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Building forward: IBS trends

BY HBSDEALER Staff

ORLANDO, FLA. —Builders and vendors were looking to the future at the International Builders’ Show held here last week. They’re expecting the market to rebound—hopefully later this year, maybe in 2009. And as they toured the exhibits here on the show floor, they also saw glimpses of future trends.

The green theme was extremely pronounced, as the National Association of Home Builders launched its National Green Building Program. And so was a move by residential-focused companies to venture in varying degrees to light commercial construction.

On the following pages, Home Channel News editors track each of these stories.

Meanwhile, pro dealers in attendance were building relationships and promoting their services in traditional fashion. At the Carter Lumber booth, for example, execs spoke about a focus on the small to mid-size builder, but also an expansion on light-commercial accounts.

Joe Appelmann, president of Stock Building Supply, promoted a service-oriented message. “We think that there are still a lot of people who don’t know we can do this,” he said, pointing to an elaborate kitchen design set up in his booth. Stock and Ferguson, sister companies under the umbrella of Wolseley North America, are deep in an initiative to find synergies between the two brands.

The official opening ceremony key note brought out political consultants Mary Matalin and James Carville, a married couple on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Matalin earned applause when she told the crowd that she was proud of the NAHB for its decision announced Feb. 12 to freeze all contributions to federal congressional candidates through its BUILD-PAC political action committee.

A panel of economists participated in one of the more well-attended educational seminars, in which NAHB chief economist David Seiders described a relatively optimistic forecast. In his picture, the housing market will see an upturn either in late 2008 or early 2009. The economy as a whole will avoid recession, partly due to the federal economic stimulus plan.

Of course, many stats presented were bleak. One chart showed building permits in all 50 states—every single state showed some degree of decline compared to 2005. “The wildcard in 2008 is the number of houses in foreclosure,” said Seiders. “It’s very difficult to estimate.”

Attendance was described by the NAHB as down 11 percent from record highs of the 2006 show, and some attendees said they observed a noticeable decline in traffic. Still, IBS generated 1,900 booths at the show.

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Hardlines technology forum slated for April

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Hardlines Technology Forum (HTF), an annual gathering of the industry’s information technology and supply chain executives, has announced its lineup of retail panel participants for the April 21 to 24 event.

Appearing at the panel, which will be held on April 23, are Greg Linder, director of supply chain operations for True Value; Brett Hammers, vp-marketing for Orgill; Michelle Adams, director of merchandise operations planning for Lowe’s; and Kay Williams, vp-information technology for Do it Best.

The keynote presentation this year, “Mastering Your Supply Chain,” will feature Ernest Nichols, director of the FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management, and Dick Raman, president and CEO of TIE Commerce.

New to the conference this year is an educational track devoted to the business-side IT professional and presentations by Lowe’s, True Value and Do it Best on how to be a successful trading partner with their companies. Other sessions planned for the five-day conference deal with topics such as EDI, data synchronization, utilizing POS info and chargebacks.

The HTF, sponsored by the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA), will be held at the Peabody Memphis Hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

For more information, visit www.ahma.org/htf.

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Home Depot names new board member

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Albert Carey, former president and CEO of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division, has been named to the Home Depot board of directors.

The appointment brings the number of directors at Home Depot to 15.

Carey, 56, will serve as a member of the retailer’s audit and infrastructure committees.

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