FBI investigates terrorist threats against HD, Andersen Windows
The FBI has opened an investigation in a series of threatening letters received by Home Depot stores and Renewal by Andersen businesses in the Twin Cities area, according to an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
A total of 13 letters containing a white powder substance — which later turned out to be sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda — were mailed to eight Home Depot stores in Apple Valley, Eagan, Forest Lake, Hastings, Hudson, Inver Grove Heights, Maplewood and Woodbury. Similar letter were mailed to five Renewal by Andersen, a window replacement business, in Bayport, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Edina and Roseville, the FBI said.
Federal agents gave no information about the content of the letters, which were received between Dec. 31, 2010 and Jan. 6, 2011. The return address on each envelope was identical, and the letters seem to have been photocopied, authorities said.
Q1 sales increase 4% for WD-40 Co.
Sales were up, but earnings were down for San Diego-based WD-40 Co.
Sales for the first quarter ended Nov. 30 were $80.9 million, an increase of 4% from the first quarter last year. Net income for the first quarter was $9.1 million, down 4% from the prior fiscal year first quarter.
"We had a solid performance in the first quarter that reflects the hard work and focus we have put into our four strategic initiatives, and that continues to serve us well," said Garry O. Ridge, WD-40 president and CEO. "As it relates to the geographic expansion strategic initiative, we have been successful in building our base business across the globe and we have seen robust growth in many international markets, while maintaining our gross margins above our target of 50%."
America’s segment first quarter sales were $39.2 million, down 10% compared to the first quarter of last fiscal year. Most of the company’s first-quarter sales — 62% — were from outside the U.S.
"The solid growth we have seen in markets like China, where we doubled our sales in the first quarter, is a result of us building our core business coupled with significant promotional activity aimed at building distribution and increasing end-user awareness."
WD-40 Company expects fiscal year 2011 net sales to grow 5.7 % to 10.4% to the range of $340 to $355 million.
NPD research: Snow blowers surge in 2010
A series of snowstorms in early 2010 boosted snow blower/throwers sales past every other category of outdoor power equipment, according to research released by The NPD Group, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y.
In the 12 months ending November 2010, $5.5 billion worth of outdoor power equipment items and 38 million units were sold in retail, according to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service. These include chain saws, trimmers, mowers (walk-behind & riding), leaf blowers, pressure washers and snow throwers/blowers.
Among these product categories, snow throwers/blowers were the number one growing item, up 24% in units, and 14% in dollars, in the 12 months ending November 2010, compared to the same time the previous year.
The East/South Central region of the U.S. showed four times the sales of snow throwers/blowers during the 12-month period compared to the corresponding period ending November 2009. The West North Central, South Atlantic, Middle Atlantic, and New England regions all experienced double-digit growth in snow thrower/blower sales.
“Much of the snowfall of the early part of 2010 came unexpectedly, and seemed constant in some places, driving consumers to get that snow blower they had been putting off, particularly the aging boomer population. With storm after storm, there’s only so much shoveling and back pain we can endure,” said Peter Goldman, president of NPD’s home division.