Free heaters? In Florida, incentives add up
New incentives for high-efficiency water heaters mean Orlando, Fla., consumers pay “next to nothing,” according to GE.
Incentives from the Orlando (Fla.) Utilities Commission (OUC) and various tax credits add up pretty close to the sale price of a GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater.
The company has done the math. Normally selling for $1,299, certain heaters are offered at a sale price of $999. A $650 OUC rebate and a $300 tax credit add up to $950.That’s a difference of $54 plus tax and installation costs.
In Pensacola, Fla., a Gulf Power rebate is $700 — bringing the cost down to $4 plus tax installation costs.
“With the sales promotion, OUC rebate program and the federal tax credit for Energy-Star-certified appliances eliminating the cost of the GeoSpring, consumers start saving money from day one on utility bills,” said Francois Lebrasseur, marketing manager, water products, for GE Appliances.
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.”