Top-load washers making a comeback
Consumers may be falling out of love with their front-load washing machines, according to a survey by The NPD Group, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y. A study of consumer shopping habits in the kitchen appliance category showed that top-load washers are outpacing front loaders in terms of dollar growth, up 8% vs. a slower increase of 5% for front-loaders.
“In laundry, the front-load washer craze may seem to have run its course, as top-load washers make a come-back,” said Mark Delaney, director of The NPD Group’s home division. “On the other hand, it may just be a case of the early adopters needing to be re-sold on replacing their current front-load model with a newer version."
Another trend indicated by the data was in refrigeration, where French door models continue to see growth. Sales were up 15% in November 2010 compared to November 2009.
“French door refrigerators appear to be so strong that even as the premium market struggles, they’re thriving, and actually growing in size as well as share,” said Delaney.
AHMA members sound off on Congress and Net Neutrality
Members of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) anticipate a more business friendly atmosphere in Washington.
That’s one of the findings of the association’s monthly hot topic survey, which is administered along with its Industry Confidence Index.
The December Confidence Index survey asked two supplemental questions of AHMA members: “The House of Representatives will have a Republican majority in January 2011. Do you feel this will result in a more business-friendly atmosphere in Washington?” and “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to impose new “Net Neutrality” regulations on internet commerce. Do you approve of the FCC’s assumption of the power to regulate the internet without congressional approval?”
To the first question, on the Republican majority, 80% responded “Yes,” 17% responded “Not Sure,” and 3% responded “No.”
On the FCC regulations, 10% responded “Approve,” 27% responded “Not Sure,” and 63% responded “Disapprove.”
Worthington Industries reports Q2 sales increase
Columbus, Ohio-based Worthington Industries, makers of metal products including hand torches and propane tanks, posted sales of $580.7 million in the second quarter ended Nov. 30, up 30% from $448.0 million in the same quarter last year.
Net earnings, however, declined to $14.5 million, down from from $23.2 million in the same quarter last year.
"I am pleased with the performance of our company as we continue to produce solid results in our Steel Processing and Pressure Cylinders business segments, despite an uneven economic recovery,” said Chairman and CEO John P. McConnell.
Looking forward, he added: "The third quarter is our historically slowest quarter of the year and while we do expect to see some seasonality impact, we anticipate sustaining much of our volume improvements in Steel Processing and Pressure Cylinders."