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Houzz Stat: Renovation pros remain busy

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Houzz has a new industry report: Data Watch: Renovation Firms Have Backlogs, Houzz Research Shows. (“Backlog” refers to the delay or wait time an average firm faces before starting a new midsize project due to its current project commitments.)

Busy with kitchens and baths. Nearly half (49%) of general contractors, remodelers and design-build companies on net report an increase in kitchen or bathroom renovations for the first half of 2017, compared with the same period a year ago.

“On net” means that the percentage of firms reporting increases minus the percentage of firms reporting decreases equals 49 percent. For example, if 54 percent of firms report increases and 5 percent of firms report decreases, that means 49 percent report an increase on net.

Many homeowners are tackling multiple remodeling projects simultaneously, the firms report. With large-scale renovations (kitchens, bathrooms and multiple projects) on the rise, it’s no wonder many of these firms are experiencing project backlogs.

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Apex Tool Group hires former Werner exec

BY HBSDealer Staff

Sparks, Maryland-based Apex Tool Group hired Jeff Campbell as VP, sales and channel marketing, North American hand tools. 

Campbell is responsible for sales and channel marketing efforts in ATG’s Industrial, Construction, and Automotive distribution channels which include all North American Hand Tools product lines, such as Gearwrench, Crescent, Lufkin, and Wiss.

“We are very pleased to welcome Jeff to the ATG team,” said John Constantine, SVP and President, North American Hand Tools. “He brings a wealth of experience to this key role. We look forward to Jeff’s continued success in building brands and helping our customers win.”

Campbell reports to Constantine.

Most recently, Campbell was employed by Werner Co., whee he served as senior VP of North American sales for its Werner ladders and fall protection, Knaack jobsite, and Weather Guard truck and van products. 

Before Werner, he worked for Newell Brands as VP of sales for its Irwin and Lenox tool brands, among others.

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The smart-home trend now knocks at Kohl’s

BY Marianne Wilson

Yet another traditional retailer is partnering with Amazon, as the online behemoth continues to expand its presence in brick-and- mortar stores. 

Kohl's plans to add an Amazon "smart home experience' in-store shop, or "zone," in 10 select Kohl’s locations across the Los Angeles and Chicago areas starting in October. The spaces will allow shoppers to try out and purchase Amazon devices, accessories and smart home devices and services directly from the online retailer.

"We are thrilled to offer a unique new way for customers to try out our lineup of Alexa-enabled Amazon devices, learn more about our smart home services from Amazon experts and then buy those items directly from Amazon — all within Kohl’s stores,” said Dave Zimmer, VP, sales and marketing, Amazon Devices. “Teaming up with Kohl’s provides an incredible opportunity to pair world-class customer and shopping experiences.”

The 1,000-sq.ft. smart home space in Kohl's will provide a hands-on experience where customers can interact with a variety of Amazon devices, including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV, and Fire tablets. The experience will showcase how smart home products – many powered by Alexa – can modernize and simplify home management, entertainment, security and more.  It will be staffed by Amazon sales associates.

Customers will be able schedule an Amazon expert to come to their home, evaluate their needs and install smart home products. The in-store zones will also promote Amazon Home Services, which offers access to vetted local services professionals to help with everything around the house from cleaning to plumbing.

"We believe in the power of our store portfolio and know that our future as a best-in-class omnichannel retailer will be driven by how inventive, compelling and unique we can make our store experience,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer. “Kohl’s and Amazon share a customer obsession and we’ve joined together to leverage each other’s strengths and deliver a great experience customers can only find at Kohl’s.”

Amazon's partnership with Kohl's comes several months after Sears announced it would sell its Kenmore brand appliances on Amazon.com.

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