New home sales increase 5.5% in November
Sales of new single-family houses in November 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 290,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development — a 5.5% increase over October.
However, the figure is 21.2% below the same month last year.
Commerce Department data also show the median sales price of new houses sold in November 2010 was $213,000; the average sales price was $268,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 197,000. This represents a supply of 8.2 months at the current sales rate.
Lowe’s offers LED bulb with Energy Star rating
Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s says it is the first national retailer to offer consumers an Energy Start-rated LED A-Line bulb.
The GE Energy Smart 9-watt LED bulb became available through Lowes.com Dec. 22. The $34.98 bulb offers a unique omni-directional light output meant to replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb in desk, bedside or hallway lamps. It also offers instant full brightness like incandescent and halogen bulbs; a 77% energy savings compared with a 40-watt incandescent bulb; and a rated life of over 22 years when operated 3 hours per day, according to a Lowe’s press release.
The innovation provides "exceptional value for our consumers," said Karena Bailey, Lowe’s merchandising VP.
At Home Depot, four triggers to a private-label program
As the world’s largest home improvement retailer intends to leverage its private-label offerings across its businesses in the United States, Mexico and Canada, its top merchandising executive described the process for choosing a private-label brand.
There are four triggers that drive a private-label program, said Craig Menear, executive VP merchandising, during the company’s recent Analyst and Investor Conference. They are:
• Lack of brand relevance. ("If a brand doesn’t carry its weight with a customer, the category could very likely become private label," he said.);
• Lack of innovation;
• A financial issue that needs to be solved in the business; and
• A quality issue or opportunity.
" If there is a quality problem, or a significant opportunity to improve the quality and also drive a stronger value proposition for the customer, we’ll look to private label or exclusive product," he said.
Proprietary and private-label brands combined represent about 14% of the company’s business, Menear said. Any growth in these categories will ultimately be determined by customer wants and needs, he added.