Wal-Mart to sell house-branded CFLs
Wal-Mart Stores has announced it will sell its own house-branded “Great Value” CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs in more than 3,000 stores.
“The introduction of our Great Value bulbs make CFLs a more accessible option for our shoppers as we strive to sell 100 million CFLs by the end of 2007,” said Wal-Mart general merchandise manager Andy Barron in a statement from the company.
Wal-Mart said four of its “Great Value” CFL bulbs will sell for the cost of three regularly priced, brand name CFL bulbs.
The company has focused heavily on the sale of CFL bulbs. At the company’s June annual meeting of shareholders, executives discussed the company’s environmental initiatives, including plans to promote energy-efficient CFL bulbs and reduce packaging on store shelves.
Builder confidence index drops two points
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo joint Housing Market Index dropped two points to 20, tying the index’s record low reached in January 1991.
“Builders are expressing concern that home buyers are getting spooked by the many headlines they are seeing on mortgage market issues and their continuing effects on the housing market and home prices,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde. “Indications are that consumers are trying to time the bottom of the market before making their purchase.”
Scores from three component indexes are used to calculate the seasonally adjusted index, where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.
Two out of three component indexes declined in September. The index gauging current single-family home sales declined two points to 20, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months fell five points to 26. The index gauging traffic of prospective buyers held steady at 16 for the month.
All four regions of the country reported declines in their September housing market index readings. The Northeast posted a three-point decline to 26, while the Midwest posted a single-point decline to 13. The South posted a two-point decline to 22, and the West posted a four-point decline to 18.
New construction slows further
The U.S. Commerce Department announced housing starts fell 2.6 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.331 million units, compared with a downwardly revised figure of 1.367 million units in July.
Year-over-year, new housing starts were down 19 percent, with single-family starts off 27 percent.
It was the lowest pace for housing starts since the June 1995 rate of 1.281 million units, according to the Commerce Department.
Building permits also fell, 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.307 million, also the lowest since June 1995.
The decline in construction last month took place exclusively in single-family homes, where starts fell 7.1 percent to 988,000. Multi-family housing starts rose 12.8 percent last month to 343,000.
Single-family starts were down in all regions of the United States, falling 20 percent in the Northeast, 18 percent in the West, 3 percent in the Midwest and 1 percent in the South.