FINANCE

Consumer confidence tumbles in December

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A report issued Thursday by the Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index fell sharply in December to 65.1 from 75.1 in November, impacted by fears of tax increases and impending government spending cuts.

The fall in confidence is the second straight decline and the lowest level since August.

The survey showed that consumers are slightly more optimistic about current business conditions and hiring. But their outlook for the next six months deteriorated to its lowest level since 2011.

Lynn Franco, the board’s director of economic indicators, said the decline in expectations for the next six months is a signal that consumers are worried about the "fiscal cliff.”

A separate survey released earlier by the University of Michigan showed consumer confidence fell in December to a five-month low.
The December drop in confidence "is obvious confirmation that a sudden and serious deterioration in hopes for the future took place in December — presumably reflecting concern about imminent ‘fiscal cliff’ tax increases," Pierre Ellis, economist with Decision Economics, wrote in a note to clients.

The Conference Board index has risen from an all-time low of 25.3 touched in February 2009. It remains well below the level of 90 that is consistent with a healthy economy. It last reached that point in December 2007.

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Whirlpool seals deal with Good Housekeeping

BY CSA STAFF

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Whirlpool brand’s Whirlpool Gold Gas and Electric Ranges with TimeSavor Convection cooking systems earned the Good Housekeeping Seal from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

Whirlpool’s TimeSavor Plus True Convection cooking system and AccuBake temperature management system work together to circulate hot air over, under and around food, which allow the range to cook and bake dishes evenly.

The GHRI was founded in 1900 as the consumer product evaluation lab for Good Housekeeping Magazine. Products that receive the Good Housekeeping Seal are covered by a two-year limited warranty as part of the magazine’s consumer policy.

"Whirlpool brand helps to simplify consumers’ lives and the Good Housekeeping Research Institute has affirmed this by granting the Seal to our line of Whirlpool Gold ranges," said Andrea Smith, product brand manager of Whirlpool brand cooking and kitchen suites. "The intuitive technology in the ranges will not only ensure that your food comes out perfectly every time, but also make time spent in the kitchen shorter."

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Lowe’s magazine offers creative resolutions

BY CSA STAFF

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine is extending its reach into cyber territory to offer consumers home-improvement project ideas for the New Year.

Since its launch in 1998, the nearly 15-year-old magazine has enjoyed what it touts as one of the largest circulations for a free publication nationwide. Evolving with the times, the magazine now has a top-rated free iPad app in the iTunes Newsstand, as well as a robust following on Pinterest and more than 1,000 how-to videos available online at YouTube.com/Lowes.

The most recent issue of the magazine features the editorial team’s five favorite projects from past issues to help inspire do-it-yourselfers in 2013, as well as what they consider the top five how-to videos of 2012.

The editorial team’s top five DIY project picks were:
1. Painted front mat
2. Backyard pergola
3. Terrariums
4. Lemonade stand
5. Vertical gardens

Their top five how-to videos were:
1. How to install a paver patio
2. How to prep for a ceramic or porcelain floor
3. How to build a deck
4. How to build an outdoor fire pit
5. How to install laminate floors

Lowe’s is using its magazine, as well as the Pinterest board and other social media, to reach a broader customer base and generate more customer traffic into its stores while not losing sight of its online consumers.

Following an announcement that it’s adding the LGelectronics brand to its existing portfolio, as well as third-quarter results reported a few weeks ago that were up 76%, Lowe’s is positioning itself to have a prosperous New Year.

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