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USO receives makeover from Lowe’s

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s announced it will make over 16 USO centers across the country in time for troops returning home for the holidays.

The company said that it will provide the products and volunteers to complete the projects to revitalized the centers where troops spend time and relax while off duty.

USO centers were visited more than 5.3 million times by military personnel and their families in 2009, where they could enjoy free Internet and e-mail access, libraries and reading rooms, housing assistance, family crisis counseling, support groups, game rooms and nursery facilities.

“What a great way to say thank you to our troops and their families,” said Sloan Gibson, president of the USO. “We continue to salute Lowe’s for the company’s commitment to helping our men and women in uniform who served and continue to serve our nation.”

The makeover projects will include painting, installing carpet and updating lighting, among other repairs. They will be lead by Lowe’s Heroes volunteers, a company-wide volunteer initiative that offers Lowe’s employees the opportunity to work on projects in their own neighborhoods.

Lowe’s also credited vendors like Valspar, Mohawk, 3M, Graco, Harper and Wooster for donating their products.

The makeovers are in addition to other Veterans Day discounts being offered by Lowe’s.

The following USOs will receive makeovers from Lowe’s:

USO Airport Georgia – Savannah, Ga. USO Fort Bliss – El Paso, Texas USO Fort Hood – Killeen, Texas USO Fort Drum – New York USO Great Lakes – Great Lakes, Ill. USO Hampton Roads – Norfolk, Va. USO Houston – Houston USO Los Angeles – Los Angeles USO Missouri – St. Louis USO Naval Air Station – Pensacola, Fla. USO New York – New York USO North Carolina – Jacksonville, N.C. USO Pensacola Airport Center – Pensacola, Fla. USO Puget Sound – Seattle USO Rocky Mountain – Denver USO San Diego – San Diego

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Operative word from NPD research: ‘Improving”

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Port Washington, N.Y.-based researching firm The NPD Group reported that “pent-up demand” in the home improvement sector is on the rise and should help an industry recovery.

“There are signs of cautious optimism out there, especially among younger consumers, but price is still king,” said Mark Delaney, director of The NPD Group’s home division. “Clearly, pent-up demand is rising, and home improvement should help lead us in the recovery.”

The outlook for future DIY home improvement purchases is improving, according to the group’s recent research. The company’s Economy Tracker shows fewer people are planning to defer home improvement purchases — declining by 10 points year over year (three months ending Oct. 2010). Deferment is declining fastest among younger consumers.

Fewer people have deferred purchases over the last 12 months; however, this has increased among older consumers.

Regardless of age, consumers are looking for price and convenience when it comes to deciding which retailer to shop at for their hand tool purchases.

The company’s Consumer Tracking Service shows the following sales levels for the year ended October 2009 through September 2010:

• Wrenches: $363 million • Screwdrivers: $185 million • Hammers: $174 million

According to the 2010 Beyond the Boomers report, younger consumers, specifically those in Generation Y, show more opportunity for the hand tools market, with fewer items already owned, and a higher propensity for purchase, according to NPD Group.

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Whirlpool celebrates 100 years

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool kicked off its yearlong 100th anniversary celebration today with a series of events, including company chairman and CEO Jeff Fetting ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the company said.

“It is appropriate for our company to begin this historic year with the New York Stock Exchange,” Fettig said. “Our company held its first stockholders’ meeting on Nov. 11, 1911.  For 99 years, we have worked diligently to create long-term value for our shareholders, and it is only fitting that we would begin our 100th year in business right here on the trading floor of the NYSE. Whirlpool Corp. has had a remarkable and inspiring history.”

Fetting said the company first posted its stock on the NYSE 55 years ago.

“Whirlpool Corp.’s history has been guided by principles of integrity and perseverance ever since Lou Upton, Emory Upton and Lowell Bassford launched the first electric wringer washing machine in 1911,” Fettig said. “Through the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the rapid economic changes and challenges of more recent years, those ideals have guided our growth from a small washing machine company to a diversified, multibillion-dollar global operation, and they will continue to guide us into our second century.”

The company also held two groundbreaking ceremonies as part of the celebration, one for its new campus in the company’s headquarters city of Benton Harbor, Mich., and another for a new, 1 million-sq.-ft., LEED-certified manufacturing facility to produce premium cooking products in Cleveland, Tenn.

The company also announced additional events planned throughout the year to recognize the accomplishments of Whirlpool employees and partners around the world. The company said it will publish an official history of Whirlpool and launch an employee volunteerism program encouraging employees to contribute 100 volunteer hours. The company will also hold select facility tours for members of the media and corporate partners.

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