CHICAGO— The housewares industry is going “Platinum.” The staff of HomeWorld Business® is proud to introduce in this issue our first Platinum Report. You’ll find this initial Platinum Report in the Floor Care section of this issue. It represents the first in a very special new series of industrywide statistical reports that will form the industry’s first database this extensive and far-reaching. In the three decades I’ve reported on this industry, this is a breakthrough. On a classification-by-classification basis, HomeWorld’s Platinum Reports will glean from our archives a comprehensive decade-long statistical profile and analysis— with new projections by our editorial team. The first Platinum in this issue is on Floor Care, and was spearheaded by HomeWorld’s executive editor. It is a decade-deep, statistical analysis so needed by the housewares industry. This is a finite look, a benchmark, that manufacturers, retailers, financial investment groups and others can use to research and review with confidence where this classification has been— and where it is heading. Watch in the months ahead for more Platinum Reports in this series— exclusive and proprietary statistics from HomeWorld Business— which will define and document the shape of key classifications. You’ll be able to see a 10-year statistical timeline of where a category has been, and where it is headed. The reason why the Platinum Report series is a logical and compelling new feature can be traced to the very first issue of HomeWorld Business— in September 1989. In my column that issue, I addressed how HomeWorld Business would be a very different publication for the housewares industry. One of the key promises then— and a promise kept over the past 16 years— was a commitment to developing and reporting on industry statistics. We developed the annual Census and Forecast issues to bring to the industry important annual compilations of statistical performance. In our issues throughout the year, we stressed statistics, too. In doing so, we’ve developed an important database unequalled in our industry for classifications from floor care to electrics. You will start seeing them published in the months— and even years— ahead. I congratulate the HomeWorld Business editorial team for its tenaciousness and skill in developing these unprecedented reports— which, together, will form a book of its own in defining our industry’s performance and outlook. We are blessed at ICD with the seniority of so many of our editors. Those years of history in the industry now give our staff the capability of being able not only to compile these numbers, but also to sagely analyze them. Different editors will spearhead individual reports, but the Platinum Report series as a whole is team-driven. If the housewares industry has had any shortcoming, it has been in statistical research. Necessary for projections, investments, corporate valuations, international marketing, these new statistical reports will now fill that void. We at HomeWorld are committed over the next several years to developing a broad series of Platinum Reports. Our industry should be as sophisticated as any other in having a central database of performance with a decade-long history. It will only help spur more financial investment into our businesses— and perhaps attract more bullish attention from Wall Street. Platinum Reports: Watch for them throughout 2006.