Sales holding steady in January
Advance monthly retail sales for January increased 0.4% to $401.4 billion, according to data released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The January 2012 figure, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, is up 5.8% compared with the sales estimate from January 2011.
Also on an adjusted basis, the NAICS classification 444 — building material & garden equipment and supplies dealers — showed a 0.2% increase over December 2011, and an 8.1% increase compared with January 2011. The latest NAICS 444 figure was estimated at $26.1 billion.
The National Retail Federation saw the bright side of the data. “Thanks to a combination of unseasonably warm weather across much of the country and millions of shoppers with gift cards burning holes in their pockets, retailers are still riding the tailwinds of consumers’ spending power,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “As a traditionally slower sales month for the industry, it’s encouraging to see such sustained growth in consumer spending and sentiment.”
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Readers Respond: Thoughts on a $25 billion settlement
Home mortgage lending abuses and "robo-signing" of foreclosure papers have led to one of the largest settlements ever — amounting to $25 billion in relief. The settlement with the five largest loan services will be used in a variety of complicated ways to help distressed borrowers, states and the federal government, according to the plan.
Below are some comments from readers.
“My personal feeling is this huge settlement won’t mean any more for the citizens of our country than the huge tobacco settlement did. There will be a handful of people helped in each state just to make it look good, but the majority of the funds will go into the general fund of each state and be used for other purposes — not what it was intended for. Just go back and follow the tobacco settlement funds and see what percentage was used to help people kick the habit and what percentage was used for nonrelated expenses.
“These major financial institutions aren’t going to pay this $25 billion out of their revenue accounts. They are going to dramatically increase their fees for all related services so all citizens across our country get hit hard paying higher fees in depressed economic times when they can least afford it.
“Any settlement dollars collected should be divided up among the major charities in our country. That way we know it will go to help the people in need and not be wasted by politicians using it to buy votes.”
— William S. Bates
“Let’s see: the government demands that banks make questionable loans to people who did not have to prove cash flow or even a job. The customer can’t pay it back (surprise), so our benevolent government comes to the rescue. So they have created a bad guy, the banks; a good guy, the government; and another dependent class, homeowners.”
— Paul Gabbard
“Is any of this money available to people who have already lost their homes and savings? How about helping them?!”
— Name withheld
Means nothing. Even is
Means nothing. Even is someone receives $2000 in cash, they will not see it for 3 years. Not much good for today. Since the housing crisis is such a mess, if the Govt. wants to get things going, forgive the amount owned on homes, that's over what they are worth. Then people will owe what there worth, and can sell, move. Where-as now, they are stuck in their homes. I know this sounds crazy, but the banks deserve it for the stunts they pulled. This will get the home market going again, reset the playing field. Part 2 is for business's to give out much needed pay raises, and I mean significant ones. Most people have not seen a raise in years. If they get little raises like 3%, they will just save the money, not spend it in the economy. If they get good raises, they will save some,and spend some on much needed items and projects they have been putting off.
Lowe’s ramps up accessibility in the home
Lowe’s entered the do-it-yourself ramp market with what it calls an "affordable, configurable" ramp system.
The Gatehouse Custom Access Ramp System will be available to consumers in Lowe’s stores and on Lowes.com in spring 2012.
The product, which is the latest extension of Lowe’s accessible home products for safety and mobility in the home, was unveiled at the 2012 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.
“The Lowe’s exclusive Gatehouse Custom Access Ramp System, the latest addition to the Gatehouse line of mobility ramps, was created by Lowe’s designers and combines the best features of aluminum ramps and custom wood ramps into an innovative, affordable solution that meets any residential or commercial need,” said Greg Bridgeford, Lowe’s executive VP of business development. “With this new program, Lowe’s can help families enjoy a ramp system that will improve mobility without sacrificing style, providing individuals with an accessible home for years to come.”
Gatehouse’s system combines the look of a custom-built wood deck with the easy installation of an aluminum modular ramp. The system installs in less time than custom wood ramps and can be configured with right, left and U-turns to fit the accessibility needs of the home, according to Lowe’s. The temporary aluminum structure may also be outfitted to match the style of the home with coordinating decking products such as caps, balusters, post sleeves and railings and is a portable home access solution.
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