A moderate decline in confidence
After housing starts and existing-home sales declined last week, it’s no surprise that Consumer Confidence followed suit in February.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in January, fell moderately in February. The Index now stands at 78.1 (1985=100), down from 79.4 in January. The decline was driven by the Expectations Index, which dropped to 75.7 from 80.8. The Present Situation Index, by contrast, climbed from 77.3 to 81.7.
“Consumer confidence declined moderately in February, on concern over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs, and earnings,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “While expectations have fluctuated over recent months, current conditions have continued to trend upward and the Present Situation Index is now at its highest level in almost six years (April 2008, 81.9). This suggests that consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead.”
Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved for the fourth consecutive month. Those claiming business conditions are “good” increased to 21.5% from 20.8%, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” declined to 22.6% from 23.4%.
Menck Windows forms U.S. management team
Menck USA has appointed its senior executive and production team. This group of five officers will operate the company’s new expansion in Chicopee, Mass. The new Menck USA management team plans aggressive future growth for the company.
Todd F. Bachelder is Menck USA’s CEO. Bachelder joined Menck Windows in March 2013 to support the launch of the U.S. company. With nearly 20 years in the commercial banking industry, he has held CFO and COO positions with several manufacturing companies. Most recently he was COO of custom window and door manufacturer Duratherm Window Corporation.
Alan B. Wall is director of sales and marketing for Menck USA. Experienced in the high-end window and door industry in New England and New York, Wall is an expert in planning and managing sales of custom windows and doors. He was a senior associate with Tradewood Industries and has directed sales for Marvin Window and Door retailers.
John F. Benjamin III assumes the role of director of manufacturing. With over 20 years production management experience in the wood products industry, Benjamin will oversee manufacturing and be involved in new product development as well.
Michael Pusch is director of technology transfer and research and development. Pusch has a technical background in wood window and door design and production as well as window and door hardware. He will be involved in all aspects of product development, technical support, and ongoing R & D.
Nate R. Campbell is director of project management. Campbell has extensive of knowledge of windows and doors manufactured in both the United States and Europe for high-end, architecturally specified, residential and commercial construction.
The Menck USA management team is currently finalizing plans for production, which will begin in fall 2014. Additional members of the team include Bodo Liesenfeld, chairman – managing partner of Liesenfeld International, a private investment enterprise and founder of Menck USA; and Rolf Menck, board member – managing partner of Menck Fenster GmbH and a longtime member of IFT Rosenheim, an international technical and scientific institute for building componentry.
With one less week, Home Depot sees Q4 sales slip
Atlanta-based The Home Deport reported fourth-quarter total sales of $17.7 billion. That’s down 3.0% from the same quarter last year, which benefited from an extra week in the calendar.
On a 13-week basis, the company’s sales actually increased 3.9%.
The world’s largest home improvement retailer reported comp-store sales in the fourth quarter increased 4.4% company-wide and 4.9% in the United States. Net earnings were $1.01 billion, down slightly from $1.02 billion a year ago.
For the full year, the company pointed to strong performances across the board. Net sales increased 5.4% to $78.8 billion. (Excluding the 53rd week from the prior year, the incrase was 7.2%.) Comp-store sales increased 6.8% for the company, and increased 7.5% for the U.S.
"In 2013, we posted our strongest comp sales growth in 14 years as solid execution and the recovering housing market aided our performance," said Frank Blake, CEO and chairman.
Looking ahead, the company expects sales growth of about 4.8% in 2014, with comp-store sales growth of about 4.6%. The company’s guidance also called for seven new stores.