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Retail sales rise in December

BY Ken Clark

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December, were $415.7 billion, an increase of 0.5% from the previous month and up 4.7 percent compared with December 2011. 

In the data released Tuesday morning, total sales for the 12 months of 2012 were up 5.2% from 2011.

Retail trade sales were up 0.4% from November 2012 and 4.4% above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 12.6% from December 2011. 

The figures are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. 

For building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, a category that includes home centers and hardware stores, December sales were estimated at $24.804 billion, essentially flat from November, but up 2.0% from the year ago month.

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CertainTeed boosts sustainability of ceilings

BY Ken Clark

Valley Forge, Pa.-based CertainTeed Ceilings is boosting the sustainability of its Ecophon acoustical fiberglass ceiling panels with the addition a fiberglass manufacturing method that combines a high-recycled content with a renewable plant-based binding agent. 

Called 3RD technology, the new binder reduces the environmental impact of the Ecophon product line, according to the company. With a formulation that includes 70% post-consumer recycled content, the panels are manufactured in facilities that derive a large percentage of their electricity from alternative energy sources and strive to reduce waste in packaging and transport. 

“The introduction of 3RD Technology marks a major milestone in our efforts to bring truly innovative acoustical solutions to the marketplace,” said Dawn Chittick, director of marketing for CertainTeed Ceilings. “The sustainability and indoor air quality benefits of 3RD Technology make Ecophon a natural solution for NICUs, patient rooms, schools or anywhere where high sound absorption and low-VOC emissions are of key importance.” 

Ecophon panels with 3RD Technology have been tested for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and found compliant to the current California Department of Public Health Standard Method Version 1.1, 2010 enabling these products to contribute to a healthier indoor environment, the company said.

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Depot gift cards slated for Sandy victims

BY Ken Clark

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation will offer about $2.75 million worth of Home Depot gift cards to Staten Island homeowners recovering from Hurricane Sandy, according to a report in the Staten Island Advance newspaper.

The plan, which is expected to be announced Tuesday at a Staten Island Home Depot, calls for giving out $250 Home Depot gift cards to residents of the New York City borough who live in damaged homes. 

The foundation is named for a New York City fireman who died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The Atlanta-based retailer is donating $100,000 toward the gift-card effort.

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