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Lowe’s gets ready for spring, too

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s is hiring 50,000 seasonal employees to handle the spring rush. That’s on top of the 8,000 to 10,00 weekend employees that the company is bringing on board permanently as part of its recently announced restructuring.

A Lowe’s spokeswoman confirmed the figures, which had previously been reported in various media outlets. 

Both Lowe’s and Atlanta-based Home Depot regularly hire tens of thousands for the spring season, the busiest season in home center retailing. Home Depot last week announced it was hiring 60,000 part timers for its spring season. 

 

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Consumer Confidence at a three-year high

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved to a reading of 70.4, up from 64.8 in January. 

The February reading is at a three-year high — the highest since February 2008, when the index was at 76.4.

"Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions.”

The Present Situation Index improved to 33.4 from 31.1. The Expectations Index increased to 95.1 from 87.3 last month.

Consumers were mixed about the job market. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged down to 19.8% from 20.8%, however, those anticipating fewer jobs decreased to 15.4% from 21.2%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes rose to 17.3% from 15.3%.

This month’s data is the first to be collected by The Nielsen Company, which bases the index on a probability-design random sample. The cutoff date for February’s preliminary results was February 10, 2011. 

 

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Industry Dashboard for Feb. 22, 2011

BY HBSDEALER Staff

On a month-to-month basis, total housing starts moved the needle 14% in January, but single-family starts continue to drag.

Elsewhere on the Industry Dashboard for Feb. 22, retail sales for home centers, pro dealers and hardware stores showed a surge in December 2010, compared with the same month in 2009. And stocks on the Home Channel Stock Roundup showed gains across the board relative to both last month and last year.

Tractor Supply, Weyerhaeuser and Newell-Rubbermaid lead the year-over-year charge, with Tractor Supply showing a 100% increase in share value. 

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