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NRF lowers retail-growth forecast

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Retail Federation today lowered its retail sales forecast for 2014 because of slow growth recorded during the first half of the year, but said sales are expected to grow significantly faster over the next five months. NRF forecasted in January that retail sales would grow 4.1% in 2014 over 2013, but today’s revision lowers the forecast to 3.6%.

NRF calculated that sales grew 2.9% during the first half of the year and are expected to grow at least 3.9% during the second half. The numbers include general retail sales and non-store sales, and exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“No retailer was immune to the doldrums witnessed during the first quarter, and as a result, the year’s growth trajectory was impacted,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “That said, there is plenty of evidence that the second half of the year will be better for the industry as consumers begin to feel more optimistic about their spending decisions. 

“And though we maintain realistic expectations of retail sales growth in 2014, we are optimistic that the chances for a stronger economy still exist,” continued Shay.

“The severe weather and other factors we experienced earlier this year have taken their toll on retail, but most of those problems are behind us,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “A second look at our forecast shifted our expectations slightly, but it’s important to note that the outlook is positive. Sales are growing, and we expect them to continue at a moderate pace.”

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USG looks to honor drywall finishers with contest

BY David Salazar

Chicago-based Building materials company USG is looking to highlight the best drywall finishers by rolling out a new Building Greatness program.

The program takes the form of a contest whose winner gets a trip to the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Contestants can submit photos of drywall finishing jobs they’re proud of to USG through March 1, 2015.

“We want to show drywall finishers that USG values their hard work,” USG’s director of product marketing performance surfaces Kevin Moyer said. “The skill and craftsmanship that goes into this profession is too often overlooked.”

Contestants can send in submissions once a month, all of which will be displayed on the Facebook page for USG Sheetrock. There will be four runners-up, who will receive a prize worth up to $100.

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Duracell plans Quantum leap this summer

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Duracell will launch new Quantum C, D and 9-Volt batteries during the summer of 2014. The launch will coincide with the first anniversary of the launch of the Quantum battery line.

The new batteries will have the same suite of exclusive features and technologies as Quantum AA and AAA batteries. All three new batteries include a Hi-Density Core to deliver more fuel and superior, unbeatable performance, the new Powercheck to instantly see the remaining power in the battery, and Duralock Power Preserve Technology to stay fresh for up to 10 years in storage. 

These features increase battery life and dependability, the company said. 

“We are excited to build on last year’s introduction of the Quantum battery,” said Paul Schacht, Duracell professional team lead. “Our customers need reliable, long-lasting batteries to help them perform critical jobs in the work place every day, whether they are plant managers, office managers or hospitality professionals. We are confident they will find the new C, D and 9-Volt Quantum batteries to be excellent additions to the Duracell lineup.”

The new Quantum batteries are part of a growing sector of the battery market. C, D and 9-Volt batteries currently represent more than a third of the battery market, and the share continues to grow. More than 300 million devices in the United States depend on the power of C, D and 9-Volt batteries. These devices include smoke detectors, flashlights and lanterns, among other critical devices.

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