> Rant mode on:
As I mentioned previously, we moved a few months ago, selling one overpriced house and buying another. This means that I have spent an inordinate amount of my precious sparetime at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, HD Expo, Fortunoffs, etc.
Missus Big Picture has long ago made her preferences known for Lowes over the Depot. Its brighter, cleaner, better organized, more accessible to the average non-professional/non-contractor shopper.
And while Lowes service is not bad, Home Depot is awful — almost as bad as Sears, where tumbleweeds roll by in the Hicksville store, and staff — and customers — are non-existent.
I’ve been to the 3 different HD’s within 15 minutes of the house (the cannabilization issue is best left for another discussion) — all hours, days.
The Service isn’t bad — it is simply non-existent. No one in the aisles — electrical, plumbing, lighting, etc. There’s usually someone in paint, but thats only because someone has to mix the colors with the base paint. And a handful of souls watering the plants in outdoors/gardening.
Other than that, Nardelli’s legacy — other than the half a billion dollars he made off — will have been to eviscerate the vaunted customer service of Home Depot, leaving it an orange, hollow shell.
But $22.5 billion for share buybacks? Here’s a suggestion: Undo all of Nardelli’s slash & burn firings, or you’ll have nothing left — in terms of revenue and income — except for the buybacks.
Financial engineering is all well and good, but what about focusing on what made you the pre-eminent home improvement store in the first place?
Their sound is original — jangly roots-rock romp laced with bluegrass
and countrified leanings.
I agree with the reviewer who wrote that their bluesy debut album "fairly vibrates on DeLuca’s Dobro steel guitar and throaty wail."
DeLuca careens from influence to influence, paying homage to his predecessors and then going a step further.
The music is flavored with dollops of Jeff Buckley, Coldplay and
most of all, Bron Y-Aur Stomp Led Zeppelin.
I Trust You To Kill Me is one of those rare discs where there in not a single weak cut on the CD.
The band’s Myspace page has four songs to stream.
The band has been opening for the likes of Ben Folds and John Mayer. The next area show I could find is
Tue Jul 31st 2007, Bowery Ballroom, NY
Yesterday, we learned that the NAHB Housing Market Index, a gauge of home-builder confidence, declined to its lowest reading since the 1991 recession:
Source: NAHB, Wells Fargo
Given the high inventory still around, its no surprise that all three components of index dropped: Single-family Home Sales fell to 29 (from 31); Traffic of Prospective Buyers droped to 21 from 22; Expected Sales for the next Six Months declined to 39 from 41.
The last time the HMI was this low was in the throes of the 1990-91 recession.
Rather than spend much time on this well-covered report, I want to draw your attention to a little followed report on Home Valuation. I stumbled across this extremely informative analysis, filled with great
info-porn maps (below) from Global Insight and National City
It looks at the regions of the country which have had the greatest home price appreciation and, by their measures, are the most overvalued.
First the good news: less homes are overvalued today than in 2005, when the study found
45% of all homes 23% of homes were overvalued by 45%.
Today, 14% of homes for sale are still overvalued — but by only 25%:
The following shows where the overvalued/undervalued homes are located:
That decrease in overvaluation comes as no surprise: The huge overhang of inventory = price decreases (see below).
Thus, many of the over-valued regions are becoming a little less overvalued.
But, depsite the hopes of the bottom-callers, there is still a ways to go.
Full Study: House Prices in America – Q1 2007
A Global Insight / National City Corporation, June 2007
2006 Q1 PDF: http://www.globalinsight.com/gcpath/1Q2006report.pdf
additional graphs, and a summary of the report, after the jump