Scotts sees a strong start to lawn-and-garden season
Marysville, Ohio-based The Scotts Miracle-Gro said a record level of consumer purchases in March led to a 4% gain in company-wide sales in the second quarter to $1.17 billion.
Entering May, consumer purchases of the company’s products at its largest retail partners in the United States were up 8%, with growth in 45 states, all major retail channels and nearly all product categories.
Net income was reported at $127.2 million, down from $177.6 million in the same quarter last year.
"We are well positioned as we conclude the peak weeks of the lawn fertilizer season and move into the peak of gardening activity," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO. "We have seen strong consumer engagement across the United States whenever the weather has cooperated as evidenced by the 20% increase in consumer purchases for the second quarter. Entering May, consumer purchases are up 8%, an outstanding result with growth and market share gains in nearly every category and region.”
Sales in the U.S. business increased 3%, while sales in the international business increased 5%, or 8% excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates.
"While the gross margin rate in the quarter was consistent with our expectations, we are closely monitoring recent trends in material and distribution costs, product mix and trade promotions," said Dave Evans, executive VP and chief financial officer. "Continued negative trends in any of these areas increase the likelihood that gross margin rate could fall below the low end of the range that we outlined earlier this year."
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Solar solutions packaged for N.C. homeowners
Homeowners seeking lower utility bills in North Carolina have a new option, according to vendors making it happen.
Solar-powered electricity and hot water, along with efficient thermostat controls, are all being wrapped into a single package, under to a new partnership between three companies: Meritage Homes, EchoFirst solar systems and Southern Energy Management (SEM).
The deal marks the first time Echo technology has been deployed in the eastern United States.
Echo said it delivers twice the energy of a basic solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system by supplementing conventional panels with a unique solar thermal technology that captures the heat from the PV panels. Echo systems generate electricity and also hot water for washing and bathing. This enables Meritage to offer homes that use 70% to 80% less energy than a standard code-built home in the United States. Additionally, the systems include Energy Star-qualified thermostat controls designed to automatically reduce heating and cooling bills by about another 10%, along with mobile phone-enabled remote thermostat control.
“Meritage Homes understands that homeowners are looking for ways to save money on utility bills without sacrificing features, amenities or lifestyle,” said Meritage Homes VP marketing Eric Rosson. “By building new homes with solar PV and water heating in one, we’re offering homes the way they can, and should, be built.”
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NAHB survey: Kitchens and bathrooms remain top remodeling jobs
Both kitchen and bathroom renovations have increased 17% from two years ago, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), with bathroom remodels cited as a common job by 78% of remodelers and kitchen remodels at 69%. Since 2009, bathrooms and kitchens have switched places in popularity, with bathroom remodels moving into the top spot as the most common type of remodeling project.
Remodelers reported that homeowners were frequently upgrading both kitchens and baths, cited their desire to stay in their homes longer. Nearly 50% of remodelers reported seeing an increase in the number of home owners who undertake remodels to avoid moving compared to the 2010 findings.
In addition to kitchens and baths, other popular remodeling categories included window/door replacements (44%), whole house remodels (35%), room additions (33%) and handyman services (31%).
For complete survey results, visit www.nahb.org/rmi.
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