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Meet the Hom-Bot, LG’s answer to the Roomba

BY HBSDEALER Staff

With 35 awards to take home at the conclusion of this year’s event, LG was one of the bigger names at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Among the multiple innovations it was recognized for was the Hom-Bot Square, a robotic vacuum cleaner unveiled at the show.

The automatic vacuum’s main claim to fame is its square shape, which is designed to fit into corners neglected by previous models. Its Corner Master technology features the use of two long brushes and corner-detecting sensors, which allow it to access hard-to-reach corners.

The Hom-Bot also includes a top- and bottom-mounted camera that allows the vacuum to chart its course throughout the house and store information for future use regarding furniture placement and other obstacles.

Additionally, users of the Hom-Bot can use LG’s Home Chat mobile technology to control the vacuum with their phones, making remote activation a possibility.

Last, but not least, the Hom-Bot runs at a low noise level of 60dBA to minimize distraction while it’s in use.

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Fastenal disappointed by growth

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Industrial products supplier Fastenal reported fourth-quarter net sales of $813.8 million, up 7.5% from $757.2 million in the same quarter last year. But the company didn’t grow as fast as it anticipated.

The Winona, Minn.-based company reported net earnings of $99.2 million, up 0.5% from the previous year’s quarter.

The results — including flat net earnings per share — disappointed Wall Street. Shares of FAST were down sharply early Wednesday. Executives pointed to weaker than expected sales and gross margin trends. "This weakening was worse than we expected and this created additional drain on our ability to grow earnings," the company said in its earnings release.

For the full year, net sales increased 6.1% to $3.33 billion. Net earnings for the 12-month period increased 6.7% to $448.6 million.

At the end of the year, Fastenal operated 2,687 store locations. 

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Masonite appoints Jody Bilney to its board of directors

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Masonite International Corporation has appointed Jody L. Bilney to its board of directors, effective immediately. She will also join the board’s Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee, replacing Peter Dachowski, who will continue serving on the Human Resources and Compensation Committee.

"I am honored to join the Masonite Board and look forward to working with this exceptional group,” Bilney said. “As a leader of the door industry, Masonite has many interesting growth opportunities. I look forward to sharing my experiences and contributing to the future direction of the company.”

Bilney currently serves as SVP and chief consumer officer of Humana Inc., where she has worked since April of last year, and will comprise the board’s ninth member. Prior to Humana, she served in various senior executive marketing roles with Bloomin’ Brands Inc. since 2006, most recently as EVP and chief brand officer.

“Jody brings a wealth of marketing and brand experience from her involvement with highly successful companies such as Humana Inc. and Bloomin’ Brands Inc. She is a welcome addition to our Board,” said chairman Robert J. Byrne.

Bilney has also held senior marketing roles with Openwave Systems, Inc., Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., and Verizon Communications, Inc.

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