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In this Issue

Outdoor Lifestyle Suspends Manufacturing Operations

Housing Starts Rebound in March

Casual Classics Adds New Owner/Members to Group

When Did Men's Income Peak?

Copreci and Brinkmann Settle Patent Litigation



Outdoor Lifestyle Suspends
Manufacturing Operations

STANLEY, NORTH CAROLINA

It is with sincere regret I announce that we have decided to suspend manufacturing operations at Outdoor Lifestyle, Inc. This decision was made as one of the corporation’s casting suppliers has failed to deliver our furniture components in a timely manner. The uncertainty of when these parts will be delivered has therefore left us with no choice but to make this unexpected decision.

The exact details of when we will suspend manufacturing at our Stanley, North Carolina, plant have yet to be finalized. Currently we are continuing with the manufacture and shipping of existing orders, where we have the components to complete such orders. 

We have already notified most of our customers and vendors of the proposed suspension in manufacturing and appreciate the support from our employees, dealers, customers and vendors during these challenging times.

As soon as we have any additional information about the future of the company, I will make a further announcement.

— Fred Ilse
President
Outdoor Lifestyle


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Housing Starts Rebound in March

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Housing starts posted a second monthly gain in March, increasing 2.8 percent to a 946,000-unit pace. While the housing recovery hit a snag in December and January due to weather, it is still on track. Although today’s gain is welcome, the reading was below consensus estimates due to a decline in multifamily units.

Single-Family Starts Rebound
Single-family starts increased 6.0 percent in March to a 635,000-unit pace, the second-straight monthly gain. The consecutive gains in single-family starts and an increase in purchase applications should alleviate fears that the housing recovery has lost its luster. We expect single-family starts to increase 19 percent in 2014 and 18 percent in 2015. Multifamily starts fell 3.1 percent on the month to a 311,000-unit pace.


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Casual Classics Adds
New Owner/Members to Group

RANCHO CORDOVA, CALIFORNIA

Casual Classics Furniture Group has added new members to its retail owner-owned buying coop. The new members are Comeaux Furniture and Appliance in Metairie, Louisiana; Rainforest Outdoor Living in Courtenay, British Columbia; Sunset Bay Leisure in Regina, Saskatchewan; Jacobs Upholstery and Patio in Spokane, Washington; and Summerset Grills in Costa Mesa, California. Casual Classics now has 56 owners operating 210 locations in Canada, the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Founded in 2001 the company now conducts direct business with 26 factories and specializes in outdoor furniture of all types and styles made of aluminum – extruded and cast, resin wicker, teak, synthetic wood, wrought iron, umbrellas, patio heaters, outdoor protective finishes and cleaners, Kamado Joe smokers and stainless-steel gas grills. All products are marketed under the Casual Classics trademarked brand.

Casual Classics owners are retailers who operate the following types of stores: garden centers, outdoor living specialists, home improvement, fireside and barbecue, spa and kitchen, and full-line furniture stores. Each company markets in an agreed-upon protected geographic area.

The growth of Casual Classics is a result of uniquely designed and produced products marketed exclusively by Casual Classics owners.

Call (916) 353-5109 or Fax: (916) 294-0238.

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When Did Men's Income Peak?

ITHACA, NEW YORK

Here's an interesting exercise. Take the median income of American men since 1950, adjust it for inflation, and rank it from highest to lowest to determine the year in which men's income peaked and how much it has declined since then.

Among all men aged 15 or older, median income peaked in 2000, at $37,791. Between the peak year and 2012, men's median income fell 10 percent – to $33,904, after adjusting for inflation. A 10 percent decline sounds pretty bad, but if you do this exercise for men of working age (25 to 64), the trends are even worse...

Year in which men's median income peaked
Aged 25 to 34: 1973

Aged 35 to 44: 1973

Aged 45 to 54: 1999

Aged 55 to 64: 2003

Percent change in men's median income, peak year to 2012
Aged 25 to 34: -27%

Aged 35 to 44: -19%

Aged 45 to 54: -17%

Aged 55 to 64: -13%

The median income of men aged 25 to 34 has plunged since 1973, falling from $46,598 to $34,113 after adjusting for inflation – a loss of $12,485. Men aged 35 to 44 have lost $10,345 since their peak. Men aged 45 to 54 have lost $9,762, and men aged 55 to 64 have lost $6,407.

Source: Census Bureau, Historical Income Statistics
New Strategist Press/Cheryl Russell


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Copreci and Brinkmann Settle
Patent Litigation

MARIETTA, GEORGIA

On Dec. 5, 2012, Copreci, S. Coop., Coprecitec, S.L., and Mondragon Components U.S.A. Co. (collectively “Copreci”) filed a patent infringement claim against The Brinkmann Corporation in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, accusing Brinkmann of infringing a Copreci patent relating to gas grills designed to use both propane and natural gas. 

Copreci also filed additional patent infringement claims against Brinkmann involving related Copreci patents. The Copreci patents involved in the patent infringement dispute included U.S. Patent Nos. 7,950,384, 8,282,390 and 8,449,289. Several months after the United States District Court issued its claim construction ruling, which adopted Copreci’s proposed claim constructions, the parties settled their dispute on undisclosed financial terms, with Brinkmann receiving a release and taking a license to certain Copreci Intellectual Property on a going-forward basis. 

Copreci is pleased with the resolution of this matter and looks forward to continuing to bring new and innovative products to the United States and worldwide markets.


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