DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

August housing starts slip, again

BY Ken Clark

The latest tally from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed housing starts in August at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000.

The disappointing August rate — analysts were expecting a pace of about 590,000 — was 5% below July’s downwardly revised figure, and 5.8% below the August 2010 rate of 606,000.

On an unadjusted basis, there were 53,000 housing starts in August, and 38,300 single-family starts. Both are down from last month and last year. In fact, the single-family figure is the lowest for August since the government began keeping track in 1959.

On the bright side, building permits in August were up 3.2% to a SAAR of 620,000. Compared with a year ago, building permits were up 7.8%.

Looking at the country’s four regions, the most negative region was the Midwest — down 29.1% in total starts compared with a month ago, and down 14.6% in single-family starts compared with a month ago.

The least disappointing from a building perspective was the West region. It suffered only a 2.2% decline in single-family starts compared with July, and was flat compared with August 2010.

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Ace Hardware building Virginia warehouse?

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Workers have been clearing land for what might be a large Ace Hardware distribution center in Suffolk, Va., according to an article in the Virginia Pilot.  

The Suffolk site is part of a planned 5.8 million-sq.-ft. complex under development on 900 acres by CenterPoint Properties Trust, which is based in Oak Brook, Ill., where Ace is also headquartered.

Last June, the co-op was making local inquiries in the Suffolk area about its need for a 300,000-sq.-ft.-plus warehouse, according to a building specifications request obtained by The Pilot.

Ace’s request for bids said the warehouse would need to be 400 ft. by 750 ft. with 80 dock doors. The retailer wanted to be able to expand to 500,000 sq. ft., the article said.

An Ace Hardware spokeswoman declined to comment on the distribution center when contacted by the newspaper, as did a commercial real estate broker for CB Richard Ellis, which is marketing the site for CenterPoint.

Kevin Hughes, Suffolk’s economic development director, was quoted as saying: "I’m not ready or able to discuss that at this point."

Workers at the building site told passers-by that the project was for Ace, the article reported. 

When contacted by Home Channel News, an Ace Hardware spokesman declined to comment. 

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Florida’s East Coast Lumber teams with Ace Hardware

BY HBSDEALER Staff

East Coast Lumber Co. has taken on the Ace banner and embraced hardware sales as a strategy to ride out the recession, according to an article in TCPalm.com.

Before the recession, East Coast Lumber’s sales were dominated by conctractors — about 90%, according to the article. That changed to about 50%, with the rest being consumers and DIYers. With the new Ace partnership, the company believes it is giving consumers what they’re asking for.

The Fort Pierce store is the second East Coast Lumber Co. location to take on an Ace banner for its hardware offerings. Another Ace banner is up at the company’s Cocoa Beach location and has been since June. East Coast operates five lumberyard locations.

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