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Cutbacks at Harbor Freight

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The discount tool retailer has reduced staff in several divisions, including real estate, according to press reports.

Harbor Freight, the Camarillo, Calif.-based tool retailer, has trimmed its workforce in reaction to current economic conditions, according to the Ventura County Star. The privately held company has eliminated approximately 20 positions over the past three months due to “performance, a mismatch of skills, and … changed processes or implementation of automated tools,” the newspaper reported.

Two employees in the real estate division, which locates new store sites,  were laid off because of a lack of business, according to the article.

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Kansas Hardware business closes after more than a century

BY HBSDEALER Staff

J & S Hardware, a Pretty Prairie, Kan.-based hardware retailer and NAPA auto parts store, will close on Nov. 30, according to McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

The 8,000-square-foot store has been operating on the town’s Main Street for 108 years, according to Sue Farmer, who owned the business with her husband Jim. She pointed to the slow economy as the reason they are closing just four years after buying the business. According to the Pretty Prairie Community Association, several local businesses have closed in the last few years.

J & S Hardware, a Pretty Prairie, Kan.-based hardware retailer and NAPA auto parts store, will close on Nov. 30, according to McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

The 8,000-square-foot store has been operating on the town’s Main Street for 108 years, according to Sue Farmer, who owned the business with her husband Jim. She pointed to the slow economy as the reason they are closing just four years after buying the business. According to the Pretty Prairie Community Association, several local businesses have closed in the last few years.

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Existing home sales fall below 5 million

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Existing-home sales fell 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million units in October from a downwardly revised pace of 5.14 million in September. Sales are 1.6 percent below the 5.06 million-unit level in October 2007.

The sales figure, from the National Association of Realtors, includes single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

The national median existing-home price in October was $183,300, down 11.3% from a year ago when the median was $206,700. In September, the median existing-home price was $191,400. That 11.3 percent decline stands as the largest year-over-year drop on since 1968, and the lowest median sales price since March 2004.

“Many potential home buyers appear to have withdrawn from the market due to the stock market collapse and deteriorating economic conditions,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. 

Yun identified some areas with solid sales gains from a year ago, including many California and Florida markets, as well as Boston, Minneapolis, and Denver.

Total housing inventory at the end of October slipped 0.9 percent to 4.23 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 10.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 10.0-month supply in September.

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