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14A BUSINESS

14A The Brunswick News / Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Business

Consumer confidence
PORTFOLIO reaches 3-year high
By ELLEN GIBSON Americans’ spirits in spite of ris-
Feb. 22, 2011 The Associated Press ing food and energy prices and a
still-weak housing sector.
-178.46
&QY,QPGU NEW YORK — Americans are In addition, a cut to the So-
KPFWUVTKCNU 12,212.79 feeling more chipper about the cial Security tax meant Ameri-
economy than they have in three cans started seeing more money
-77.53 years.
0CUFCS in their paychecks in January,
EQORQUKVG 2,756.42 The Consumer Confidence In- which may be boosting consumer
dex rose to 70.4 this month, up spending.
5VCPFCTF -27.57 from 64.8 in January, as Ameri- Retailers including Macy’s Inc.,
2QQT¶U 1,315.44 cans expressed more optimism Home Depot Inc. and VF Corp.,
about their income prospects maker of Lee jeans and Vans
4WUUGNN -21.86 and the direction the economy is shoes, reported better-than-ex-
 812.96 headed, a private research group pected earnings Tuesday. Home
reported Tuesday. Depot posted its first annual rev-
It’s the strongest reading since enue increase since before the
Unrest rattles markets, the early days of the most severe housing crash in 2006, while Ma-
oil prices jump recession the U.S. has seen since cy’s, the country’s second-largest
the 1930s. department store chain, saw sales
NEW YORK — Stocks fell Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News
A robust stock market and fall- at stores open at least a year climb
sharply and oil prices spiked to America’s Swimming Pool Co. manager Marcus Kuja, left, looks on as pool technician Jonathan Har- ing unemployment are lifting 4.3 percent.
their highest level in two years
rington checks levels at the Waterfront at Golden Isles Marina condominiums pool while pool techni-
Tuesday as unrest in Libya
cian Sherry Brinson cleans the pool.
worsened.
Oil prices jumped 6 percent to
$95 a barrel. The fight between
protesters and forces loyal to
the Libyan leader Moammar
Gadhafi threatens oil production
Service businesses hold
from the world’s 15th largest
oil exporter, accounting for 2
percent of global daily output.
Libya also sits atop the largest oil
hope for spending return
reserves in Africa.
The Dow Jones industrial Strategies shift without customers’ discretionary income
average sank 178.46 points, or
1.4 percent, to close at 12,212.79. By SHANESSA FAKOUR ers are going to (weekly) service, said. “We also provide a quick
Bond prices rose as investors The Brunswick News starting March 1,” Loper said followup when they call.”
sought safety. To stay afloat during the reces- During the cooler fall and win-
Weathering a recession and a sion, the company has increased ter months, the company makes
recovering economy has been its commercial customer base and 80 stops a week to maintain
Consumer comeback challenging for many businesses, focused on providing competitive pools, but as summer approaches,
skips Wal-Mart’s aisles but particularly for those whose lawn maintenance services and business is expected to grow 20
services fall under the category prices, Loper said. to 30 percent, he said.
NEW YORK — Wal-Mart of “discretionary spending.” His strategies to improve busi- The company has also reached
is missing out on the consumer When times are tight, a con- ness in 2011 include more adver- out to residential clients, some of
comeback. sumer who has the discretion to tising and increasing the number whom own second homes with
The world’s largest retailer spend or not spend for a product of personal contacts with current pools on St. Simons Island, said
failed to reverse an almost or service that can be deferred, is and potential customers, to build Bill Poe, franchise co-owner. Poe
two-year slide in a key revenue highly likely not to spend. relationships with them. and Rex Putnal also own a fran-
measure in its fourth quarter, For the past couple of years, America’s Swimming Pool Co., chise store in Savannah. MOLLIE WOOD
it said Tuesday, after all but Another Landscape Co. has a franchise that provides pool “The service is a luxury, but we MORTGAGE LOAN OFFICER
promising in November it would worked with customers who can maintenance and equipment re- have found that in Glynn County, 912-261-4960
do just that. no longer budget to do more than pair in Glynn County, has relied a lot of people don’t understand Mollie.Wood@BBandT.com
Outside its aisles, holiday the bare minimum when it comes on advertising, flat-rate pricing swimming pool chemistry and Apply in person or online at www.bbt.com/mollie.wood
shoppers spent more, and con- to maintaining their lawns, said and referrals to generate new how it works, and would rather
sumer confidence is now at its Terry Loper, owner. business during the economic have someone there who they can
highest point in three years. Wal- “Sales have dropped drastically, downturn. call and will follow up with them
Mart had fewer customers. by 30 percent from 2009 to 2010,” The company, which opened in 24 hours,” Poe said.
Wal-Mart’s mistakes in mer- Loper said. “Major corporations in 2008, increased its sales by 51
chandising and pricing, along have done away with fertilization percent from 2009 to 2010, said
with financial stress on its lower-

Grand
and pest control.” Marcus Kuja, general manager.
income customers, forced it to He said most of his customers “We grew a lot in a short period
rely on international growth and are no longer paying for land- of time,” Kuja said.
cost-cutting to post a 27 percent scape design and installation, and The company gained new com-

Opening
increase in net income in its those who request lawn mainte- mercial clients by repeatedly con-
fourth quarter. nance services during the winter tacting resorts and apartment and
Wal-Mart’s 1.8 percent decline are cutting back from twice a condominium property manag-
in revenue at U.S. discount stores month to once a month. ers, and paying attention to cus-
open at least a year, its seventh However, business looks like tomer service.

in Jesup, Ga.
straight quarterly drop, was it will be turning around this “We help them set their pool
worse than feared. spring. budget for the whole year by of-
– The Associated Press “Ninety percent of our custom- fering flat-rate pricing,” Kuja

.OWACCEPTINGAPPOINTMENTS
Home prices hit post-bust lows 912-262-1801 | (877) 262-1801
By DEREK KRAVITZ hiring and income, and how they the Motor City in 2000 now sells
The Associated Press see that changing over the next six for roughly $163,150, according to
months. the housing report. Homes in Las
WASHINGTON — Home By contrast, the outlook for Vegas and Cleveland now sell, on
prices in a majority of major U.S. housing in 2011 is not promising. average, for less than they of what
cities tracked by a private trade Construction of new homes has they did a decade ago. Many peo-
group have fallen to their lowest fallen to a rate of about 600,000 ple are holding off buying or sell-
levels since the housing bubble homes built per year. In a healthy ing homes because they fear the
burst, and analysts expect further economy, builders expect to con- market hasn’t hit bottom yet.
declines this year. The Standard struct about 1 million homes each A large number of homes that
& Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city year. Homeowner vacancy rates aren’t selling are contributing to
home price index fell 1 percent in are near record highs and the cre- a second wave of price declines
December from November. Prices ation of new households in the since the boom years. Many
fell in all but one of the metropoli- United States is at its lowest point of them have been vacant for

Health
tan markets tracked. in four decades. months.

Where
The only city to see a gain was “Despite improvements in the In December, prices fell for the
Washington, where hiring by the overall economy, housing contin- sixth straight month and for the
federal government has helped ues to drift lower and weaker,” eighth time in the past 11 months.

and Beautiful Skin Begin


boost the region’s job market. said David M. Blitzer, chairman Foreclosures are also expected to
Eleven of the markets hit their of the index committee at Stan- increase as the year goes forward.
lowest point since the housing dard & Poor’s. “There’s just way too many
bust, in 2006 and 2007: Atlanta, The damage from the real estate homes out there relative to de-
Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Detroit, bubble has spread well beyond mand and we’re not going to see
Las Vegas, Miami, New York, the Sun Belt, where new homes that change anytime soon,” said
Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Seattle cropped up at a frantic pace dur- Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. econo-
and Tampa, Fla. ing the mid-2000s. In many plac- mist for MFR Inc.
The housing sector is struggling es, prices are expected to keep The housing recovery is uneven
even while the rest of the econo- falling for at least the next six across the United States. Coast-
my is showing signs of a slow but months and several analysts said al cities in California and the
steady recovery. The latest evi- they expect prices to fall at least Northeast are faring much better
dence of this divide came Tues- another 5 percent. than the Midwest and Southeast.
day when the Conference Board Some of the worst declines are That’s mainly because they ben-
said its Consumer Confidence in cities hit hardest by foreclosures efit from expensive and somewhat
Index rose in February to its high- and high unemployment, includ- recession-proof housing markets
est point in three years. The index ing Detroit, Phoenix and Tampa. buoyed by low unemployment and
surveys how people feel about A home that sold for $250,000 in limited new construction. Lawrence G. Blasik Jr., Gail Rose, Rachel Duncan,
M.D., F.A.A.D. PA-C PA-C
3 LOCATIONS
Summit Professional Plaza
1111 Glynco Parkway, Building 1, Suite 20,
Brunswick, Georgia, 31525
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