STORE SPACES

Survey: HVAC contractors unprepared for 2015 efficiency standards

BY Staff Writer

St. Louis — A majority (74%) of U.S. contractors are unaware of upcoming 2015 regional standards for unitary air conditioning and heat pump systems, according to a survey by Emerson Climate Technologies Inc. Nearly 80% of contractors were unaware of 2015 part-load efficiency requirements for light commercial split, package and rooftop systems, and 84% are unaware of the 2015 chiller standards. Unlike the 2005 regulation changes, the 2015 changes will affect both residential and commercial efficiency standards.

On the commercial side, Emerson’s survey found only 8% of contractors have trained their service teams on the new rooftop or chiller standards. Very few, only 3%, had talked to an OEM about the changes. Four percent have started to develop a marketing plan to address these regulatory changes with their customers.

The survey of 472 contractors, conducted via email by Emerson Climate Technologies in late 2013, found the majority of contractors were either unaware of the standards or had little idea how the standards would affect their businesses. Only 12% had started training their technicians or thinking about an inventory plan.

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News

Big 5 weathers severe winter in fourth quarter

BY CSA STAFF

A slowdown in firearms and ammunition sales as well as severe winter weather affected Big 5 Sporting Goods’ fourth quarter same-store sales.

Net sales increased about 2% to $248 million from $243.6 million, while same-store sales declined 0.5%. During the quarter, net income rose 30% to $5.2 million from $4 million compared to the same period in the prior year.

During the fiscal year, net income almost doubled, rising 87% to $27.9 million from $14.9 million. Net sales improved 6% to $993.3 million from $940.5 million and same-store sales rose 3.9%.

"We are pleased to have delivered another quarter of earnings growth in a very challenging retail environment," said Miller. "As we previously reported, our fourth quarter sales comparisons were impacted by cycling against the surge of firearm and ammunition sales during the prior year, as well as the lack of favorable winter weather across our western markets. We were able to offset most of the sales softness caused by these factors with positive performance in a number of our other product categories, which we believe reflects the favorable customer response to our merchandising and marketing strategies.”

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FINANCE

Target Q4 profit plummets 46% as data breach takes toll

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Target Corp. saw dramatic year-over-year declines in its net earnings for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013, as the negative impact of its massive data breach and damages from its Canadian operations took effect. The chain warned that continuing costs related to the breach may affect its profits in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

Target’s profit in the fourth quarter fell 46% to $520 million, slightly beating projections, from $961 million in the year-ago period. The breach resulted in $17 million of net expenses in the fourth quarter, Target said, with $61 million of total expenses partially offset by the recognition of a $44 million insurance receivable.

For the full fiscal year, earnings dropped 34% to $1.97 billion from about $3 billion versus last year.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter still managed to slightly beat analyst projections. Target warned

Total revenues did not fall as significantly. For the quarter, Target reported total revenues of $21.51 billion, down about 5% from $22.52 billion. Same-store sales fell 2.5%.

For the fiscal year, total revenues declined 1% to $72.6 billion from $73.3 billion.

Target said that its fourth quarter performance notably dropped after the Dec. 19, 2013 announcement of its data breach, ending what had been a strong holiday season. In addition, efforts to clear excess inventory from Canadian stores also affected results.

Target said on Wednesday it may have to incur costs tied to reissuing cards, lawsuits, governmental investigations and enforcement proceedings, legal expenses, investigative and consulting fees, and capital investments, among other things.

“For more than 50 years, Target has succeeded by focusing on our guests,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target Corp. “During the first half of the fourth quarter, our guest-focused holiday merchandising and marketing plans drove better-than-expected sales. However, results softened meaningfully following our December announcement of a data breach. As we plan for the new fiscal year, we will continue to work tirelessly to win back the confidence of our guests and deliver irresistible merchandise and offers, and we are encouraged that sales trends have improved in recent weeks.”

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