An economic index signals expansion
The Decision Analyst U.S. Economic Index has increased steadily over the past 16 months, moving from an Index of 89 in September 2011 to an Index of 101 in January 2013.
The uptrend of the Economic Index over the past 16 months indicates that the U.S. economy will continue to expand, albeit at a slow pace. Moreover, the overall pattern of the Economic Index over the last four years has been a slow, steady upward trend.
The U.S. Economic Index tends to foreshadow overall economic activity by six to 12 months. The graph below shows the Economic Index for the U.S. over the past decade.
“The broad-based U.S. economy appears poised for continued expansion in 2013. The Economic Index trend of the past 16 months, and the longer trend of the past four years, indicate that U.S. economic expansion will continue,” said Jerry Thomas, president and CEO of Arlington, Texas-based Decision Analyst. “Despite the lack of growth in U.S. GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012, it’s very likely that the U.S. economy will continue to expand throughout 2013, especially if Washington can put its financial house in order. However, we live in times of extraordinary risks: fiscal battles in the U.S.; recession in Europe; a real estate bubble in China; stagnation in Japan; and political instability in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Afghanistan. Any of these risks could spin out of control and negatively affect U.S. economic expansion.”
Northeast storm to spur snow sales
As Winter Storm Sandy — described by the all-too-familiar phrase “hundred year storm” — bears down on the Northeast, retailers are bracing for emergency storm sales.
The snow is expected to start Friday morning, with the most snow falling at night and into Saturday, maybe up to 3 ft., according to forecasters. The New York Daily News headline screams: “Holy Plow,” which is good news for retailers recovering from a light snow year in 2012.
At Springfield, Mass.-based Rocky’s Ace, which operates more than 30 stores predominately in the Northeast, things have been busy.
“Our team has coordinated additional truck deliveries to each of our 29 Northeast stores both during the week and early this morning,” said Geoffrey Webb, director of marketing for Rocky’s. “Yesterday we experienced brisk sales that resulted in one of our top grossing days in recent history. Besides preparation for the initial storm itself, we have also stocked up on emergency essentials like batteries and flashlights. Additionally we have increased inventory for our customers’ needs post storm with items like sump pumps and shop vacs.”
Sears says it is rolling out inventories of snow throwers, tractor plows and portable generators from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine, as the storm hits. The company said it sells more snow throwers than any other retailer in America. In a statement released Thursday, Sears said it was “preparing for a rush in demand of show throwers and plows to clear off driveways, sidewalks and roads.”
Aubochon Hardware, which runs 120 hardware stores throughout New England and upstate New York in web site, is promoting its “Winter Storm Center” on its website. Generators, throwers and snow brooms are in the spotlight.
For some, the storm represents a logistical challenge more than a sales opportunity. At Moynihan Lumber of Reading, Mass., a cautious mode at the beginning of the week quickly changed to a “hurry-up mode,” yesterday, said Michael Moynihan, co-owner of the three-unit pro dealer.
The challenge will be battling drifts in vast expanses of the Moynihan yards in North Reading, Mass., and Plaistow, N.H.
“All of the people who are on the snow removal team know what has to be done,” Moynihan said. “They have assembled and attached the plows to the trucks. The front-end loader is ready to go, as is our backhoe. Everything is lubricated, fueled and ready to do their job when the call comes.”
Stinger Cap Hammer finds space at HomeDepot.com
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based National Nail Corp.’s Stinger Cap Systems’ CH38 Cap Hammer has joined the merchandise mix at HomeDepot.com.
“We are very excited for Stinger to be available at HomeDepot.com,” said Scott Baker, president and CEO of National Nail Corp. “With online purchasing on the rise, it provides customers with another outlet to access Stinger and presents us the opportunity to reach a larger audience.”
Stinger Cap Systems, manufactured and distributed by National Nail Corp., are designed for securing roofing underlayment and housewrap. Each Stinger pneumatic and non-pneumatic tool automatically delivers the holding power of a cap and staple or nail for best practice installation as recommended by manufacturers such as DuPont, Typar, Grace and Titanium.