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October retail sales generally hold steady

BY Ken Clark

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October were $411.6 billion, down 0.3% from the previous month, but up 3.8% compared with the same month last year. 

The figures, released Wednesday morning, are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. 

October sales among building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, businesses in the NAICS 444 group, were $24.318 billion, down from $24.798 in September, but up from $24.142 in October of 2011. 

Retail trade sales were down 0.3% from September 2012, but 3.8% above last year.

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Scotts results fall short of expectations

BY Ken Clark

Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. reported net sales of $2.83 billion for the fiscal 2012, up 1% from $2.80 billion in the prior year.

Scotts posted net income of $106.5 million for the year, down 36.6% from $167.9 million in the prior year.

For the fourth quarter, Scotts sales were $401.2 million, down slightly from $403.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. The company posted a net loss of $40.1 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $53.4 million in the same quarter last year.

"Although results did not meet our original expectations, we continue to see benefits from improved marketing and innovation, which helped us grow market share in nearly every category this season," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO. "Our immediate focus remains on returning our business to levels of earnings and cash flow we saw two years ago, which we believe will drive shareholder value in both the near- and long-term.”

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Epicor points to proactive storm measures

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Dublin, Calif.-based Epicor Software Corp. said the security of its 1,000-plus technology customers located in the path of Hurricane Sandy were protected.

“One key challenge during a natural disaster is the need to make quick decisions to organize resources — the LPS team and Watchdog services allows us to reach our customers quickly before, during and after an emergency,” said Mark Fair, VP customer services for Epicor. “Our team is prepared to get our customers back up and running when they go down and many of our customers are consistently monitored by one of our network service products. Our focus is getting customers back online and their businesses operational as soon as possible when disasters strike — it’s our No. 1 priority.”

Epicor leaned on its Epicor Local Platform Specialists (LPS), Epicor Watchdog ISS, and Epicor Secure Data Backup (SDBU) for stability in the storm.

Located on New York’s Long Island, Cross Bay Hardware was hit hard by the powerful winds and penetrating waters of Hurricane Sandy. “We’ve been an Epicor customer for over 20 years and cannot say enough about the LPS support we receive,” said Mike Pecoraro, owner of Cross Bay Hardware. “The Epicor LPS team that supports our stores has always gone above and beyond for our six locations. The devastation of this storm has been incredible and the assistance we have received from Epicor has been the main reason our businesses are still up and running.”

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