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Image enhancements are part of the new Haieramerica.com

BY HBSDealer Staff

New York-based Haier has redesigned its Haieramerica.com website.

“Over the past several months we have globalized the Haier brand through a consistent logo and company tagline, Smarter Life-Better Planet,” said Richard Block, Haier’s VP marketing, North America. “The next component of that strategy is our website, which now has a new look and much more consumer-friendly navigation.”

The new Haieramerica.com was designed to meet the needs of the consumer, with a cleaner look and enhanced imagery, as well as a more intuitive navigation that makes it significantly easier to search the site for particular product needs. 

Along with technical improvements, the layout of products has been streamlined to provide more straightforward usability. The information that the consumer is seeking can be found upfront, often directly from the home page, where links to all product categories and company information are clearly displayed.

Additional enhancements include demonstration videos for key products and informational pages that walk the consumer through the decision-making process for purchasing such products as air conditioners. New features that center on consumer product education will roll out in the next few months, the company said.

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MJSI HydroClean awarded patent

BY HBSDealer Staff

Shorewood, Ill.-based MJSI, Inc. announced the issuance of patent 7,926,511 by the US Patent Office for the HydroClean toilet fill valve’s Float Lock assembly.

The Float Lock is an easily movable lever on the float arm that turns the water "Off" or "On" from inside the toilet tank. This invention allows minor repairs to be made inside the tank in a dry environment and eliminates the need to shut the water supply off with the external shut-off valve or at the main water shut-off for the entire building.

“This latest patent for the Float Lock is for one of the many important and innovative features of our HydroClean toilet fill valve,” said Michael Schuster, president of MJSI. “Whether it’s a plumber or a homeowner, it’s easier and faster to be able to shut off the water inside the tank with a simple ‘click’ of the Float Lock. Plus, it eliminates the potential for leaks, flooding and pushing sediment into toilet parts — problems that are associated with using old and corroded shut-off valves.”

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Mixed results for Lumber Liquidators in second quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Toano, Va.-based Lumber Liquidators second-quarter sales increased 4.0% to $175.5 million, up from $168.7 million in the same quarter last year.

But sales at comparable stores decreased 7.9%, and net income decreased to $5.3 million in the second quarter, down from $9.1 million in the second quarter of the prior year. 

CEO Jeffrey W. Griffiths sated: “Our second-quarter net sales and earnings-per-diluted share were in-line with our revised expectations communicated earlier this month. As we previously reported, we believe value-conscious consumers became more price sensitive and cautious in their discretionary spending in the second quarter. However, our annual Big Sale drew a strong customer response due to the strength of our value proposition and targeted promotional pricing. We remain focused on further improving our operations and building a foundation for long-term success and believe that we are well positioned to continue our growth.”

Gross margin decreased from 34.7% in the second quarter of 2010 to 34.0% in the second quarter of 2011. High transportation costs, a greater proportion of net sales at promotional prices, and increased investment in international quality control procedures were all cited as factors that negatively affected the gross margin for the second quarter, though these were said to have been partially offset by benefits from sourcing initiatives and net sales mix shifts.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the second quarter of 2011 were $51.1 million, or 29.1% of net sales. This compares with $43.9 million, or 26.0% of net sales, for the second quarter of 2010. 

The company outlook for 2011 includes an expectation of net sales for the full year in the range of $670 million to $700 million, with third-quarter net sales in the range of $165 million to $180 million, and fourth quarter net sales in the range of $170 million to $185 million.

Comparable-store net sales for the full year are expected to decrease in the low single digits, with third-quarter comparable-store net sales ranging from a decrease of 1% to an increase of 8%, and fourth-quarter comparable-store net sales ranging from a decrease of 3% to an increase of 6%.

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