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Lowe’s offers tips for navigating new light bulb rules

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In light of the new rules taking effect Jan. 1 per the Energy Independence and Security Act, which is phasing out 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs, Lowe’s is providing guidance to consumers who might still be unfamiliar with the changes.

Growing consumer acceptance of LEDs and energy-efficient bulbs has partially paved the path for this transition, but retailers might still consider offering similar guidance to their customers.

Among things Lowe’s considers essential to customer knowledge:

  • Consumers can continue using their existing bulbs, and retailers can sell off their remaining stock of incandescents, so they might still see 40- and 60-watt bulbs on store shelves for some time.
     
  • Manufacturers are producing halogen bulbs that are very similar to incandescents in effect, but still meet the new efficiency standards.
     
  • These days, the average LED bulb lasts for at least 22 years and costs significantly less to operate than incandescents.
     
  • Modern-day CFLs contain less mercury, provide better lighting and take less time to power on than their former counterparts.
     
  • Customers now have more options when it comes to color temperatures, which can be suited for ambient lighting, workspace and outdoor needs.

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Lifetime Brands announces two appointments

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bob Varakian and Stephen Spitz were appointed to new roles at kitchenware and tabletop manufacturer Lifetime Brands.

Varakian will serve as group president of the company’s cutlery/cutting boards and cookware/bakeware divisions, effective Jan. 6. He will report to Lifetime chairman and CEO Jeffrey Siegel. The company also named Stephen Spitz to the role of president for the cutlery/cutting boards division, and he will report to Varakian.

Varakian previously served as CEO and president of Nambe and has more than 25 years of experience in the housewares industry. Prior to joining Nambe, Varakian served as CEO and president of Catalina Lighting, president and founder of Lectrix and president of EKCO Housewares.

Spitz joined Lifetime Brands in 2005 and has held various positions, including the most recent position of SVP and chief marketing officer for the cookware, cutlery and bakeware divisions. Spitz began his career at Macy’s and has worked with brands including Calphalon, Krups and Delonghi.

“(Bob Varakian) is well respected in the industry, has excellent credentials, and possesses a robust background in management, marketing, product development, sales, manufacturing and sourcing,” Siegel said. “Bob’s proven track record and strong leadership skills will be valuable assets to the cutlery/cutting boards and cookware/bakeware divisions. We look forward to working with Bob to solidify Lifetime’s position as an industry leader and to expand our businesses globally.” 

Regarding Spitz, Sigel said the executive, “has made significant contributions to the company, expanding the reach of our brands across multiple retail channels, and driving innovation in the cutlery, cutting board and bakeware categories. His wealth of knowledge and industry experience is invaluable.”

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David Crowe: Q4’s new-home sales performance best since 2008

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sales of newly built, single-family homes declined 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000 units in November from an upwardly revised strong pace of 474,000 units in the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the strongest sales pace since July 2008, except for October 2013. 

“This figure is consistent with NAHB’s member surveys, which show increasing confidence in the market,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Meanwhile, the very low supply of new homes on the market and tight credit conditions for home buyers show that builders are still cautious about getting ahead of themselves.”

“The previous three months for new-home sales have all been revised up, and the final quarter of 2013 is shaping up to be the best quarter since the second quarter of 2008,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “Historically low interest rates, affordable home prices and a healing economy are bringing buyers back into the marketplace.” 

Regionally, the West and the Northeast showed increases of 31.1% and 15.2%, respectively. New-home sales in the Midwest dropped by 26.6%, and the South posted a 9.1% decline.

The inventory of new homes for sale declined to 167,000 units in November, which is a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace.

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