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J.D. Power study ranks window companies

BY HBSDEALER Staff

According to a recently released J.D. Power and Associates study on builder and remodeler satisfaction with windows and patio doors, Simonton Windows was ranked highest in both categories, receiving an index score of 829 on a 1,000-point scale.

Simonton performed particularly well in the ordering process, delivery and value factors, according to a statement from J.D. Power and Associates. The window and patio door study was a joint effort between J.D. Power and Associates and McGraw Hill.

Now in its third year, the study measures satisfaction with residential windows and patio doors based on responses from new home builders and remodelers by evaluating performance in seven factors (in order of importance): product (20 percent), warranty and repair service (19 percent), value (18 percent), customer service and support (14 percent), delivery (11 percent), credit/billing process (9 percent) and ordering process (9 percent).

Pella and Milgard follow in the rankings, scoring 821 and 813, respectively. Pella performs well in the customer service and support and credit/billing process factors, while Milgard performs particularly well in warranty and repair service.

The study is based on responses from 2,837 new home builders and remodelers. Each respondent evaluated up to two manufacturers of residential windows and patio doors.

Despite a challenging economic environment for the home-building and construction industries, overall satisfaction has improved notably in 2008 (796), compared with 2007 (780). In addition, value has increased in importance as a driver of satisfaction in 2008, compared with the previous year.

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Home Depot earnings down 24.3 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot’s second-quarter net earnings dropped 24.3 percent to $1.2 billion from $1.59 billion in the year-ago period. Net sales were $20.99 billion, down 5.4 percent from $22.18 billion in the same period last year.

Comparable-store sales fell 7.9 percent.

The results were in part weaker because of comparisons of the 53-week fiscal 2007 calendar to the 52-week fiscal 2008 calendar. Without that difference, comparable-store sales would have been off by slightly less — down 7.2 percent, the company said. Second-quarter sales were negatively impacted by $160 million because of this comparison.

“We continue to see pressure on our market and the consumer, generally,” said Frank Blake, Home Depot chairman and CEO. “Despite the macroeconomic conditions, we saw improved execution in our merchandising and operations initiatives during the past quarter. I am very proud of what our associates have accomplished in a difficult environment.”

For the full year, Home Depot anticipates a sales decline of 5 percent overall and an earnings-per-share decline of 24 percent due to “continued softness in the housing and home improvement markets.”

At the end of the second quarter, Home Depot operated a total of 2,257 retail stores, including 1,965 Home Depot stores in the United States, 167 stores in Canada, 72 stores in Mexico, 12 stores in China, as well as two Home Depot Design Centers, five Yardbirds stores and 34 EXPO Design Center locations.

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Housing starts fall in July

BY HBSDEALER Staff

U.S. housing starts in July fell 11 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 965,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That figure is 29.2 percent below the revised July 2007 rate of 1,371,000 units.

Single-family housing starts fell 2.9 percent from June to 641,000; compared with July 2007, that figure fell 10.9 percent.

The number of privately owned housing units that issued building permits last month fell 17.7 percent from June to 937,000, or down 32.4 percent compared with the same period last year.

Building permits for single-family homes fell 5.2 percent month-over-month to 584,000.

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