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BlueLinx reports third-quarter results

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BlueLinx Holdings reported $1.02 billion in sales for its third fiscal quarter, a 15.6 percent decline from sales of $1.20 billion a year ago. Net income for the quarter, which ended on Sept. 29, totaled $890,000, compared to $2.3 million in the third quarter of 2006.

“Our business environment deteriorated significantly in the third quarter as demand declined sharply,” said CEO Stephen Macadam.

Overall, third-quarter unit volume for the company’s estimated weighted end-use markets fell 12.4 percent from a year ago, driven by a 24 percent drop in housing starts and a 10.6 percent decline in the repair and remodel market.

Headquartered in Atlanta, BlueLinx distributes building materials through a network of more than 70 warehouses throughout the United States and Canada.

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LACN convention draws dealers, protestors

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Monterey, Calif. Green building topics dominated the agenda of the Lumber Association of California and Nevada (LACN) annual meeting this year, but that didn’t stop protestors from gathering outside the hotel on Nov. 2 to picket Sierra Pacific Industries, an LACN member who attended the event. A crowd of 30 individuals, organized by ForestEthics, chanted and held signs urging the Redding, Calif., lumber producer to stop its clear-cutting logging practices. In response, a spokesman for Sierra Pacific Industries said the company operates under sustainable forestry practices. “The state approves all of our timber harvesting,” the spokesman said.

Inside the hotel, Mark LaLiberte of Building Knowledge, kicked off the conference by urging dealers to stay ahead of the green building curve by familiarizing themselves with the green industry’s offerings. “People don’t want to buy anything from someone who knows less than they do,” he observed.

LaLiberte gave numerous examples of building materials, some inexpensive and easy to install, that reduce energy consumption and block moisture from coming into houses. He also talked about the unforeseen consequences of some well-intentioned products, like whole-house fans designed to cool down home interiors. Installed in today’s airtight homes, these powerful fans can suck air out of the garage, where gasoline, pesticides and other toxic chemicals often reside, he observed.

Educating builders and contractors is just the first step, LaLiberte said. “Dealers are going to have to help their builders market [green] homes,” he predicted.

The debate over various green building standards came up during Kelly McCloskey’s presentation on the use of lumber in non-residential building projects. A representative of the Wood Promotion Network, McCloskey outlined the differences between the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED and the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes rating systems. Lumber dealers around the country should urge their legislators not to codify one set of standards over the other, McCloskey said, adding, “Give the markets some options.”

The LACN is currently lobbying the Nevada state legislature to offer tax breaks to buildings that qualify under both rating systems, according to executive director Ken Dunham. The trade association was also instrumental in persuading California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto legislation last month that would have mandated LEED standards (or their equivalent) in state buildings. The LACN and other representatives of the wood products industry had opposed the bills, saying they went too far in their effort to promote sustainable building practices.

The three-day convention also included sessions on selling wood products to commercial builders, finding and hiring quality people and budgeting/forecasting. Although attendees commiserated over the state’s building slump — production of single-family homes fell 50 percent in September, according to the California Building Industry Association –several dealers said they were keeping busy with high-end remodels.

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Home Depot Canada holds holiday light exchange

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Further promoting energy-efficient lighting products, Home Depot’s Canadian stores held a “holiday light exchange” this weekend.

Consumers were able to bring in their traditional incandescent holiday lights for a $3-off coupon toward a string of energy-efficient LED lights. The promotion took place Nov. 3 and 4. The company said the LED lights use “80 to 90 percent less energy than traditional light sets.”

The LED lights have been promoted as part of Home Depot’s newly launched Eco Options program, which brands and promotes environmentally friendly products from several product categories.

The company also has been involved in several initiatives promoting the use of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs as opposed to incandescent indoor lighting.

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