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84 Lumber to close 12 stores in nine states

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A week after announcing layoffs at its headquarters, 84 Lumber has closed 12 units in nine states, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The industry’s third largest pro dealer will pull out of Redding, Calif. And Manchester, Tenn. due to slow housing starts, and shutter fives stores in metropolitan areas where the company has other locations: Loveland, Ohio; Palatine, Ill.; Granite City, Ill.; Ellicott City, Md.; and Amsterdam, N.Y.

Four other lumberyards – Greensboro, N.C.; Pineville, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; and Slidell, La. – were described as relocations in areas were bigger stores had been built nearby. A store in Merced, Calif. is being converted into a components plant.

Employees were notified Wednesday, according to the newspaper.

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BlueLinx announces consolidation

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BlueLinx Holdings, a nationwide distributor of building materials, has announced plans to eliminate underperforming skus from its assortment as part of a cost-cutting effort. The company plans to “aggressively sell through its inventory in these skus” commencing in the fourth quarter, according to a prepared statement.

No details were given on which skus have been targeted, or how many are involved.

BlueLinx will also consolidate its Atlanta headquarters and sales center into one building, thereby saving a projected $1 million to $1.5 million in operating expenses in 2008. Both buildings are leased facilities, and declines in headcount have produced excess capacity.

According to the statement, both moves were prompted by the “prolonged downturn in the housing market.”

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Toro sees big rise in fourth-quarter earnings

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Outdoor equipment-maker Toro reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $6.5 million, up 44.5 percent from 4.5 million in the same period last year.

The company reported net sales of $332.5 million, a 0.9 percent increase from sales of $329.5 million last year.

For the full year, earnings were $142.4 million, up 10.3 percent from 2006 earnings of $129.1 million. Net sales for the fiscal year were $1.87 billion, up 2.2 percent from last year’s sales of $1.83 billion.

“In challenging market conditions, our performance in fiscal 2007 highlights the strength and resiliency of our company,” said Michael Hoffman, chairman and CEO. “We believe these results indicate that Toro has outperformed in a soft market.”

The company attributed growth in its international professional segment sales, which helped offset softness in the residential segment in the United States. International net sales increased 9.6 percent over 2006.

Toro is a worldwide manufacturer of outdoor maintenance and beautification products for home, recreation and commercial landscapes.

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