KB Home recovers from past-year loss in Q1
KB Home posted a strong first quarter in 2014, with revenues up 11% and positive net income that swung from a 2013 first-quarter loss.
Sales for the three months ended Feb. 28 were $450.7 million, up from $405.2 million in the year-ago quarter.
The increase was fueled by activity in the Southwest and Southeast regions and was offset by a decrease in the West Coast area. Additionally, the average selling price rose 12% since last year.
Thanks to higher revenues, expanded housing gross profit margin and improved selling, general and administrative expense ratio, net income for the homebuilder came in at $10.6 million, compared to a loss of $12.5 million in the first quarter of 2013. This is the first profitable Q1 for the company since 2007.
“As we continue to execute on our business strategies, increasing the number of communities we operate will be a key factor in driving higher revenues and profits this year,” said president and CEO Jeffrey Mezger. “Through our substantial investments in land and land development over the past few years, we believe we have created a solid platform for growth. In the current quarter, our double-digit percentage increase in community count helped us generate net order growth, and we are actively working to open additional new home communities. We are entering the spring selling season positioned with more communities open in attractive locations across the country, and we are confident that our balanced approach to sales price and pace, combined with our focus on both top-line growth and profitability, will produce strong results in the coming quarters.”
Quikrete’s message: Have fun with concrete
Concrete projects tend to conjure images of big guys in trucks. But executives at Quikrete are taking steps to make sure DIYers have plenty of project ideas for themselves.
And the work is paying off in places like Pinterest and Facebook, according to Frank Owens, VP marketing for the Atlanta-based concrete industry leader.
During a media tour of New York this week, Owens helped spread the word that there are plenty of projects in and around the house for Quikrete products.
“We want people to know that our products are there to help them, and not just with filling cracks,” he said.
The company’s Pinterest postings includes DIY lawn ornaments, ranging from whimsical mushrooms to decorative stepping stones. And one of the company’s numerous “home inspirations” guides offers how-to advice from staining concrete surfaces (intermediate) to making decorative block letters (beginner).
The company is also making a push for its decorative concrete stains, pointing out that the vast majority of the concrete in and around the home is unstained, representing a huge opportunity for DIY home improvement.
The Quikrete family of companies includes Pavestone, Custom Building Products Flagstone Pagers and Veneerstone, among others.
Spring is the new Black Friday at Walmart, too
Walmart has borrowed a page from the playbook of Home Depot and Lowe’s with a new spring seasonal promotion that leverages the equity of Black Friday.
Walmart said it was featuring Black Friday like prices from March 21-29 on more than 60 outdoor products and took aim at the home improvement channel noting in a press release that it has nearly twice as many locations as the leading home improvement store. To generate traffic, Walmart is featuring two cubic foot bags of red, black and brown mulch for $1.97 and what it said was the largest selection of lawn mowers and grills for less than $200. For example, Walmart is offering a Murray lawn mower for $144, a seven piece Mainstays brand patio set for $298 and a Kingsford brand charcoal grill for $88.
“Nobody does Black Friday better than Walmart, and we’re bringing that same philosophy to our new outdoor living, lawn and garden event by offering incredibly low prices on the products our customers are looking for,” said Michelle Gloeckler, SVP home for Walmart U.S. “Given the extreme winter many of our customers experienced, we know they are preparing to restore their gardens and outdoor living spaces. This event will help them save money while they transition into the new season.”
Home Depot began a similar promotion in 2010 when it said it had moved Black Friday from November to Spring, noting that the flurry of spending activity that takes place in the Spring is the equivalent for Christmas in the home improvement world. Lowe’s also employed a similar strategy this year with a promotional event called Spring Black Friday encompassing two weekends.