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Many consumers still in the dark over incandescent phaseout

BY HBSDEALER Staff

While more than one-third of Americans are aware of the federal phaseout of incandescent light bulbs, the majority of consumers have yet to learn that the 100-watt bulb is scheduled to disappear from store shelves beginning in 2012. This is one of the many findings of an Osram Sylvania consumer survey involving 300 homeowners and renters nationwide.

Overall, the public appears to be optimistic toward the changes ahead: 59% of respondents reported that they were eager to use more energy-efficient lighting solutions. While a large majority still use incandescent light bulbs, 60% plan to switch to LED, CFLs, or halogen varieties when the phaseout officially begins in 2012. But 28% of the consumers polled expressed concern over the loss of the traditional light bulb.

When asked in particular about the elimination of the 100-watt bulb, most planned to switch to a CFL, LED or halogen bulb. Less than one-third (23%) said they would stick with incandescents, but switch to a lower wattage. Only 13% planned to stash away a supply of 100-watt bulbs.

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Lowe’s to add call center jobs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s will be adding 275 jobs to its call center in Wilkesboro, N.C., according to an article in The Business Journal of Greensboro/Winston-Salem.

The company plans for the new hires to help customers who require assistance with online purchases or service on appliances and outdoor power equipment.

The call center now has more than 700 employees, the article said, up from 350 in January 2010. Adding in another 275 jobs will bring the total close to 1,000 by year-end.

Last month, the Mooresville, N.C.-based home improvement retailer said it would cut approximately 1,700 store-level management jobs across the country, while adding 8,000 to 10,000 part-time positions during peak shopping hours. 

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Martha Inc. describes Home Depot line as a bright spot

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia posted sales and revenue declines in 2010, a transformative year for the multi-faceted company, according to Charles Koppelman, executive chairman and principal executive officer.

MSLO posted revenues of $230.8 million in 2010, down 5.6%. Operating loss for the full year was $8.7 million, compared with an operating loss of $12.0 million in 2009.

One of the transformations was into a supplier to Home Depot, a relationship the company pointed to as a bright spot. "The Martha Stewart Living line at The Home Depot continued to perform well with notably strong results for the carpet program and the new holiday assortment, which included trees, ornaments, decor and lighting," the company announced.

Fourth-quarter revenues in the company’s merchandising division were $11.6 million, down from $25.7 million in the fourth quarter last year, which unlike 2010 included Kmart revenues. 

"Merchandising made impressive strides throughout the year. We just celebrated the first anniversary of our partnership with The Home Depot, which was an important contributor to our performance in 2010. Our Martha Stewart Collection at Macy’s delivered strong results throughout the holiday season," said Robin Marino, president and CEO of merchandising. 

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