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Report: remodelers seeing growth

BY HBSDealer Staff

A report from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) states that the second quarter saw an increase in remodeling market indicators.

The 2014 Remodeling Business Pulse (RBP) survey demonstrated growth compared to conditions in March, at which time market indicators had just declined.

On a scale of 1 to 9 — where 1 is "much worse than a year ago," 5 is "about the same as last year" and 9 is "much better," — current business conditions increased from 6.07 to 6.29. 

The number of inquiries increased from 6.24 to 6.38, and requests for bids rose to 6.29 from 6.16. Conversion of bids increased to 5.83 from 5.71, and the sales value of jobs went up to 6.20 from 5.84.

“This quarter didn’t show much change in conditions driving growth,” says Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARI’s Strategic Planning Committee. “People needing to do postponed projects remain the number one driver at 80 percent, and improving home prices, at 59 percent, continues at number two. What is encouraging — is that the value of jobs sold had a statistically significant growth.”

One factor that did decline: the three-month outlook for business, which dropped to 6.32 from March’s previous high of 6.51. However, only 8% of remodelers reported decline; 70% are still seeing some level of growth.

“As the industry slowly recovers from the 2008 downturn and comparisons are being made to healthier year-ago periods, we may see these ratings soften some,” O’Grady says. “Remodelers report that shortages are particularly acute for trained workers with basic carpentry skills to work in the field."

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EcoWater Systems Introduces HydroLink Plus Wi-F

BY HBSDealer Staff

St. Paul, Minnesota-based EcoWater Systems, a Marmon Water/Berkshire Hathaway company, is transforming how consumers interact with their water treatment systems with the introduction of HydroLink Plus Wi-Fi web-based technology. HydroLink Plus makes it possible to monitor and manage EcoWater water treatment systems and water usage via a smartphone, tablet or computer from virtually anywhere inside or outside the home.

A simple and secure online dashboard provides appliance information at a glance, such as number of days until the salt is empty, cycle schedule, average daily water usage, water used today, and gallons of treated water remaining. With the information, homeowners can track water usage patterns and adjust habits to save water and money on utility bills. HydroLink Plus also alerts homeowners via text or email when the salt is low and needs refilling, and sends alerts if potential issues are detected, such as a continuous water flow above normal usage threshold. Alerts can be customized according to personal preference via the online dashboard.

“Smart devices are becoming a central hub for monitoring and controlling appliances in today’s digitally-connected homes,” said Chris Wilker, president of EcoWater Systems Professional Products. “HydroLink Plus offers homeowners a new level of convenience and peace of mind regarding water treatment and usage, and can also help to extend the life of the appliance.”

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Whirlpool sales flat in Q2

BY HBSDealer Staff

Whirlpool Corporation reported net sales of about $4.7 billion in the second quarter of 2014, virtually unchanged from the company’s performance in the same quarter last year.

Net sales for the three months ended June 30 totaled $4.68 billion, down 1.4% from $4.75 billion in 2013.

The company’s bottom line read $179 million for the quarter, down from $198 million in the second quarter of last year.

"The second-quarter results were in line with our expectations as our North America Region delivered record operating profit," said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool Corporation. "Overall, the underlying fundamentals of our business remain strong and we continue to invest in our business through innovative new products and acquisitions."

Whirlpool also pointed to a record $2.62 in ongoing business earnings per diluted share, compared to $2.37 last year.

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