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Future shock: We got some right!

BY Ken Clark

When most magazines make predictions, they are long forgotten by the time actual events reveal the forecasts to be accurate or embarrassing. Not so here at Home Channel News. We keep track of our predictions. And sometimes we even publish the results.

Back in January, this editorial space looked into the seeds of time with industry predictions for 2008. Some of them were bold, some were cautious, but all of them were offered in the spirit of “use at your own risk.”

Here’s a recap of some of the major predictions.

Prediction: After a tumultuous 2007, Home Depot will experience a relatively quiet year.

Actuality: You can read all about it in the special section that begins on page 17. The year was far from quiet, but CEO Frank Blake told us directly: “2007 had a lot more moving parts.” If you’re keeping score at home, count this one as a push.

Prediction: Credit card debt will emerge as a bugaboo of the business pages to rival the “subprime crisis.”

Actuality: You don’t hear the phrase “subprime” as much as you used to, but you certainly see tremendous concern over the related issue of bad investments in mortgage-backed securities. Meanwhile, a Market Watch headline recently reported: “Bad credit-card debt could be next shot to rip through economy.” Score this one another push.

Prediction: Lowe’s Canada will grow its business organically, despite suggestions that an acquisition is necessary in a mature market.

Actuality: That was January. In July, the company announced plans for three Canadian stores to open in the fourth quarter. How did we see the future so clearly? It was written in black and white in Lowe’s annual report.

Prediction: ProBuild Holdings will grow at a pace of one significant acquisition per month.”

Actuality: Pretty close. Since January, we’ve watched six companies join the ProBuild group: Jasper Lumber, Northeast Panel & Truss, Collins Truss Systems, Khempco Building Supply, Big Buck Building Centers and CTX Builders Supply. That’s six. We were 50 percent right.

Prediction: Ace will ride out its accounting error, while avoiding the kinds of mass defections suffered by TruServ almost a decade ago.

Actuality: It is fair to say that this prediction has come to pass. The rank and file appear to be looking ahead .Without trivializing the seriousness of the accounting error and its impact on members, the $150 million scope of the accounting discrepancy seems to fly below the radar, especially as it contrasts to the truly massive figures being tossed around through corporate scandals or federal bailouts.

Prediction: For the 56th consecutive election, voters will elect a male for president.

Actuality: Bingo. This forecast didn’t seem nearly so obvious back in January. It’s worth repeating, this prediction did not constitute an endorsement.

Prediction: After a roller coaster year on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average will finish on a high note at 13,500.

Actuality: Generous reader, as the DJIA hovers around 8,500, let us turn our eyes from this forecast and reflect upon the difficulty of short-term stock market predictions.

For the complete list of 2008 predictions, visit homechannelnews.com and send us your best bets for 2009.

But be advised: we keep track.

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Marblehead, Ohio, store joins PRO Hardware group

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Village Hardware Co. in Marblehead, Ohio, has joined the PRO Hardware buying group, according to the Beacon newspaper of Port Clinton, Ohio.

Open since 2000, the Village Hardware Co. has a wide selection of plumbing, heating, electrical and hardware/household items. The store also carries Martin Senour paints and offers screen and window repair, UPS shipping, fax and copy service and small appliance repair.

Now called Village “PRO” Hardware, the store is holding a “grand re-opening” sales event through the holiday season. 

 

PRO Hardware has been in business for 50 years, providing tools, building, electrical and plumbing supplies. It’s part of PRO Group, an Englewood, Colo.-based group that has 400-plus manufacturer partners and does more than $3.2 billion in annual distributor sales. 

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Aubuchon closes another location

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Aubuchon Hardware, the 127-store Northeast chain, has closed another location — this time in Barre, Mass., according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper. The store had been in Barre for 68 years.

Michael D. Mattson, director of advertising and marketing for the Aubuchon chain, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that at 5,000 square feet, the store did not have enough space for Aubuchon’s usual mix of products. In the last four to five years, most Aubuchon stores have been expanded to between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet. In addition, the store changed managers too many times in recent years, he said.

Aubuchon closed its Au Sable Forks, N.Y., location Dec. 8, saying sales had declined in recent years. Meanwhile, the chain acquired two locations in New Hampshire recently.

Aubuchon Hardware stores are located in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut. The chain, started by William Aubuchon in 1908, celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.

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