Current Situation Index improves
The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s (AHMA’s) December Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index improved dramatically to 112.5 from 54.1 in November, while the Future Expectations Index decreased to 225.9, down from 241.4 in November.
Both indexes use data collected in October 2008 as a base reference, with October 2008 equaling 100.
For December, 27% of respondents said sales increased, up from 13% in November. The survey also indicated 21% said sales were even, and 52% said sales were below year-ago levels, down from 57% in November.
Looking forward six months, the index showed 60% of respondents predict sales will increase, up from 57% in November, and 31% saw sales remaining even, with 10% expecting sales to decrease.
Looking forward one year, the index showed 71% of respondents predict sales will increase, down from 83% in November, and 25% saw sales remaining even, while the number expecting sales to decrease remained at just 4%.
“While it is encouraging that 27% of our member companies reported higher sales in December versus year-ago levels, the fact that 73% are not experiencing growth makes it clear that the home improvement industry still has a long way to go before we can declare an end to the current recession,” said Timothy Farrell, president and CEO of AHMA.
The index also touched on “hot topic” issues. First, it asked what effect the passing of the health reform bill currently under consideration in Congress will have on members’ businesses: 8% responded “Positive,” 21% responded “Neutral,” and 71% responded “Negative.”
The question was also posed: “What is your opinion, or feeling, of the political process and how Congress has conducted its business over the past few months in moving toward what now appears to be very likely passage of the health reform bill?” Four percent responded “Positive,” 12% responded “Neutral,” and 84% responded “Negative.”
The index is a monthly indicator of the economic health and “mood” of the industry based on a survey of AHMA members.
Ending on high notes
At the close of 2009, nine out of 10 companies tracked on the Home Channel News stock roundup showed percentage increases compared with prices a month ago and a year ago.
Based on Dec. 31 prices, Tractor Supply (TSCO) showed the largest monthly gain, while Stanley Works (SWK) showed the biggest annual increase. Only Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) failed to show a monthly increase, but the company did show a 34.1% increase over the year-ago price.
Here are the companies, the Dec. 31 prices, monthly percentage change, and annual percentage change:
BECN, Beacon Roofing, 16.00, up 4.1% up 15.3%; FAST, Fastenal, 41.64, up 12.3%, up 21.9%; HD, Home Depot, 28.93, up 6.6%, up 30.6; LOW, Lowe’s, 23.39, up 7.2%, up 10.6%; MAS, Masco, 13.81, up 1.7%, up 29.8%; SHW, Sherwin-Williams, 61.65, up 1.3%, up 5.9%; SMG, Scotts, 39.31, down 1.6%, up 34.1%; SWK, Stanley Works, 51.51, up 6.8%, up 56.6%; TSCO, Tractory Supply, 52.97, up 13.5%, up 46.6% WY, Weyerhaeuser, 43.14, up 10.8, up 42.3%
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