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Couples choosing grills, power tools in bridal registries

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A growing number of engaged couples are listing home-improvement products in their gift registries, according to a just released survey by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. More than 12,000 couples with 2010 wedding dates were polled in the annual survey. Highlights include:

On average, engaged couples register at three retail stores, and 3% of the respondents registered at Home Depot in 2010. This compares to 2% in 2009. 

• 43% registered for grilling, barbeque, and outdoor entertainment Items, compared to 39% in 2009. 

• 20% registered for yard/lawn care/patio items, compared to 19% in 2009. 

• 16% registered for power tools. In 2009, the number was 18%. 

• 66% registered for home appliances (irons, vacuums, fans, etc.), unchanged from 66%. 

• kitchen appliances/electrics and bakeware were the most popular gifts, at 91% and 90%, respectively.

Engaged couples are using wedding Web sites and social networking platforms like Facebook more often for their registries. The average family gift spend is $146. For friends, gifts generally average $79.

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ThinkEco displays its modern outlet at CES

BY HBSDEALER Staff

ThinkEco, a New York City-based company that develops energy efficiency technologies for homes and businesses, will show the home version of its flagship product, the modlet, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Jan. 6-9. The modlet—short for modern outlet—is the first wirelessly-communicating intelligent outlet that saves consumers money by reducing energy waste from plugged-in appliances and other consumer electronics.

ThinkEco’s modlet will be available for home use this spring with an MSRP of $50 for a starter kit that includes a two-plug modlet and a USB receiver.

"There are more appliances and consumer electronics in homes today than ever before, and many draw power all the time, even if they are not being used. This wastes energy quietly and invisibly, in stark contrast to the very visible waste associated with other resources such as keeping your faucet on or idling your car," said Jun Shimada, president and CEO of ThinkEco, Inc. "The good news is that the modlet can help to eliminate this wasteful use of power by intelligently scheduling outlets to automatically shut off power to plugged-in devices when they are not needed, and then turn them back on at a pre-set time based on historic usage patterns."

Power consumption is controlled through the modlet’s web-based interface, which allows users to see where they are wasting energy, and empowers them to take immediate action by accepting modlet-generated savings-plan recommendations.

ThinkEco’s modlet was named an International CES Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree.  In addition to previews at the ThinkEco booth, the modlet will be displayed in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention at CES in the Innovations Showcase.

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AHMA Industry Confidence Index improves

BY Ken Clark

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index improved in December to 291.7 from 208.3 in November (October 2008 = 100), while the Future Expectations Index declined slightly to 224.1 from 256.9 a month earlier.

In comparing current sales levels to year-ago levels, 70% of respondents said sales were higher in December versus year-ago levels, up from 50% in November.  For December, 17% reported sales were even, and 13% said sales were below year-ago levels.

Looking forward six months, 57% of December respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, down from 69% in November.  In December, 43% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months and zero percent expect sales to be below current levels.

Looking forward one year, 73% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 80% who felt that way in November.  Twenty-seven percent of December respondents project sales will be even one year from now and zero percent project sales will be below current levels.

Timothy S. Farrell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA), said:  “We are encouraged that 70% of the respondents to our December survey reported sales above year-ago levels.  Together with our members, we hope that 2011 will bring a renewed focus in Washington on efforts to revive and invigorate the American economy.”

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