In North America, the year began with cautious optimism, and consumers seemed to be gaining more confidence and to be willing to spend on purchases which they had put off. In the spring and summer, consumer confidence deteriorated as Americans grew more pessimistic about their finances yet again. Warmer weather helped DIY and garden retailers, some of which continued to work down inventories from the previous year’s poor garden selling season. Towards the end of the year a string of encouraging signs from the economy boosted consumer sentiment and retail spending increased, but worries about the fiscal cliff again dampened sentiment at the end of the year. Despite the growth in retail sales, retailers were still holding back on replenishing inventories.
Net sales in the Americas increased 8%, supported by good development in SOC and Garden businesses and strengthening of the US dollar.
Garden net sales showed good development across many key accounts. Sales of school, office, and craft (SOC) continued on a strong track, boosted by successful product launches and good back-to-school sales to key accounts. The Outdoor business area was affected by decreased demand in the institutional channels, and sales did not reach 2011 record levels. Commercial sales developed positively.
Net sales in the Americas
Of consolidated net sales