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HCN Stock Watch: Downhill battle for SHLD

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears Holdings (SHLD) led the pack Wednesday in share price decreases, continuing a recent trend of decline for the stock.

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D.R. Horton’s net income up 86% in Q1

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Forth Worth, Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton, Inc. reported robust growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, with net income up 86% year-over-year.

Homebuilding revenue for the first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 was up 33% to $1.63 billion since the first quarter of last year. Additionally, home closings were up 19%. In total, net revenue was $1.64 billion, compared to $1.23 billion year-over-year.

Net income came in at $123.2 million, up dramatically since last year’s $66.3 million.

“Our fiscal 2014 is off to a great start," said chairman Donald R. Horton. "First quarter pre-tax income increased 76% to $189.7 million and our pre-tax income margin improved 290 basis points to 11.4%. The dollar value of our homes sold, closed and in backlog all increased by double-digit percentages. Our average sales price increased 10% to $275,600, reflecting pricing power across most of our markets and increased demand from move-up buyers."

“Housing market conditions continue to improve across most of our operating markets, and our weekly sales pace has accelerated in January," Horton continued. "We are well-positioned to capture demand in the spring selling season with a solid balance sheet, an increased community count, a robust finished lot supply and a strong inventory of homes available for sale.”

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NRF speaks out on Obama’s SOTU wage announcement

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Retail Federation has issued a statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he announced that he would sign an executive order to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers under new government contracts.

“If you want to create minimum opportunities, then raise the minimum wage," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. "We welcome the president’s focus on the economy and jobs, but a minimum wage hike runs counter to that goal. Raising the minimum wage would place a new burden on employers at a time when national policy should be focused on removing barriers to job creation, not creating new regulations or mandates. It’s simple math – if the cost of hiring goes up, hiring goes down."

“Fewer than 5 percent of hourly workers are paid the minimum wage," he continued. "It’s really a starting wage that allows teen-agers or others with little job experience to enter the workforce. A mandated hike in labor costs would negatively impact businesses that employ people in entry-level jobs and ultimately hurt the people it is intended to help. This isn’t economic theory – when the minimum wage went up in 2009, half a million part-time workers lost their jobs. That’s a risk our economy can’t afford to take."

In addition to the executive order, Obama said that he would urge Congress to approve a universal minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour over the next three years.

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