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Newell Plans New Age Design Center

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Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NWL - Free Report) – the producer of Sharpie pens and Rubbermaid containers – is on the threshold of a new growth phase with the development of a state-of-the-art Design Center in Kalamazoo, Mich. The new center, ideally located in a region known for its talented pool of designers from around the world, will be spread over 40,000 square feet, employing up to 100 design professionals.

Slated to open in early 2014, the center will demonstrate superior potential in design and innovation by gathering the best international talent to work on an extraordinary portfolio of major brands. The blue print for this one-of-its-kind facility has been sketched to encourage creativity, providing a platform to best utilize new ideas and technologies to benefit the company’s brands.

This facility will assist designers at studios and immersion labs along with marketing and R&D teams to develop and evaluate new creations, all under one roof. The company’s brand studios will cooperate with designers using enhanced software, while immersion labs for priority businesses along with design and marketing groups can test new product samples to evaluate their future.

Additionally, Newell continues to invest in new talent specializing in designing skills to work alongside the existing industrial and graphic design teams. The company successfully demonstrated its commitment to design with the appointment of Chuck Jones to its team last September.

Newell Rubbermaid is one of the leading manufacturers of home and office products in the U.S. The company also possesses a strong portfolio of widely popular brands such as Sharpie, Paper Mate, Dymo, Expo, Waterman, Parker, Irwin, Lenox, Rubbermaid, Levolor, Graco, Calphalon and Goody.

Leveraging its strong brand equity, Newell Rubbermaid expects core sales growth of 2%–4% and adjusted earnings in the range of $1.78–$1.84 per share for fiscal 2013.

Further, we believe that Newell’s Project Renewal program will help it reduce operating costs and complexity of the organization, while it will increase investments in the most important growth areas within the business. The company is expected to be saving a cumulative $270–$325 million annually from the middle of 2015.

Newell currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks worth considering in the consumer goods industry are Avery Dennison Corporation (AVY - Free Report) , Jarden Corporation and Prestige Brands Holdings Inc. (PBH - Free Report) . Avery has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Jarden and Prestige Brands carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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