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BMHC posts $32 million loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC), the industry’s fifth largest pro dealer, reported sales of $385 million for its second quarter, a decline of 41 percent from sales of $656 million in the same quarter last year. The San Francisco-based company lost $31.9 million during the quarter, which ended June 30, 2008. This compares with a net gain of $19.4 million for the second quarter of 2007.

BMHC took a one-time charge of $14.3 million for closing and consolidating units, while the company saw a one-time gain of $9.4 million from discontinued operations.

Sales for the first six months of the fiscal year decreased 38 percent to $738 million from $1.2 billion. The six-month net loss was $65.8 million compared to net income of $14.5 million for the same period of 2007.

Company chairman and CEO Robert Mellor reported progress on the company’s restructuring initiatives, which have narrowed losses between the first and second quarters of 2008 by 6 percent. While sales were much lower than the year-ago figure, they rose 12 percent from revenues generated in the last quarter.

In a prepared statement, Mellor said that the company has taken a number of measures to generate cash in addition to closing and selling underperforming and excess assets. “We anticipate that these initiatives will reduce annualized SG&A expenses by $20 million to $25 million and result in one-time cash proceeds of approximately $50 million to the company over the next three to four quarters,” he said.

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Dealer dodges credit card scam

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Credit card criminals appear to be targeting pro dealers and home centers to separate them from valuable power tools.

Tom Smart, paint manager at the Amenia, N.Y. location of pro dealer H.G. Page & Sons, alerted Home Channel News to a fraud attempt involving an operater-assisted-phone call, a credit card purchase and an overnight delivery of a $700 miter saw.

Before the order was shipped, FedEx’s security division contacted Smart and described the purchase as fraudulent, he said.

“Apparently, we’re not the first store where this happened,” Smart said. “This month it seems to be miter saws.”

The scam artists use the operator-assisted call for the hearing impaired as a way to prevent tracking of the call.

The fraudulent call came to the Amenia store in Dutchess County on Tuesday. “Naturally, it happens when we’re busy at the counter,” he said.

Smart alerted H.G. Page’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y. headquarters and the Dutchess County sheriff. If similar calls come in, the store employees have been advised to get a mailing address and a telephone number and tell the caller that the store will call back to complete the order. “If it’s not legitimate, you find out real fast,” Smart said.

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Gittlitz joins ‘First Look Housewares’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Organizers of the First Look Housewares Show have announced a partnership between Ian Gittlitz, former president and CEO of business-to-business publisher ICD, and Rob Cappiello, president of First Look Housewares and a longtime organizer of industry trade shows, notably the National Hardware Show.

The show, a preview event for the housewares industry, has been set for Jan. 8 to 10 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Cappiello said of Gittlitz: “His vast knowledge of the industry, his contacts and friendships will help make the First Look Housewares Show a first class event serving the housewares community.”

The show is meant to help “retailers and manufacturers to get together right after the close of the fourth quarter to review the previous year and find the winning products for the coming year,” Gittlitz noted. “Timing is key and only the First Look Housewares Show is addressing that point.”

According to Cappiello, the show will emphasize new products and is “designed to allow retailers to get through the show floor quickly.” Booth sizes will be limited to a maximum of 400 square feet per exhibitor. The show is slated to feature more than 300 exhibitors of a wide range of household items, including kitchen electrics, bath products, storage and organization items, cleaning supplies and more.

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