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FYI

Business Outlook September 2008

BRIEFLY.....

Opportunities abound for retailers to heat up their sales while providing their customers warmth and cozy comfort in conversation groups and fire pits for the upcoming seasons.

As fall approaches, consumers are beginning to think about ways to extend the use of their outdoor retreats into the cooler seasons. Fire pits and conversation groups are helping with this mission. According to Casual Living’s exclusive 2007 Consumer Buying Trends Survey, nearly two-fifths of responding households with incomes of $75,000 or more purchased a fire pit last year. And, according to the exclusive Casual Living and HGTV survey, conducted in April 2008, more than half of households want a fire pit in their conversation group as they contemplate a new one.

National 2008
July 5.7%
June 5.5%


2007 2008
Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2p Mayr Junep
r = revised; p = preliminary
Total 5.6% 8.2% 3.9% 5.0% 4.9% 3.8% 6.7%
Revolving 6.8 8.6 8.2 6.8 4.9 7.6 6.8
Nonrevolving 4.9 7.9 1.3 3.9 4.9 1.5 6.6


Covers most short- and intermediate-term credit extended to individuals, excluding loans secured by real estate.

Nonrevolving credit includes automobile loans and all other loans not included in revolving credit, such as loans for mobile homes, education, boats, trailers or vacations. These loans may be secured or unsecured.

Source: Federal Reserve

Permits United States Northeast Midwest South West
June ’08 numbers are preliminary
Source: Bureau of the Census and National Assn. of Realtors
June ’08 1,091 237 144 474 236
Change from June ’07 -23.9% 52.9% -35.4% -34.0% -30.0%
Starts
June ’08 1,066 237 128 499 202
Change from June ’07 -26.9% 52.9% -45.3% -30.6% -42.3%
New home sales
June ’08 530 40 83 293 114
Change from June ’07 -33.2% -37.5% -27.2% -33.4% -34.9%
Existing home sales
June ’08 4,860 850 1,120 1,850 1,030
Change from June ’07 -15.5% -15.8% -17.6% -18.1% -6.4%


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