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Consumer confidence reels in the aftermath of shutdown

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Consumer confidence took a big hit in October. 

At 71.2, the index was down 11.2% from September’s upwardly revised figure of 80.2, the Conference Board reports.

Confidence had declined slightly in September as well (from August’s 81.8), which suggests that the Congressional standoff wasn’t the only factor driving October’s figures down (though it was still one of the sharpest drops since last January, during the sequestration crisis).

“Consumer confidence deteriorated considerably as the federal government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis took a particularly large toll on consumers’ expectations," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Similar declines in confidence were experienced during the payroll tax hike earlier this year, the fiscal cliff discussions in late 2012, and the government shutdown in 1995/1996. However, given the temporary nature of the current resolution, confidence is likely to remain volatile for the next several months."

The Present Situation Index was down to 70.7 from 73.5. Though fewer people assessed current business conditions as "good," the amount of respondents viewing them as "bad" also decreased. There was a 0.1% increase in those viewing jobs as "plentiful," but at the same time, more people said that jobs are "hard to get."

Meanwhile, the Expectations Index fell to 71.5 from 84.7. This was consistent with a drop in those expecting business conditions to improve, as well as an increase in those expecting them to worsen.

October’s reading is the lowest since April 2013, though it still comes in behind the year-ago index of 73.1.

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Electrolux plant celebrates milestone

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Electrolux hit a 25-year milestone at its refrigeration plant in Anderson, S.C.

The plant’s 1,800 employees manufacture 9,300 top-mount refrigerators each day, or 2 million annually.  Each year, the company manufactures one out of every two top-mount refrigerators sold in the U.S. market. 

To celebrate the milestone, all plant employees, along with their families, were invited to partake in a variety of festivities, including plant tours, hayrides, music, kids’ activities and a barbecue lunch. 

Highlights of the day included the recognition of employees who had been with the plant since the first day in 1988 and a reading of a letter of congratulations sent by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to Jack Truong, president and CEO of Electrolux Major Appliances North America. 

The Governor’s letter stated in part: “Electrolux has provided many opportunities for our state and our citizens, and we are proud to count your company among the many world-class companies that call South Carolina home. We build things in South Carolina, and we build them well.” 

In addition, the local fire department offered fire safety training, and the animal shelter offered animals for adoption. The plant made a donation to both organizations to thank them for helping make the event special for families.  

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Imark honors Klein Tools

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Klein Tools received Imark Group’s “supplier of the year” award at its annual meeting in Carlsbad, Calif., earlier this month. 

Imark is a member-owned marketing group of independently owned electrical distributors. This award was voted on by its 1,140 members and is the highest honor a vendor can receive. 

Imark Group’s membership includes more than 70 members in the Top 200 largest distributors in the country. Member companies serve their local customers from more than 2,000 branch locations. With more than $15 billion in combined sales, Imark Group is the largest member-owned, member-governed cooperative in the U.S. electrical industry.

“Klein works with IMARK members to develop marketing and sales strategies that hit business objectives, stimulate growth and provide end users with the highest-quality tools,” said Mark Klein, VP domestic sales. “This award confirms that the member partnerships we are building are working and creating a platform for future success.”

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