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iRobot COO leaves company amid restructuring

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In response to the company’s management restructuring initiative, which reduced the responsibilities of his position, COO Jeff Beck has left iRobot amid the company’s 2014 planning cycle.

The company decided to streamline leadership for operational efficiency after shifting the company’s focus to three essential market segments in the beginning of 2012.

"Since realigning the company in Q1 2012, iRobot has evolved into a single organization focused on three distinct market segments," said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. "These markets are served by business units, each with experienced leadership, supported by shared engineering and supply chain teams. Having completed this transition and effectively reduced the operational complexity of the organization, the responsibilities of the COO were minimized, giving us the opportunity to flatten the organization by expanding upon the CFO and CTO functions."

Beck was promoted to COO early last year during the initial reorganization. Previously, he had led the company’s consumer division.

iRobot will not be seeking a replacement COO in 2014.

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Tile Shop expands its New Jersey presence

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Tile Shop has opened a new retail location in North Plainfield, N.J., marking its fifth store in the state as well as the 17th new store out of a planned 20 for the year.

“In preparing to open our new store in the borough of North Plainfield, we came to understand that residents of this area expect high-quality products that deliver incredible value and beauty to maintain their historic homes,” said Carl Randazzo, SVP retail. “The community features a wide range of home styles, from Victorians built in the 1880s and 1890s, when North Plainfield was just a couple decades old, to contemporary, post-war ranch homes built in the 1950s.”

The new location is located near the Wachtung Square shopping center at 1200 Route 22 and will feature a selection of over 4,500 stone and tiles.

As is customary with Tile Shop locations, fully decorated vignettes with real appliances, lighting and plumbing fixtures will showcase the product selection.

The location will also offer a free, hour-long "How to Tile" workshop every Saturday morning.

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Consumer confidence continues decline

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Following a sharp decrease in October, consumer confidence continued trending downward in November to its current resting place of 70.4.

“Consumer confidence declined moderately in November after sharply declining in October," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. However, these sentiments did not carry over into the short-term outlook. When looking ahead six months, consumers expressed greater concern about future job and earning prospects, but remain neutral about economic conditions. All in all, with such uncertainly prevailing, this could be a challenging holiday season for retailers."

Both the Present Situation Index (down to 72.0 from 72.6) and the Expectations Index (69.3, down from 72.2) decreased as well. 

The number of those claiming business conditions are "good," as well as those assessing them as "bad," increased in November. Overall, faith in the job market improved slightly.

Consumers were also slightly more optimistic about the short-term outlook for business conditions, but those anticipating more jobs fell all the way from 16.0% to 12.7%. Additionally, fewer consumers expected their incomes to increase.

November’s index was down two entire points from October’s upwardly revised figure of 72.4. Early estimates last month pinned the index at 71.2.

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