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Retail group encouraged by sales data

BY Ken Clark

As the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sees it, the figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce exceeded expectations despite headwinds caused by extreme weather in the Northeast and a continued adjustment to higher payroll taxes. 

Monthly retail sales figures for February totaled $421.4 billion, an increase of 1.1% over the previous month, and 4.6% over February 2012. 

“While gasoline prices helped lift the overall sales in February, core retail sales were also strong and demonstrate the resilience of consumers in a slowly recovering economy,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy. “Recognizing the continued challenges consumers face, retailers remain nimble, adjusting marketing, promotions and product assortments to earn their share of consumer spending.”

In addition to gasoline sales, home improvement and grocery retailers saw substantial gains in February, while sales at department stores, sporting goods retailers and home furnishing retailers slipped over the previous month. 

The February retail sales gains come as retailers draw closer to action on federal legislation to level the playing field between Main Street retailers and their online-only competitors. Non-store retailers were up 1.6% from January 2013 and 15.7% February of last year.

RILA said: “Many continue to exploit a loophole that allows them to avoid collecting the state sales tax due on every sale made.” According to RILA, this special treatment gives them a perceived price advantage over brick-and-mortar stores, in some states as high as 10%.

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Simonton Windows supports anti-lead-poisoning effort

BY Ken Clark

Simonton Windows, a Lifetime Founding Sponsor of the Lead Safe America Foundation, has expanded its support for lead safety by sponsoring a series of short online videos for the Foundation, which highlight lead-poisoning prevention solutions for families. 

“The week of March 17-23, 2013, is the ideal time for homeowners to learn more about possible poison exposure from lead-based paint and finishes that were originally used in older homes,” said Gary Pember, VP marketing for Simonton Windows. “Childhood lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage and I.Q. loss, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum symptoms and a long list of other serious health issues." 

Simonton has a “Get the Lead Out” campaign, which includes a special website at simonton.com/leadsafe.

“During this designated week we encourage people to reassess their homes for any potential poison risks, including lead hazards. For example, when it comes time to replace some older windows, lead paint can be disturbed, creating dangerous lead dust hazards.” 

The announcement shortly follows the introduction of legislation in the Senate — The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013, described as a step toward easing the burden of lead regulations lumberyards.

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Golden Hammer poised to strike in Las Vegas

BY Ken Clark

For the 29th year, the Golden Hammer Awards will recognize excellence in the home improvement industry.

The date for the award ceremony and panel presentation has been set for the morning of May 8. It will occur during the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

In addition to recognizing leading companies in the home improvement and building material industry, the Golden Hammer will include a presentation from leading retailers during the breakfast ceremony.

“Everyone at Home Channel News is very happy to build on the tradition of the Golden Hammer event as we continue to work with our partners at the National Hardware Show,” said Ken Clark, HCN editor.

Last year, the event honored Westminster, Mass.-based Aubuchon Hardware as Retailer of the Year and Snohomish, Wash.-based McDaniel’s Do-It-Center as Tools of the Trade honoree. The 2012 event also recognized Bob Taylor, CEO of Do it Best Corp., as the Home Channel Hall of Fame inductee.

The National Hardware Show will take place at the Las Convention Center May 7-9.

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