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Taxes shake consumer confidence index

BY Ken Clark

The impact of increased payroll taxes is the likely culprit in the decline of consumer optimism, according to the director of The Conference Board, the New York City-based business group.

“Consumer Confidence posted another sharp decline in January, erasing all of the gains made through 2012,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers are more pessimistic about the economic outlook and, in particular, their financial situation. The increase in the payroll tax has undoubtedly dampened consumers’ spirits, and it may take awhile for confidence to rebound and consumers to recover from their initial paycheck shock.”

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in December, fell further in January. The Index now stands at 58.6 (1985=100), down from 66.7 in December, and down from 61.5 a year ago.

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Lowe’s promotes supply chain executive

BY Ken Clark

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s has promoted Stephen Szilagyi to the post of supply chain executive, responsible for overseeing Lowe’s state-of-the-art logistics and distribution network that expedites the replenishment of merchandise and supplies to all Lowe’s stores.

He will report to Rick Damron, chief operating officer.

Szilagyi has more than 25 years of supply chain experience, including leadership roles prior to Lowe’s in wholesale distribution and retail/consumer products supply chain consulting services.

He began his career at Lowe’s in 2001 as regional director of distribution and was named VP distribution in 2002 and senior VP in 2006.

“Steve and his team have made significant improvements in our safety, speed to market and employee engagement,” said Damron.

Szilagyi earned a bachelor’s degree in materials and logistics management from Michigan State University.

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DeWalt launches new lithium-ion radar scanner

BY Ken Clark

Towson, Md.-based DeWalt has expanded its 12-Volt MAX Lithium Ion system with the introduction of a Hand-Held Radar Scanner.

The scanner offers radar-sensing technology that detects and identifies wood, ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal, live electric wires and PVC behind multiple types of wall surfaces.

The design was informed by the company’s research team that “heard a number of frustrations from end users who work in buildings where there currently is no easy and reliable way to determine if pipes, studs or wiring are present behind a wall,” said Christine Potter, director of marketing,

The product scans through multiple wall surfaces, including drywall, plywood, concrete, marble and ceramic tile at a sensing depth of up to 3 ins. It displays objects it detects behind the wall surface on a 3.5-in. LCD color screen.

The scanner also features a pre-scan mapping mode that eliminates the need for the user to calibrate or choose between settings. The first pass over the wall surface maps all of the detected objects behind the surface. When the user reverses the direction of it to scan, the objects detected behind the wall surface are displayed. 

Additionally, a tracking bar counts the number of objects detected in an up to 9.8-ft. section of a wall surface, and a confidence meter communicates the unit’s signal strength. An ergonomic handle with a soft over-mold grip provides a comfortable grip for the user.

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