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Residential Building Products & Technology launches iPad app

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Residential Building Products & Technology, the all-digital magazine covering the latest products, trends and technology for residential construction professionals, is now available as an iPad app.

The new magazine is available as an iPad app and online digital edition. It features stories on top gadgets, the return of luxury building projects, linear bath drains and lots more. Fully interactive iPad and Android apps for the magazine are in development. More content is available at resbuildmag.com

The digital magazine’s preview issue features stories on top gadgets, the return of luxury building projects, linear bath drains and much more. The magazine features in-depth editorial analysis of contemporary building concepts, along with striking visuals, product videos and interactive features

Residential Building Products and Technology is the latest product from Lebhar-Friedman’s Residential Products Group. At the helm of the new digital publication are veteran building publisher Jack Brannigan and editor-in-chief Nigel F. Maynard. Maynard’s work has appeared in This Old House, New Old House Magazine, inform: Architecture + Design, Bethesda Magazineand Arlington Magazine.

The editorial mission of Residential Building Products & Technology includes the promise to dive below the surface of building products and examine the trends and the details that allow builders, remodelers and subcontractors to better serve their customers. Technology, technique and tools will all be featured along with the latest building concepts in the residential construction industry. 

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Consumer confidence rebounds in February

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Consumer confidence rebounded in February, reversing three straight months of declines, according to The Conference Board, a private research group. The Conference Board’s closely-watched Consumer Confidence Index stands at 69.6, up from 58.4 in January. Economists had expected 60.5, according to research firm FactSet.

It was the highest reading since November’s 71.5 metric. 

"Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions is more positive than last month,” said the group’s director of economic indicators, Lynn Franco. “Looking ahead, consumers are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for business and labor market conditions. Income expectations, which had turned rather negative last month, have improved modestly."

Consumers’ assessment of present day conditions improved in February. Those claiming business conditions are “good” rose to 18.1% from 16.1%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” decreased to 27.8% from 28.4%. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was mixed. Those saying jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.5% from 8.5%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged up to 37.0% from 36.6%.

Consumers were more optimistic about the short-term outlook this month. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 18.9% from 15.6%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen declined to 16.5% from 20.4%.

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Sears narrows its losses in Q4

BY Ken Clark

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings posted sales declines for both its fourth quarter and full year, but the retail icon narrowed its losses significantly.

The company’s net loss for the fourth quarter was $489 million, compared with a loss of $2.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. For the full year, the company narrowed its loss to $930 million from $3.1 billion.

"Sears Holdings made progress in 2012 improving the profitability of our business, but we know there’s more work to be done in 2013," said Edward Lampert, Sears Holdings’ chairman and CEO.

Sales, however, declined, in several major metrics. 

The retailer posted fourth-quarter sales of $12.3 billion, down 3.4% from the same period a year ago, as domestic comp-store sales declined 1.6%. For the full year, sales declined 5.3% to $39.9 billion. Comp-store sales were negative 2.5% for the year.

Decreases in comparable-store sales at Sears Domestic of 1.4% for the year were driven by decreases in consumer electronics, lawn and garden and home appliances, as well as at Sears Auto Centers.

These decreases were partially offset by increases in apparel and home, the company said. The Kmart decline in comparable-store sales of 3.7% reflects decreases in a majority of its categories, most notably the consumer electronics, pharmacy, grocery and household and drug store categories. 

Lampert maintained a stay-the-course approach. 

"Our focus continues to be on our core customers, our members, and finding ways to provide them value and convenience through Integrated Retail and our SHOP YOUR WAY Membership platform. We have invested significantly in our online e-commerce platforms, our membership rewards program and the technology needed to support these initiatives."

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