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Press release from Business Wire

Lawn & Garden Industry Says Popularity of Low-Cost Models Driving Growth, According to GE Capital Survey

<p> 70+ percent expect sales to grow in 2013 </p>

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Lawn & Garden Industry Says Popularity of Low-Cost Models Driving Growth, According to GE Capital Survey08:00 EST Wednesday, December 05, 2012 CHICAGO (Business Wire) -- Participants in the lawn and garden industry are relatively optimistic about growing sales during the next selling season — and they generally believe that this is a good time for dealers to start stocking more inventory, according to survey results released today by GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF). Forty-three percent of industry participants said the popularity of lower-cost models will have the largest impact on sales this year. At the same time, 24 percent said reduced levels of inventory will affect sales while 20 percent said long production lead times will have an impact. “We have seen a shift in stocking levels and improving inventory turns over the last six months,” said Michael Horak, commercial leader of CDF's outdoor products group. “That tells us that product mix will become an important factor for retailers in the coming months. As consumer confidence starts to improve and product turns accelerate, customers will start looking for alternative product options.” Respondents generally agreed that this is an appropriate re-stocking period, with 40 percent saying this is a good time for dealers to stock more inventory and 41 percent saying they had mixed feelings. When asked how much they expect their overall company's sales to grow in 2013, here were their responses: 22 percent said sales would grow zero-5%, 38 percent said 5%-10%, 23 percent said 10%-15%, and 16 percent said 15% or more. “Although the spring consumer buying season seems far in the future, people in this industry are already trying to predict sales activity for early 2013,” Horak continued. “From our point of view, we expect inventories to increase slightly next year due positive customer sentiment and new product launches. Dealers' current credit lines are flexible enough to accommodate this increase in inventory levels.” For more than 20 years and through all business and economic cycles, CDF has supported the outdoor products industry with customer-centric financing programs that enable dealers to stock a broad selection of products. Inventory financing, also known as floorplan financing, is an important element of a successful manufacturer-dealer business model. Manufacturers benefit from enhanced product flow and increased sales opportunities, while dealers obtain improved terms and credit availability. The lawn and garden industry survey of 100 respondents was conducted October 24 -25, 2012. Respondents included retailers/dealers (31 percent), distributors (19 percent), manufacturers (18 percent) and others (32 percent). About GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance provided nearly $32 billion in financing for more than 30,000 manufacturers, dealers and distributors across North America in 2011. Programs include inventory and accounts receivable financing, asset-based lending, private label financing, collateral management and related financial products. Customers have access to exclusive online tools and analytics to manage their accounts and inventory. For more information, visit http://www.gecdf.com/ or follow company news via Twitter (@GEInventoryFin). GE Capital offers consumers and businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services. For more information, visit www.gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital). GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com. GE Capital, AmericasLisa Tibbitts, 203-956-4582lisa.tibbitts@ge.com