Saint-Gobain closes China DIY stores
Global construction supplier and retailer Saint-Gobain has closed its La Maison building material stores in China, according to a report in Agence France Presse.
La Maison’s 86,000-sq.-ft. flagship store and six design showrooms in Shanghai stopped operating during the week of March 10, a company spokesman told AFP. He blamed recent measures by the Chinese government to cool the housing boom and the change in construction practices, which are building more “finished” properties outfitted with electrical, plumbing and other “pre-decorations.”
China’s attempts to rein in real estate sales over the past year include raising minimum down payments, banning second and third home purchases in some cities and introducing property taxes in Shanghai and Chongqing.
Many retailers are struggling to find their stride in China, including Home Depot, which closed five of its 12 stores there last year, exiting the Beijing market altogether.
Mixed story for hardware store sales
The Census Bureau’s Monthly Retail Trade Report showed sales for hardware stores — NAICS code 44413 — were $1.298 billion in January, the most recent month of available data in this business classification. That’s down 22.9% from December’s unadjusted figure of $1.683 billion.
But the rush on extra ice melt and shovels had a positive side: January sales were up 1.6% compared with January 2010.
The data was released Tuesday along with advanced monthly retail sales for February.
Twister destroys Alabama hardware store
Alexander’s Hardware in Theodore, Ala., was destroyed by a tornado on March 9, one of four twisters that moved through the westernmost area of the Florida Panhandle.
The National Weather Service determined that the worst of four tornados hit the hardware store with 120 mph winds, tearing off the roof, caving in the walls and turning merchandise into flying projectiles. Owner Margaret Alexander and five employees were in the store at the time. No one was injured.
Video footage posted on YouTube and numerous media sites, including WKRG News, shows the tornado from inside the store. Alexander had installed surveillance cameras to combat shoplifting and caught the event from start to finish.