Current remodeling conditions fell in March survey
A harsh winter is the likely culprit for a decline in a popular measure of the remodeling market.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s first-quarter 2014 Remodeling Business Pulse data of current and future remodeling business conditions show current condition ratings fell significantly in March.
Business conditions during the first three months of 2014 dropped to 6.07, down from 6.41 in December. There was a decline in all but one of the sub-components that drive the overall current rating. Conversion of bids and sales value of jobs had the largest dip.
However, strength of sales in this three-month period increased to 6.51, from the 6.41 reported during the fourth quarter of 2013.
“The harsh winter seemed to have played a role in the decline of our numbers this quarter,” says Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARI’s Strategic Planning Committee.
However, despite the low ratings for current business conditions, remodelers are more optimistic about the future, heading into their busy season. The outlook for business three months out reached a new all-time high of 6.51, from 6.41 in December 2013.
Growth indicators in the first quarter of 2014 are as follows (rating is from 1 to 9, where 1 is much worse than a year ago and 9 is much better; 5 is about the same as last year):
• Current business conditions fell to 6.07 (from 6.51 last quarter)
• Number of inquiries remained flat at 6.24.
• Requests for bids had a slight drop to 6.16 (down from 6.22 last quarter)
• Conversion of bids fell significantly from 6.03 to 5.71.
• Sales value of jobs sold declined to 5.84 (down from 6.27 from last quarter).
“Postponed home maintenance issues continue to be a large driver for projects,” O’Grady says. “However, homeowners remain slow to make the decision to move ahead with higher-priced projects, which is still the biggest barrier to growth.”
When asked about what is driving growth, remodelers had responses similar to those seen in the last few quarters. Activity is being driven by several factors Postponed projects continue to be the No. 1 factor in remodeling business growth, at 81%, up from 75 % in December.
National Hardware Show to strike up the big brands
Home Channel News
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Organizers of The National Hardware Show have expectations for "the biggest and best yet" event, which is coming May 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. One of the reasons for the optimism: the long list of big brands on the exhibitor list.
The recent tally has more than 2,500 exhibitors, 15 unique product categories, hundreds of new products being launched and more than 270 show specials being offered by exhibitors.
“The National Hardware Show opens doors to new opportunities,” says Greg Schlecht, owner of Greg’s True Value in St. Francis, Wis. “The chance to review merchandise in an environment without placing orders is refreshing, and the ability to preview products from outside the United States opens our eyes to what is produced globally.”
Exhibitors will include both new and veteran big brands, including Black + Decker, 3M, Big Green Egg, SC Johnson, Hamilton Beach, The Coleman Company, PPG Industries, Zippo Outdoor, WD-40 Company, among others. The global appeal of the Show means more new exhibitors signing on—there are currently 500 new vendors set to exhibit at this year’s event.
For global companies, the National Hardware Show offers opportunities to meet with international customers and potentially strike up global partnerships.
Black + Decker, for example, is one of several big brands that will be returning to the floor at the National Hardware Show.
“Over the years, Black + Decker has consistently provided consumers with innovative, affordable, and quality products. As a result of this, the brand is deeply entrenched in and around the home,” says Frank DeSantis, director of brand marketing. “The Black + Decker brand extends beyond product features and product innovation; it is about being honest, intuitive, involved and thoughtful. Everything we do will be focused on giving people the products, the know-how and the support to get their job done.”
Product categories at the Show include Building Products, Farm & Ranch, Hardware & Tools, Homewares, International Sourcing, Inventors’ Spotlight, Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living, Paint & Accessories, Pet Products, Plumbing & Electrical, Storage & Organization, Energy Efficient, Made in USA and Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery, a new category at this year’s Show.
From the Web: Secrets of Bill’s Ace Hardware
In an interview with the Contra Costa Times, third-generation California retailer Bill Wygal shared some of the keys to the success of his family business. A major ingredient: Family values.
Bill’s Ace has stores in the California cities of Concord, Martinez and Pleasant Hill, and has been in continuous operation since 1948.
Secrets to success, according to the article, include hiring the right people and retaining them — not easy in the retail business. It’s also critical to maintain a culture of strong customer service.
In the article, Wygal states: “I was fortunate to grow up with a family that did a variety of jobs. This and a desire to help people has created a business that has been around 66 years.”