NKBA reveals kitchen and bath trends for 2012
After surveying its membership across North America, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has released its kitchen and bath trends for 2012, based on the results of 350 K&B designers who participated in the fourth-quarter 2011 survey.
Listed below are some of the top trends:
• Cherry wood cabinetry is declining in popularity, and no single wood species is rising to take its place. Lesser-known woods such as oak, walnut and hickory are gaining market share. Demand for bamboo has doubled from 5% in 2010 to 10% in 2011. White alder holds 27% of the market, down from 40% two years ago. Dark natural finishes lead the pack at 53%, up from 48% two years ago. But medium natural finishes stand at 55%, and light natural finishes at 30%. Among painted cabinetry, white is the most popular options (59%) but the distressed look is making a comeback.
• Glass blacksplashes: More than half — 52% — of kitchen designers now use it, trailing only natural stone tile and ceramic/porcelain tile. But glass is gaining on the other materials.
• The initial higher upfront cost of LED lighting is no longer a deterrent for most consumers. Specified by 50% of NKBA kitchen designers going into 2010, that number jumped to 54% the following year and has soared to 70% over the past year. The number of consumers requesting CFLs just keeps dropping. In remodeled kitchens, it stands at 26% today.
• Pull-out faucets are replacing the standard faucet with a detached side spray. In the final three months of 2011, 14 out of 15 kitchen designers incorporated a pull-out faucet in the project. Pot filler faucets are losing their appeal, perhaps because the pull-out can do double duty.
• Whose bright ideas was it to replace medicine cabinets with decorative wall mirrors? Consumers have woken up to the fact that they lost important storage space and are demanding them back. As we enter 2012, 66% of NKBA members have incorporated this element into a bathroom design, compared with 36% last year.
• Browns and grays: Putting aside the always popular whites, gray color schemes in both kitchen and bath keeps gaining popularity. Brown is the third most popular color in the kitchen and fourth in the bathroom, right behind gray. In the kitchen, bronzes and terra cottas have risen in favor. Green is still popular in bathrooms, but blue is the new upstart color.
• Move over, brushed chrome and satin nickel, because polished chrome is back. Polished finishes are gaining more converts across the board and the other categories are sinking in popularity. Only stainless steel managed to hold its own, rising from 46% to 50% in the kitchen and increasingly significantly in the bathroom, from 16% to 28%.
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Sears reports $2.4 billion Q4 loss
Sears Holdings Corp. has reported a loss of $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $374 million in the year-ago period. And in a move long anticipated by some analysts, the chain also announced plans to tap into its massive real estate holdings to help make up for its faltering retail performance.
Revenue slipped 4% to $12.5 billion from $13 billion. Same-store sales fell 4.1% during the quarter at Sears and 2.7% at Kmart.
The parent to Sears and Kmart disclosed that it plans to separate its smaller Hometown and Outlet stores as well as some hardware stores to raise $400 million to $500 million, and will sell 11 stores to mall owner General Growth Properties to raise $270 million. That deal, which includes stores that are currently located on GGP properties, is expected to close in April. The stores will continue to operate as Sears locations into 2013 with final closing dates to be determined and announced later this year, according to Sears Holdings.
"We’re executing actions to unlock the value of our portfolio and assets," said Sears CEO Lou D’Ambrosio in a call with analysts.
The plans, which follow news in December that the company would close at least 100 stores to raise cash, are part of the retailer’s aggressive turnaround strategy, which has also included job cuts.
Sears said its quarterly performance was hurt by high costs for cotton and fuel, too-high inventory, and unseasonable weather that led to lower sales of winter gear. The company also cited low consumer demand for two of its biggest categories, appliances and consumer electronics.
For the year, net loss totaled $3.1 billion, compared with net income of $133 million.
Revenue fell 3% to $41.57 billion from $42.66 billion a year ago.
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Toro Co. has a record first quarter
The Toro Co. reported gains in sales and net earnings for its fiscal first quarter ended Feb. 3.
Looking specifically at the Bloomington, Minn.-based company’s residential segment reveals the same upward trend. Residential segment net sales for the fiscal 2012 first quarter totaled $137.6 million, up 11.6% from the same period last year. The company said consumers’ continued acceptance of the residential zero-turn riding product and retailers’ desire to take walk power mower products earlier generated strong shipments of spring goods.
Residential segment earnings for the fiscal 2012 first quarter totaled $12.6 million, up 10.9% from $11.4 million in the same period last year.
Across the total company, which includes a professional segment where golf and landscape contractor equipment showed strength, Toro reported record sales of $423.8 million, up 10.6%. Net earnings were $19.9 million, up 15.3%.
“Looking beyond our existing business, our most recently announced acquisition of the Astec underground products presents substantial opportunities in adjacent markets. As always, now begins the challenge of successfully integrating the acquisition into the company’s operations," said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO.
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