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J.D. Power ranks top window and patio door makers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

J.D. Power and Associates has released a report ranking window and patio door makers. The first-time study asked consumers who purchased new windows or patio doors to rate those purchases on six factors: ordering and delivery, price competitiveness, operational performance, appearance and design features, operational features and warranty and replacement.

Pella ranked highest in customer satisfaction with windows and patio doors, with a score of 796 on a 1,000-point scale. Pella performed particularly well in operational performance — which includes ease of use and operation, energy efficiency and ease of cleaning, according to J.D. Power.

Andersen followed closely with a score of 794, performing well in operational features, as well as in appearance and design features. Milgard ranked third with an index score of 788. Further scores include Weather Shield, 782; Loewen, 780; Industry Average, 780; American Craftsman, 762; Marvin, 756; Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork, 754; and Jeld-Wen, 753.

“While product quality and price are important, the key differentiator in satisfaction among consumers who purchase patio doors and windows is service — particularly with ordering and delivery,” said Jim Howland, senior director in the real estate industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

The study found 45 percent of consumers report installing the windows or patio doors themselves or with help from family or friends. Approximately 30 percent hired an independent contractor or remodeler to perform the installation, while 20 percent used an installation service provided by a home improvement retailer. Only 5 percent of consumers report using an installation service provided by the window or patio door manufacturers.

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All eyes on Wall Street

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The bears were out in force on Wall Street Thursday, as markets appeared to be spooked by a French bank’s effort to freeze three funds that invested in the United States subprime mortgage market. Particularly hard hit on the financial markets yesterday were home channel stocks.

Of 16 major home channel and home-related companies tracked by Home Channel News (see below), only Tractor Supply and Andersons showed gains on Thursday. The decliners were led by two-step distributor Huttig Building Products, down 16.09 percent on the day, and home improvement product manufacturer Masco, down 7.17 percent. (Read more here.)

Among retailers, Home Depot was down 5.32 percent. The company Thursday said, “in view of current financial market conditions” it may need to renegotiate the terms of its previously announced sale of its HD Supply division to three private equity groups. (Read more here.) Number-two home center retailer Lowe’s was down 3.65 percent, on the same day it announced it was losing Doug Robinson, who was in charge of its Canadian operations. (Read more here.)

As the stock markets were leaking, United States retailers reported moderate growth for the month of July, when same-store sales grew 2.6 percent, according to the tally from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The housing market figured heavily in the analysis from Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist.

“As we have noted earlier this year, a consumer ‘soft patch’ began in February 2007, and the latest data suggested it continued through July,” he said. “The housing market drag continues to dampen consumer demand and with it the overall economy.”

While Wal-Mart’s same-store sales for July increased 1.9 percent, its shares fell more than 4 percent, its biggest single-day drop in four years.

 Following Thursday’s 2.96 percent decline of the S&P 500 Index and a 2.83 percent decline in the Dow Jones industrial average, the markets stopped the bleeding on Friday. The Dow closed down a mere 0.23 percent, and the S&P 500 actually increased slightly.

Friday Gainers:

Home Depot: 35.92, up 0.36%

Sears Holdings: 133.10, up 2.46%

Lowe’s: 27.76, up 1.20%

BlueLinx: 8.10, up 0.12%

Weyerhaeuser: 66.42, up 0.23%

BMHC:14.23, up 9.04%

Builders FirstSource: 14.20, up 5.73%

Stanley Works: 56.55, up 0.69%

Black & Decker: 89.68, up 0.09%

Sherwin-Williams: 69.14, up 4.68%

Friday Decliners:

Huttig: 5.17, down 3.72%

Masco: 25.78, down 0.96 %

Wolseley: 20.60, down 2.60%

Wal-Mart: 46.07, down 0.82%

Andersons: 49.04, down 3.33%

Tractor Supply: 48.98, down 3.96%

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Canadian Tire sales up 5.1 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Canadian Tire, the Canadian home improvement and automotive retail chain, had second-quarter net earnings of $122.3 million, up 18.4 percent from $103.3 million last year.

Sales rose 5.1 percent, to $2.84 billion from $2.7 billion last year.

“All of our businesses contributed to our sales growth during the quarter,” said Tom Gauld, president and CEO. “Canadian Tire Retail’s sales, while impacted by unseasonable weather in the month of April, strengthened significantly in May and June.”

In the quarter, Canadian Tire introduced a new store format, called the “20/20” store format. The 15 stores, located in the north- and south-shore areas of Montreal, represent the “largest single conversion of stores in the company’s history,” Canadian Tire representatives said in a statement.

Changes to the stores include an expansion of the company’s core product assortment, a new store design, new floor layout and added product categories. The goal of the stores’ redesigns is to increase retail sales by 20 percent on average, the company said.

The company noted that it expects third-quarter earnings to be relatively flat compared with 2006, due to store openings and expenses from growth initiatives, followed by a strong fourth quarter.

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