Target Corp. gets out of the garden
The lawn and garden category began the fiscal year on a bright spot. Garden was one of the highest performing departments during Home Depot’s strong first quarter. A similar story bloomed at Lowe’s. And Ace Hardware cited L&G as one of the high-performance categories coming out of its distribution centers.
Against this rose-colored backdrop comes the sudden announcement from Target Corp. that the Minneapolis-based discounter is closing its Garden Centers. “This is no longer a profitable business for us and does not provide significant value to our guests,” spokeswoman Tammy Robertson told Home Channel News.
According to Rick Pontz, president of the Lawn & Garden Performance Group, a Gilbert, Ariz.-based consulting firm, the demise of the department can be traced to about 10 years ago, when Target closed its outdoor nursery yards in all states except California, Arizona and Florida, focusing instead on garden gifts, upscale garden art, and lawn and garden decorations. The problem with that, Pontz said, is “it eliminated the core lawn and garden consumer who is usually classified as frugal and value-minded.” The closing of the Target Garden Centers was an inevitable result, he said.
Target’s Robertson emphasized that while live plants are out, the retailer will continue to carry lawn and patio assortments in its seasonal departments.
Armstrong reports mixed results for Q2
Lancaster, Pa.-based floor, cabinet and ceiling manufacturer Armstrong World Industries reported second-quarter income of $26.8 million, down 5.3% from the $28.3 million reported for the same period last year.
Sales for the three-month period ended June 30 were $724.8 million, up 2.7% from $705.7 million reported last year. The company said excluding a $6 million impact of foreign exchange rates, sales increased 2%.
By segment, resilient flooring net sales were $276.0 million, up 2% from $270.3 million in the same period of 2009.
Wood flooring sales of $127.2 million in the second quarter were flat compared with $127.8 million in the prior year’s quarter.
Building products sales were $284.4 million, up 5.8% from $268.7 million in the prior year’s quarter.
Cabinet sales were $37.2 million, down 4% from $38.9 million in 2009.
Looking forward, the company expects 2010 sales to be between $2.7 billion and $2.8 billion. Adjusted operating income forecasted range has improved to between $170 million and $190 million, compared with $157 million in 2009.
Scam artist preys on home improvement shoppers
A man claiming he needs money to buys tools because he’s locked out of his car has victimized several elderly citizens outside Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in Glen Burnie, Md., according to an article in the Maryland Gazette.
County police have counted three incidents since June where the suspect, Robert Warren Bayly Jr., has conned victims out of money ranging from $35 to $128 after approaching them in the parking lot and explaining how he locked his wallet and keys inside his vehicle.
On two occasions, Baylay also asked to be driven to multiple locations in an effort to retrieve tools or assistance to open his car, further fleecing his victims along the way. Eventually, he just disappeared.
The suspect is being charged with theft by deception, trespassing, theft under $1,000, theft scheme under $1,000 and obtaining property of a vulnerable adult under $500. Officials with the county sheriff’s office said he was still at large as of July 28.