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Black & Decker posts earnings drop

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Towson, Md.-based Black & Decker has announced an 18 percent drop in net earnings in the second quarter, to $96.7 million from $118 million in the same period last year.

Sales fell 3.5 percent to $1.64 billion from $1.7 billion in the year-ago period.

Nolan Archibald, chairman and CEO of the tool giant said the results still met the company’s expectations for operating performance, despite a significant increase in commodity costs.

“Weak demand in the U.S. and slowing conditions in parts of Western Europe, however, resulted in lower sales and earnings than in 2007,” he added.

Sales in the company’s power tools and accessories segment decreased 10 percent for the quarter, while the manufacturer’s consumer products group saw sales decrease 25 percent. Sales in the hardware and home improvement segment decreased 5 percent.

Archibald said Latin American sales “continued to grow more than 20 percent,” while sales in Canada and Asia also posted gains.

The company’s U.S. faucet business had a low single-digit rate of sales decline. Sales at Black & Decker’s fastening and assembly systems segment were flat for the quarter.

“Two years into a severe downturn, Black & Decker still delivers solid profitability … Our management team is taking the right steps to reduce costs in difficult times and to position the company for growth when our markets turn around,” Archibald said.

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Midwest Hardware Association launches marketing campaign

BY HBSDEALER Staff

More than 100 members of the Midwest Hardware Association (MHA) are launching an industry campaign called My Local Hardware Store, whose goal is to communicate the benefits of independent, locally owned hardware stores to customers across Wisconsin, the organization announced.

“You could call this a ‘Got Milk’ campaign for hardware stores,” said MHA president Bob Schmidt, who owns Gasser Hardware in Lancaster, Wis. “Just as milk producers promote the generic benefits of their product, we’re encouraging people to shop their locally owned, independent hardware store first.”

Commercials will air on more than 70 radio stations carrying Green Bay Packers game broadcasts and the Wisconsin Radio Network over a five-month period beginning in late July. The program also includes the launch of a new Web site, mylocalhardwarestore.com, designed to help people find the independent hardware store nearest their home with the products and services they need.

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California governor signs state housing bill

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a new California law that authorizes local cities and counties to extend subdivision maps by one year. The bipartisan bill, proposed by the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), goes into effect immediately.

The downturn has put a hold on housing construction throughout the state, and dozens of subdivision maps were set to expire, according to the CBIA.

“Had these maps expired, dozens of home builders representing hundreds of housing projects would have been sent to the back of the line,” said CBIA chairman Ray Becker. Going through the government approval process again can take five to seven years, according to the CBIA.

Asecond housing recovery bill proposed by the CBIA was also passed by the California legislature last week. AB 2604 encourages local governments to defer the collection of most development impact fees until a new home sells instead of when the building permit is obtained. The bill is on its way to the governor’s desk.

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