More on Bernie Marcus
“As a proud associate of The Home Depot, I take great exception to Eric Ziedrich’s comments (in the Readers Response area) regarding Bernie Marcus. (Marcus contribution, alternative view, Feb. 10)
“No one believes that Bernie is God, but he is, and was, a true visionary. He understood what the people wanted and needed, and provided it for them.
“The Home Depot might have contributed to ‘the demise of scores of mom-and-pop shops,’ but I wonder how the general consumer feels (and felt) about one-stop shopping at reduced prices?
“And, I also wonder how the 1000s of associates and believers (in Bernie’s vision) feel about becoming significantly more wealthy because of Bernie and Arthur and Pat and Ken and Ron, etc.
“And, as for Bernie being praised for his generosity — there is no irony here. Bernie has always preached ‘Giving back,’ always preached ‘Take care of each other,’ and always preached ‘Respect for all.’ But Bernie didn’t just preach it — he lived it and (obviously) he still does.”
— Bill Henn
Home Depot associate
The $25 billion question
(Letters responding to an article titled “Banks agree to a $25 billion settlement.”)
“Let’s see: The government demands that banks make questionable loans to people who did not have to prove cash flow or even a job. The customer can’t pay it back, surprise, so our benevolent government comes to the rescue. So they have created a bad guy, banks, a good guy, government, and another dependent class, homeowner.”
— Paul Gabbard
“Is any of this money available to people who have already lost their homes and savings? How about helping them?!”
— Cal Brewer
Menards and “Made in the USA”
“I was very glad to see that you took the time to produce a feature focused on products made in the USA, but failed to give any recognition to a company that is the definition of what America is all about. Menards has always been privately owned and is based on solid family values and sound financial planning.
“[Menards] also focuses on products made in the USA more so that just about any other company. Every home improvement store or hardware store has imported items whether they admit it or not. Many focus four to six promotions every year specifically devoted to the promotion and sales of products ‘Made in the USA.’ Menards does with its regular ‘Made in the USA’ sales promotions!
It has always been a bit of a disappointment when I read my HCN every month that the No. 3 in sales home center in the USA — where you can get just about anything you need, and the only one that has gone through the past economic downturn without closing a single store, with increasing sales in the process — gets very little recognition. There is a reason why in the Chicago market Lowe’s and HD have put up hand-painted signs in front of their store specifically targeting Menards. They do it better and they are afraid of what they are doing to them.
“It might be time to recognize those companies that are using sound values to help make America strong again, instead of those who have put people out of work due to their poor planning and lack of business sense.”
Domestic manufacturing continues
“Our company, DMT Diamond Machining Technology, is manufactured here in Massachusetts, and we export to more than 28 countries around the world. We have been in business since 1976. We are very proud of still being a made-in-the-USA company and truly meaning it.
“We, too, have noticed an uptick in the interest of USA-made [products]. We have seen [that] when people ask at trade shows around the country and also on inquiries here at the plant.”
— Stacey Brandon
DMT, Marlborough, Mass.
“Thank you very much for your article, ‘Made in the USA.’ It is articles such as this and ‘The All American Home’ built in Montana that inspired us to start buildtheus.com. This site is a hub for people to find American-made products and to be able to do their part to support this economy.”
— Dudley Powell
Build the U.S.
Big boxes, big numbers
Take Home Depot’s fourth-quarter comps — positive 5.7% — add it to Lowe’s fourth-quarter comps — positive 3.4% — and you have the highest combined comp sum in six years. You’d have to go back to the fourth quarter of 2005 for a higher figure (positive 13.3%).
Sales were also a positive story with a 5.9% fourth-quarter increase emanating from Atlanta, and an 11% increase at Lowe’s.
Here is how the sales stacked up across the past two years for the two industry giants:
The appliance wars
In a preliminary finding, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has sided with Whirlpool in its anti-dumping petition against Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. The Benton Harbor, Mich., manufacturer claims it is being harmed by Samsung and LG, which are selling washers made in South Korea and Mexico at below fair value.
The ITC voted 4-1 in favor of the petition, which could lead to the United States imposing anti-dumping penalties and tariffs on residential washer imports by Samsung and LG. The issue is still under investigation by the ITC, which expects to release its final results by February 2013.
In response to the ITC’s preliminary determination, Samsung released a statement pointing out Whirlpool’s dominant market share in the United States and recent announcement of increased earnings. “We are confident that once the full investigation is concluded, it will be concluded that Samsung is in compliance with U.S. trade laws,” the company said.
LG said in a statement that the ITC maintains a “low threshold” for determining violations at this stage and is confident that it will ultimately prevail.
According to the Commerce Department, the United States imported $1.1 billion of washers from Mexico and South Korea in 2010.