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United Hardware names new VP

BY HBSDEALER Staff

United Hardware, the Plymouth, Minn.-based hardlines distributor, has announced the promotion of Chad Ruth to the position of VP retail growth initiatives.

Ruth joined United Hardware in 2007 as manager of the home and garden division. That same year he was promoted to Power programs manager. He oversaw the development of retail categories like garden market, backyard chef, wild bird, pet, lawn and gardens solutions, as well as the rollout of the rental program.

In his new role, Ruth will have responsibility for the Power programs division, as well as oversight for sales, retail operations and marketing.

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Home Depot to accept MasterCard PayPass

BY HBSDEALER Staff

MasterCard Worldwide announced Monday that Home Depot will begin accepting its contactless payment system, MasterCard PayPass, at 1,974 retail locations across the United States.

The MasterCard PayPass is designed to provide customers with faster transactions and greater payment convenience: Customers simply tap their MasterCard PayPass cards or devices on a PayPass reader at checkout to complete their purchases.

“Contactless payments meet consumer demand for more convenient ways to pay in retail environments,” said Cathleen Conforti, SVP, Global PayPass, MasterCard Worldwide. “The increasing popularity of MasterCard PayPass demonstrates that merchants and customers alike appreciate the speed and convenience PayPass delivers, as consumers continue to shift their preference to electronic payments from cash and check.”

In addition to MasterCard PayPass, Home Depot will continue accepting all other traditional magnetic-stripe payment-card brands.

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Affluent Americans spending on outdoor improvements, study says

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Affluent Americans — or those making $100,000 or more annually — are spending more on their outdoor living spaces, according to a study by Unity Marketing.

Spending by this group on outdoor living luxuries rose 22.6% from 2007 to 2008, and the trend has continued in the first quarter of 2009, with spending up 33% over the same quarter last year.

The Unity Marketing report — called ATrend Report on the Market for Outdoor Living Products — is based on quarterly surveys among 1,000 to 1,200 affluent consumers conducted in 2007, 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. 

Benefiting most from increased spending on outdoor living goods are big-box home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, where the average amount spent by affluent shoppers surged 24% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the same period last year.

“In the current recession, affluent consumers are investing more in luxuries for their homes and less on experiences, such as dining and travel,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, commenting on the company’s latest survey of luxury consumers. “Opportunities abound for marketers and retailers that tap into the product categories where affluents are still willing to indulge, like the outdoor living areas of their homes.” 

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