84 Lumber consolidates in six markets
The industry’s third largest pro dealer closed nine stores and a truss plant on March 24 in an effort to consolidate locations or leave unprofitable markets. The shut units, whose operations will be moved to nearby locations, are: Frederick and Seabrook, Md.; Omaha, Neb.; Covington, Ga.; Loveland, Colo.; Tampa and Sarasota, Fla.
The company also closed locations in California. In Sacramento, a store and a truss plant were shut down on March 17. Customers of that location will be served out of Auburn, Calif., which was expanded last year, and 84 Lumber will contract with a third party truss fabricator.
84 Lumber decided to exit the Santa Rosa market, 50 miles north of San Francisco, altogether.
“Housing starts have been woefully low for the past six months,” said Jeff Nobers, vp-corporate communications and marketing. “It’s an older, smaller store, so it really didn’t fit our model.”
The company opened a new California location in Hesperia, in the Central Valley, on March 24.
Bed Bath & Beyond declines in fourth quarter
Specialty retailer Bed Bath & Beyond posted weaker fourth-quarter earnings, due in part to an extra week in last year’s fourth quarter. The company saw earnings of $172.9 million, down 16 percent from $205.8 million in the same period last year.
Net sales for the fourth quarter were $1.93 billion, down 3 percent from last year’s fourth quarter. Comparable-store sales for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2007 decreased by 0.4 percent.
For the fiscal year, which again was one week shorter than the previous fiscal year, the company saw earnings decline 5.3 percent to $562.8 million from $594.2 million a year ago.
Net sales for the year were $7.049 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent from last year. Year-over-year, comparable-store sales increased by 1 percent. The company opened 22 new stores in the fourth quarter, including its first location in Canada.
The retailer said it expects comparable-store sales to be relatively flat or negative in 2008. Bed Bath & Beyond also warned investors it expects a per-share percentage decline in 2008 earnings from the low double-digits to mid-teens.
Bed Bath & Beyond operates a total of 971 stores nationwide.
Canfor reduces production
Vancouver, B.C.-based Canfor is reducing its production volume to reflect market realities. The company pointed to “falling demand and poor pricing for softwood lumber with no indications of a market recovery in the near future.”
Canfor will be reducing workweeks at a number of its operations. In addition, Canfor’s Prince George Sawmill will move from three shifts to two and its Clear Lake finger joint operation from two shifts to one. This move will reduce Canfor’s annualized lumber production by approximately 600 million board feet.