Home Depot to close Louisiana store
Home Depot will close a store in Gentilly, La., according to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Three other underperforming locations — in Holland, Mich., and Rocky Mount and Greenville, N.C. — have also begun liquidation sales, as reported earlier this week in Home Channel News.
A company spokesman told the newspaper that the Atlanta retailer has no plans to close any other units at this time.
Unemployment rate falls to 9.0%
The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment rose in manufacturing and in retail trade but was down in construction and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in most other major industries changed little over the month, according to Friday’s report.
Fortune Brands sales up 7% for year
Pointing to strength across all of its major businesses, Fortune Brands posted fourth-quarter sales of $1.90 billion, up 5% from the prior-year quarter, with the home and security division up 2%. Net income was $85.4 million, compared with $11.5 million in the prior year.
"Our determination to go on offense during the economic downturn and boost strategic investment across our businesses made a big impact in 2010," said CEO Bruce Carbonari.
For the full year ended Dec. 31, sales for the Deerfield, Ill.-based company were $7.14 billion, up 7% from last year.
Net income from continuing operations was $487.6 million, up from $242.8 million in the prior year.
In a statement released Friday morning, Carbonari provided the following color for the Home & Security business: “Home & Security sales and operating income grew in the quarter against its strong prior-year results, partly benefiting from pull-forward in demand for Simonton windows in advance of the year-end expiration of a consumer tax credit for energy-efficient home products."
The division saw 6% comparable-sales growth in a relatively flat market, he said. Moen and Master Lock showed strong growth in international markets.
Fortune Brands brands in Home & Security include: Moen, ThermaTru, Simonton Windows, Master Lock, Waterloo, MasterBrand Cabinets, Aristokraft Cabinetry, Diamond, Omega Cabinetry, Homecrest, Schrock Cabinetry, KitchenCraft, Decora, Fypon and American Lock.