Hackit, the reluctant handyman who, with a little help, becomes the complete master of his house. Hackit was the creation of the Lowe’s marketing team more than 35 years ago.  

The Oct. 13, 1990 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, reported the story under the headline: “Reluctant handyman is Lowe’s latest ad angle.”

In the introductory comic strip above, Hackit says: “I used to be all thumbs, completely lost in the do-it-yourself jungle. To me, a claw hammer was nothing to mess with. There were things around the house that needed to be done, but I just couldn’t hack it.”

Here’s what Lowe’s director of investor relations William F. Brantley said about the character: “He’s a good visual shorthand and a simple way to give the reluctant, Saturday morning do-it-yourselfer some courage. We saw the character evolve from early scratch boards and he has become better. People are talking about him and saying that Harvey Hackit is their father or their cousin. They know someone like him.”

Despite his everyman appeal, Hackit was always intended to be used sparingly because heavy DIYers and contractor customers could not identify with him, Lowe’s reasoned. 

Do you remember Harvey Hackit? Tell us at [email protected].

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