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Industry Dashboard for Oct. 10, 2011

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Consumer Watch section of the Dashboard shows unemployment and Consumer Confidence stuck in the mud. Gas prices, though, are quickly dropping.  

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NPD looks into Sam’s Club POS data

BY Ken Clark

The NPD signed a point-of-sale cooperation agreement with Sam’s Club, the Wal-Mart Stores division, to receive and analyze sales information from Sam’s Club U.S. clubs and SamsClub.com.

Under the agreement, NPD will receive point-of-sale data from Sam’s Club, increasing NPD’s tracking coverage for clubs and e-commerce and providing its clients with a more robust view of market activity in these channels. NPD will also become Sam’s Club’s primary provider of point-of-sale and consumer panel information in the General Merchandise categories.

“This expanded partnership with NPD will allow us to better understand what our members are looking for in general merchandise and then use that knowledge to work with suppliers to meet those wants and needs,” said Cindy Davis, executive VP of Walmart global customer insights.

The NPD Group offers point-of-sale information and insights for a wide range of industry sectors based on information provided by more than 900 retailers representing 150,000 retail doors worldwide. NPD chairman and CEO Tod Johnson  said: “We look forward to building our relationship with Sam’s Club and the benefits that this will bring to our retailer and manufacturer clients. As the marketplace evolves and consumers look online for more of their shopping needs, we are committed to offering more insight into e-commerce."

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Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Oct. 7, 2011

*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.

Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.  

Lumber: After two weeks of modest demand and declining prices, SPF lumber sales improved as early as Tuesday and gained momentum after that. Although still sold at a discount to cash, futures contracts were near limit-up Thursday, prompting some buyers to participate in the cash market. After three weeks of significant price gains in the Southern Pine lumber market, where #2 increases of about 12% were achieved, momentum dissipated and some prices, particularly in the West zone, began to peel back. Increased sales activity at midweek in the Coastal species lumber market was focused on dry items. Mills continued to struggle with log supplies, while rumors surrounding production curtailments spread throughout the market, prompting buyers to cover needs. An improving futures market caused a ripple effect in the Inland species lumber market. As SPF producers firmed and increased 2×4 prices, traders turned to Hem-Fir. Sales of Ponderosa Pine #2&Btr boards were more active than other grades. Idaho White Pine prices remained steady with the exception of Standard 1×8 and 1×12, which both moved up. Rains put somewhat of a damper on Eastern White Pine board sales. Market activity for Shop lumber was quiet but steady. Uncertainty regarding the next few months have buyers very cautious about adding to their inventories. Many door and window plants, as well as moulding and millwork producers, say they have enough inventory for the short term. The beginning of the final quarter of 2011 brought about little change in the Western Red Cedar market. No notable decline in demand was reported.

Panels: A slightly improved OSB market in some regions was reported. Producers moved quotes up and were able to write a bit of business at close to the new levels. Southern Pine rated sheathing order files eroded enough early to force lower prices into the market on the Eastside. Meanwhile, sanded panel sales remained stellar. Western Fir plywood producers reported a lackluster week of sales. Order files provided mills with a cushion, while buyers digested previous purchases and bought sparingly. Once again, a wide range of Canadian plywood prices at the mill level were being reported. A short work week due to the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday contributed to the firmness in the market. Continued good weather also helped keep the market active. Particleboard and MDF producers noted selling greater volumes, but debated as to whether the demand was a late fall push or simply an uptick in an otherwise flat market.

For more on RISI, click here.

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