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April 10, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- James Gillula said he expects the United States unemployment rate to fall below 6.5% by mid-year. He cautioned that a slowdown in China could impact the U.S. economy. And he expects the home improvement industry to recoup pretty much all of its weather-related losses from the hash winter.

Those were some of the macroeconomic ideas supplied by Gillula during the 2014 Home Improvement Research Institute Spring Conference held here April 10. 

April 10, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- Here at the 2014 Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) Spring Conference, Sarah Catlett, VP of The Futures Company, took a high-level, continental look at consumer marketing.

Catlett kicked off the HIRI conference with a quick look at Target's disappointing venture into Canada. The Minnesota-based retailer's efforts to change the way Canadians shop has fallen short, she said, partly because the company missed consumer and cultural cues. 

April 1, 2014

Arlington, Va. -- In a hotel conference room here filled with pro dealers about to make their lobbying rounds on Capitol Hill, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association's Jonathan Paine and Ben Gann rallied the troops.

March 31, 2014

Arlington, Va. -- Three operators of successful and growing lumberyards put their fingers on the pulse of the LBM industry and offered a prognosis for opportunities and challenges.

March 10, 2014

Cologne, Germany -- John Herbert has a front row seat on the global home-improvement retailing scene. The former president of EXPO Design Center West Coast (USA) and the current general secretary of the European DIY-Retail Association, Herbert identified six major changes facing retailers in 2014.

March 10, 2014

Cologne, Germany -- European economists have a new phrase to describe their expectations for future growth. Out of fashion is "cautiously optimistic." In fashion is "moderately positive, but wobbly."

March 7, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- During its Spring Dealer Market hear, Orgill expanded its show floor to more than 750,000 sq. ft., including multiple model stores and a showcase area that introduced a new vivid Solutions paint area and a “Backyard Oasis” featuring outdoor living ideas.

Organizers said thousands of retailers from the United States, Canada and all over the world took part in the market, which drew to a close March 1.

February 25, 2014

Atlanta -- True Value Co.'s Special Order App for mobile devices is putting more power into the hands of retailers, according to the co-op.

What began as a concept about 18 months ago, the True Value mobile ordering app is now in its sixth month of operation. It's in use at about 1,800 retailers making thousands of orders, said Rosalee Hermens, VP and chief information officer for True Value. 

February 10, 2014

Las Vegas -- They are arguably the world's first mobile apps, not counting the abacus. And yet, handheld calculators are showing no signs of disappearing from the job site.

In fact, Calculated Industries, makers of the Construction Master Pro handheld calculator, is adding (some would say multiplying) to its product offering to appeal to new users and old. 

February 7, 2014

Led by a resurgence in single-family production, housing will continue its climb toward higher ground in 2014, but builders are still confronting several challenges that could hinder the pace of the ongoing recovery, according to economists speaking at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas.

February 7, 2014

Las Vegas -- At last year’s International Builders’ Show, industry economists from the builders’ biggest trade group looked into their crystal balls and made forecasts for housing starts.

How did they do? Short answer: Not bad.

A little more than a year ago, HCN reported the housing start forecast from National Association of Home Builders chief economist David Crowe. Here’s how it stacked up with time and reality:

Total housing starts

February 5, 2014

Las Vegas -- While Eastman discontinued its decking entrant called Perennial Wood, the company says it's in full-steam-ahead mode in the building and construction material industry. 

February 5, 2014

Las Vegas -- One speaker at the President's Council Advisory Board meeting here during the International Builders' Show explained that "we're not in full panic mode," anymore. Another pointed to a 32% increased in single-family home starts for 2014. 

But what are the challenges that might slow the industry’s growth trajectory?

February 5, 2014

Las Vegas -- Weyerhaeuser CEO Doyle Simons says he's encouraged by the recovery in the home-building  and LBM industries. But it's too early celebrate. 

In an interview with HCN in the Weyerhaeuser booth at the International Builders' Show here, Simons also talked about the importance of product innovation and market education.

January 15, 2014

St. Paul, Minn.-based Seven Corners Hardware, which has served hobbyists, homeowners, contractors and other DIY-oriented customers in the Twin Cities and beyond since 1933, will be closing its doors as a result of a real estate deal, said third-generation owner Bill Walsh, whose father and grandfather previously ran the store.

The company retained Tiger Capital Group to direct the sale of its merchandise inventories and other assets. 

January 14, 2014

New York -- You might not be able to predict the weather, but that doesn’t mean you can’t anticipate weather-driven adjustments to sales predictions.

That’s one of the ideas from a panel discussion held in New York and focused on weather’s role on business and consumer behavior. The panel, hosted by weather-focused analytics firm Planalytics was called “Weatherizing your business.” 

December 30, 2013

On Dec. 5, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act by a largely bipartisan vote of 325 to 91. The legislation, which is sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlattee (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, exacts a substantial blow against patent trolls who, in recent years, have gone after the retail industry with outlandish patent infringement claims.

December 6, 2013

Residential Building Products and Technology, the digital sister publication of HCN, was honored during a prestigious awards ceremony in New York City yesterday.

October 11, 2013

Lumber Liquidators spokesman Clint Roberts responded to HCN's requests for comment regarding the ongoing federal investigation into its sourcing practices. Multiple reports have suggested that the investigation is linked to the Environmental Investigation Agency, which claims the retailer is purchasing wood illegally in protected forests in Far East Russia.

October 4, 2013

Lebhar-Friedman's Residential Products Group announced the hiring of  Steph Koyfman as associate editor for HCN and HCN Daily.

Koyfman, who previously woked as copywriter and community manager for Lookboard, a B2B e-commerce startup, will cover home improvement with an emphasis on hardware store retailing. She also served as an international intern for Rolling Stone Magazine in Madrid, Spain.

"HCN has given me the opportunity to pursue "real" journalism, and I'm happy to be on the right career track with a great team of people," Koyfman said.

August 16, 2013

A new Orchard Supply Hardware store in Torrance, Calif., will remain open, while a Torrance store on Pacific Coast Highway will close.

Previously, HCN reported that the Orchard Supply store located on Hawthorne Boulevard, which opened last year, will be liquidating its inventory as part of OSH's bankruptcy filing.

August 9, 2013

The latest financial release from Chicago-based True Value Co. showed the co-op’s approximate store count down by 100 stores compared to previous recent press releases.

In the boilerplate description of the company at the bottom of the release announcing second-quarter results, the co-op described its footprint as “approximately 4,500 independent retailer locations worldwide.” 

June 27, 2013

Ace dealer A Few Cool Hardware Stores is gearing up for the second season of its Made in D.C. program with high expectations for incremental success. According to store owner Gina Schaefer, the "shop local" ethic was well-received before, and she expects and encourages copycats to keep the momentum rolling.

June 25, 2013

Lumber Liquidators Holdings has issued a formal response to HCN's inquiries regarding recent accusations that its products contain illegal levels of formaldehyde:

March 25, 2013

The Houston-based hardware co-op, which filed its reorganization plan March 6, sees improvement in a key operational metric.

Houston-based Handy Hardware Wholesale reports that fill rates have improved since the company filed its disclosure statement and plan of reorganization on March 6. 

The 1,300-member regional co-op filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. Morrie Aaron, president of MCA Financial Group, Handy’s financial advisory firm that specializes in restructuring, says he expects the co-op’s reorganization plan to be approved and confirmed by the court in late June.