Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for April 1, 2011
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
LUMBER: SPF mills across Canada continually scoured the market for sales and lowered prices in the process. Takeaways from yards were also reported to be sluggish. Wholesalers heard little from their customers. Southern Pine dimension lumber prices continued to tumble, with month- and quarter-end discounts plentiful. Sales activity for Coastal species lumber was described as "quiet.” As a result, and despite limited production, prices were weak. The Inland species lumber region has been frustrated by "a triple witching week." Weather, the end of the month and the end of the quarter were three negatives that pulled at the market and caused it to crack. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr remains unchanged, and Shop is still moving up slightly. The most active in Commons is #2, with most widths showing upward tendencies. Selects have been adjusted downward among some Inland producers and key northern California producers. Idaho White Pine producers are generally sold out of most key Sterling items. Eastern White Pine is getting more active, especially from Boston south, as weather improves. Radiata Pine Shop is getting more difficult to find and is $10 firmer this week. Buyers of Western Red Cedar purchased at a pace that projected little urgency. Prices were flat, with a little downside in pricing far more prevalent than any upside.
PANELS: Western Fir plywood mills reported a "slower" sales pace, but were generally able to nudge quotes higher. Inquiries for volumes intended for Japan slowed. The price of 1/2-in. 4 ply edged $5 higher, while quotes for 1/2-in. 5 ply ranged from $360 to $370, up from $355. Southern Pine plywood mills bumped rated sheathing prices early by $5 to $10 in response to decent follow-through and order files extended into the week of April 11. Steady sales of specialty panels prompted higher prices for items such as AC, BC and BBOES. The few producers who can supply OSB to Asia are seeing some good volumes of demand. The domestic market, on the other hand, lacks energy, although it does show some steadiness of pace. Two conflicting forces operate in Canadian plywood now: strong export demand and weak domestic demand. Producers have moved prices up another 2% this week, establishing C$322 as the new baseline. Price determination has been a major challenge for particleboard and MDF producers. Now, another expense is being added: exorbitant freight surcharges. The quiet U.S. market has caused buyers to balk at any sort of increase in prices, and none are reported this week.
Source: RISI’s Crow’s Weekly Market Report
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OPE e-commerce dealer opens first store
Power Equipment Direct, an Internet-only retailer with nine e-commerce sites, has opened its first bricks-and-mortar store — right down the street from Home Dept, Lowe’s and Sears. According to an article in Internet Retailer, the Bolingbrook, Ill., location, a suburb of Chicago, is adjacent to one of the company’s warehouses, allowing immediate fulfillment of most orders.
Founded in 2003, the privately owned company waited until last December to test a “pop-up” store for the snowblowers sold through SnowBlowersDirect.com. By February, after store sales exceeded expectations, company founder and CEO Jon Hoch decided to make the store permanent and offer shoppers his full line of products, which include lawn mowers, pressure washers, air compressors, chain saws, electric generators, log splitters, sump pumps and water pumps.
Each product category has its own e-commerce site, and Hoch said he will consider opening additional stores if the current pilot continues to be successful.
The Internet Retailer clearly
The Internet Retailer clearly states a broad view of how online platforms host and facilitate the development of so many e-commerce stores. I have recently read an article on some web news channel about the fact that Tucson internet service providers have received great reference over some technical assessment and their client numbers are increasing. This is obviously an industry in full expansion.
Consumers continue to plan ahead before shopping
While fewer consumers are seeking out private-label options this year, preplanning activities continue to be a priority, according to a new survey conducted by SymphonyIRI Group.
In SymphonyIRI’s inaugural MarketPulse survey, the group found that 2-out-of-3 shoppers today are making shopping lists prior to visiting the store, while 56% are reading store fliers either before or at the store — statistics that are in line with trends noted in 2010.
What’s more, consumers are shifting back to their favorite brands, although they noted that value is essential when purchasing products. For example, 38% of consumers in 2011 are giving up their favorite brands to save money (down from 46% in 2010), while 36% of consumers actively are seeking out private-label brands to save money today, versus 44% in 2010. From a price standpoint, 64% of respondents said price has become a more important consideration than convenience in brand purchases, a six-point decline from last year.
"An economy in transition to recovery is as tricky to navigate for CPG, retail and healthcare leaders as an economy moving into recession," said John Freeland, president and CEO at SymphonyIRI. "Some shoppers are retaining their frugal ways, others are spending more freely across the board, and others still are spending more on some types of products, but remaining tight-fisted about others. They are also re-evaluating where they purchase their products and updating their definition of value."
"This review of product and retail value proposition provides an outstanding opportunity for manufacturers and retailers willing to analyze carefully discrete shopper microsegments and understand the motivations and drivers of each,” Freeland added.
SymphonyIRI released the survey results during its Summit 2011 conference, which was held in Florida this week.
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