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Design Within Reach narrows losses

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Design Within Reach, the San Francisco-based specialty home decor retailer with around 70 locations nationwide, saw net losses of $159 million, narrower than the $575 million in losses recorded in the same period last year.

Net sales for the second quarter decreased 3.7 percent to $47.3 million, compared with $49.1 million recorded in the year-ago period.

Still, the retailer saw an improvement in gross margin, a measurement of earnings that takes production and service costs into consideration — gross margin improved to 46.4 percent in the second quarter, compared with 44.3 percent in the same period last year.

In-store sales were $32.6 million, up 2.2 percent from last year. Sales from phone and the dwr.com Web site decreased 17.5 percent to $10.4 million.

DWR also said it predicted that “in light of the challenging economic environment, the company believes revenue will be flat year over year.”

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Ace cuts back LBM staff

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware reduced the size of its LBM division and brought it under the direction of Sean Flynn, a longtime merchandise executive for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based cooperative.

Amy Pellerito, a 19-year Ace veteran and previously LBM manager, is no longer with the company. Ace hired Pellerito as a lumber trader in 1989. When Ace spun off its lumber division in 1999, she continued with Ace in store planning and design. When Ace resumed its LBM efforts with a focused division in 2003, the co-op put Pellerito in charge.

In 2006, Pellerito had four territory managers in her department. Two LBM specialists — Jeff McGuire and Beth Stewart — remain with the LBM division, according to McGuire, who pointed to market conditions as a primary reason for the structural change.

Ace spokesman Christopher Boniface said the change is “more than a reaction to economic issues. From our standpoint, it’s a better alignment of our buying offices.”

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LP issues warning on composite decking

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Louisiana-Pacific has issued a product advisory for its composite decking materials purchased after Jan. 1, 2005, and made at its Meridian, Idaho, facility. Some of the products can prematurely deteriorate and break, posing a risk to consumers, the announcement said, blaming “variations in manufacturing processes.”

The affected products were sold under the WeatherBest name nationwide and under the Veranda and ABTCo brands at Home Depot stores in the western part of the United States.

Only the Veranda decking and railing products made by LP are subject to the advisory. WeatherBest products manufactured after LP’s sale of the Meridian plant in October 2007 are not affected.

Consumers should check their decks for cracks or chipping of the surface layers, the company said. LP will arrange an inspection to determine if decks are affected and will remedy the problem, up to replacement of the entire deck if necessary.

For more information, visit  www.deckingnotice.com .

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