Product gets a grip on handles
Re-Grip is renewing its push in the tool repair market with a slogan that reads like instructions: “simply slip, zip, re-grip.” Re-Grip is a patented technology that places or replaces worn-out handle grips on a variety of tools, levers and handles.
The company says it has improved its packaging, its messaging and its pricing. “We’re retail ready now, and we weren’t a year ago,” said Ryan Fogelman, national account manager for Re-Grip, a brand of Chicago Aerosol subsidiary Preval.
The product comes in three sizes – small ($10), medium ($11) and large ($12). Out of the package, a plastic coil keeps the grip in a stretched position ready to slip over a handle. Once in position, the user pulls the tab and the grip contracts tightly into place. The process takes a few seconds, and requires no adhesive.
(Watch video here)
The product was awarded the Bronze Medal in the Consumer Goods/Tools category at the 2017 Edison Awards in New York City last week. It was also a 2016 National Hardware Show Retailer’s Choice for Innovation award winner.
The packaging for 2017 helps consumers match the right size grip to the right size handle.
“There's sentimental value in tools, everybody has a tool handed down from a grandparent or a dad,” Fogelman said. “Re-Grip is great way to maintain these tools, instead of using duct tape.”
Consumer confidence slips in April
April's consumer confidence metric didn't live up to the new benchmark established in March, when consumer confidence reached a 16-year high.
This month, the Index declined to 120.3 from 124.9 in March.
“Consumer confidence declined in April after increasing sharply over the past two months, but still remains at strong levels,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers assessed current business conditions and, to a lesser extent, the labor market less favorably than in March. Looking ahead, consumers were somewhat less optimistic about the short-term outlook for business conditions, employment and income prospects. Despite April’s decline, consumers remain confident that the economy will continue to expand in the months ahead.”
The Present Situation Index also decreased from 143.9 to 140.6. Consumers saying business conditions are “good” declined from 32.4% to 30.2%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” increased slightly, from 13.1% to 13.8%. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was moderately less favorable. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” declined from 31.8% to 30.8%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” was virtually unchanged at 19.1%.
Meanwhile, the Expectations Index declined from 112.3 last month to 106.7. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 26.9% to 24.8%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 8.5% to 10.9%. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead also declined from 23.8% to 23.0%, while those anticipating fewer jobs increased from 12.7% to 13.1%. The percentage of consumers expecting their incomes to increase declined from 22.5% to 19.3%, while the proportion expecting a decrease held steady at 7.5%.
U.S. slaps tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber
The Commerce Department announced a plan to collect 3% to 24% — averaging at about 20% — of what it called “countervailing duties” on lumber entering the country from Canada.
The move is the latest blow in a trade dispute that has simmered since the U.S. and Canada’s Softwood Lumber Agreement expired in October of 2015.
The Commerce Department spelled out specific duties for 5 companies, Canfor Corporation, 20.26%; for J.D. Irving, Limited, 3.02%; for Resolute FP Canada, Ltd., 12.82%; for Tolko Marketing and Sales Ltd. and Tolko Industries Ltd., 19.50 %; and, for West Fraser Mills, Ltd., 24.12%. Commerce established a preliminary subsidy rate of 19.88 % for all other producers/exporters in Canada.
Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require cash deposits based on these preliminary rates. (See announcement here.)
“It has been a bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations,” said Wilbur Ross, U.S. Commerce Secretary.
On the other side of the border, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said: "This decision will negatively affect workers on both sides of the border, and will ultimately increase costs for American families who want to build or renovate homes."
The tariffs are in response to a petition from U.S. companies including Collum’s Lumber Products, L.L.C. (SC); Hankins, Inc. (MS); Potlatch Corporation (WA); Rex Lumber Company (FL); Seneca Sawmill Company (OR); Sierra Pacific Industries (CA); Stimson Lumber Company (OR); Swanson Group (OR); Weyerhaeuser Company (WA); Carpenters Industrial Council (OR); Giustina Land and Timber Company (OR); and Sullivan Forestry Consultants, Inc. (GA).
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association is calling for cooler diplomatic heads to prevail.
"NLBMDA continues its call for the U.S. and Canada to reach a new long-term softwood lumber agreement," said Jonathan Paine, President & CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). "Both sides should work cooperatively toward a resolution that ends the trade dispute and provides predictability and stability to the housing industry."
NLBMDA supports a new SLA that helps meet domestic demand for softwood lumber, does not put American lumber producers at a competitive disadvantage, unnecessarily restrict the availability of products, or increase the cost of housing to the detriment of prospective home buyers and consumers, it said in a statement.
According to the NLBMDA, lumber prices have increased over the past year in anticipation of duties being placed on Canadian softwood lumber imports into the U.S. The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price is now $437 per thousand board feet, up 26% over last year.