Scotts announces record growth for fiscal 2010
Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro reported record sales of $3.14 billion for fiscal 2010, a 5% increase over last year.
Net income of $204.1 million was up 33% from $153.3 million in 2009.
“Every business unit exceeded its original plan, leading to record performance in fiscal 2010,” said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO. “The strength of the core consumer business in particular demonstrates the resiliency of the lawn and garden category, especially of our brands. The strong spring season was followed by a challenging summer. However, fall lawn care activity is the highest we have ever experienced.”
For the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, the company posted a loss of $32.6 million, compared with a loss of $14.9 million in the fourth quarter last year. Sales for the quarter were $475.7 million, down 9.0% from $522.5 million.
“The sales decline in the quarter is in line with expectations due to the calendar shift and early season increases in retail inventory levels,” Hagedorn said. “The strong consumer activity we have seen throughout the fall lawn care season is allowing us to finish the fall season with appropriate levels of retail inventory, which leaves us well positioned for next year’s growing season.”
Lowe’s raises offer to drywall victims
Lowe’s has substantially raised its offer to customers who claim they bought defective drywall at its stores in Georgia after coming under criticism for its previous offer, according to a report by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Pro Publica.
In Lowe’s latest offer, filed on Oct. 28, affected homeowners are now eligible for up to $100,000 in cash, instead of gifts cards in the amounts of $50, $250 or $2,000, with a maximum payout of $4,500 in combined cash and gift cards. The previous settlement had been offered as part of a class action lawsuit that is being negotiated in a Georgia state court.
The earlier settlement set aside $6.5 million for victims and $2.1 million for the attorneys who negotiated the agreement. This resulted in an outcry from public interest attorneys and consumer advocates, who also criticized the payout as being too low. The cost of removing and replacing tainted drywall and corroded electrical wiring can cost $100,000, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The newly amended settlement was negotiated by a separate team of attorneys on behalf of a Florida corrections officer. Lowe’s has set aside an additional $2.25 million for the homeowners in this case. The original attorneys will still get $2.1 million in fees. The new attorneys will receive a separate fee based on how many $100,000 claims Lowe’s eventually pays.
The North Carolina retailer has stated that it does not believe the drywall it sold was defective because Lowe’s vendors assured the company that they never sold it any Chinese drywall. Lowe’s entered into the original agreement “as part of our commitment to serving our customers,” according to a company statement.
Sentence for former Depot buyer
A former Home Depot product category merchant was sentenced to more than two years in prison for participating in what has been described as a $1.5 million fraud scheme in the retailer’s flooring department.
According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Ronald Douglass Matheny II, 43, of Chattanooga, Tenn., was sentenced to two years and three months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and additional charges.
In April, two of the three figures involved were sentenced. James Robinson, a former divisional merchandise manager for hard flooring at Home Depot received a sentence of 63 months in prison. Ronald Johnston, the company’s global product merchant for rugs, was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Both men were also ordered to pay $1.8 million.
In June, former buyer Anthony Tesvich was sentenced to six and a half years.