ECi acquires Spruce Computer Systems
ECi Software Solutions, a Fort Worth, Texas-based provider of technology solutions to the lumber and building materials industry, has acquired Spruce Computer Systems.
Spruce is an Albany, New York-based provider of software solutions for lumberyards, building materials suppliers and home centers, serving more than 3,000 customers worldwide.
Spruce president Rob Fitzpatrick will transition to his new role as president of ECi’s Lumber, Building Materials and Hardlines (LBMH) Division, within which the Spruce, Advantage and RockSolid platforms will be combined into one business unit.
“We are very excited to become part of the ECi family,” said Fitzpatrick. “While we have competed with each other in the LBMH market over the years, Spruce has always held ECi in the highest regard. We felt that by joining forces we could better serve businesses in the LBMH sector. Our combined resources and industry expertise will translate to an even higher level of innovation, support and service.”
“Spruce is a very well-run company, exceptionally customer-focused, and passionate about providing world-class products and services to its customers,” said Ron Books, president and CEO of ECi. “This is exactly the type of company we look for as we strive to deliver high-value software solutions and services to our customers. We are thrilled and honored to have the Spruce team as part of the ECi family of companies.”
Industry suffers retail setback in December
U.S. retail sales backtracked in December across the board, as well as for building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (NAICS 444), which were down 1.9% month-over-month when adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences.
Overall, industry dealers pulled in an adjusted estimate of $27.5 billion, down from $28.1 billion in November.
The category pulled in $328.0 billion over 12 months in 2014, an improvement of 5% over the previous year.
Overall advance estimates of U.S. retail and food service sales came in at $442.9 billion, down 0.9% from November’s total but still 3.2% ahead of December 2013. For the full year, total U.S. retail sales were up 4.0% from 2013.
Retail trade sales (not including food service) were down 1.1% in December and up 2.6% year-over-year. Within the trade, auto and other moto vehicle dealers, as well as food services and drinking places, were most-improved over the year, up 9.8% and 8.2%, respectively.
Gasoline stations were the hardest hit, declining 6.5% over the month and 14.2% over the year.
Electrolux unveils an updated brand
Electrolux is kicking off the new year with an updated visual brand identity, which includes a new logotype and bolder standards for imagery and colors.
"Electrolux is on a journey to become a world-class consumer marketing company, with a clear focus on consumer-driven innovation and strong brands,” said chief marketing officer MaryKay Kopf. “A key ingredient of this is to create an exciting and differentiating brand experience that is consistent across every consumer touchpoint. Our new visual identity will help us achieve that, in a digital and retail landscape that has changed dramatically over the past years.”
The new logotype font, which is exclusive to Electrolux, helps draw more attention to the Electrolux symbol, which was first used in 1962.
"With such a distinctive symbol at the forefront, it communicates modern and innovative while maintaining the associations of trust and quality that consumers have come to expect from our brand," Kopf said.
Electrolux’s new branding will be visible to the general public beginning Jan. 14, 2015, with the complete rollout occurring in phases for the in-store, online, packaging and mobile experience.
"A visual identity is much more than a change of logo and color palette,” added Kopf. “It represents a new sense of Electrolux as a brand, what we and our products and services stand for and how we want to be perceived. The new visual identity will build greater recognition by engaging people in a positive and emotional way; helping to inspire them, identify key benefits and find what they are looking for."