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Do it Best emphasizes positive financial metrics

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op Do it Best Corp. added some of its own analysis to its financial report released earlier this month during its shareholders meeting in Indianapolis.

In a statement released today, the co-op pointed to gross sales of $2.38 billion, down 3.1% from a year ago. Sales were down 10.8% in the first half of the fiscal year, but were buoyed by a 5.8% increase in the second half.

Gross sales per employee at Do it Best Corp. remained at an industry high of $1.76 million, twice that of its nearest competitor, according to the co-op.

President and CEO Bob Taylor noted the company maintained strong expense control during the year and continued to benefit from technology innovations such as voice pick, which helped trim warehouse returns and allowances by 11.1%. Meanwhile, outbound freight expenses were reduced by 4.2%, he said.

Do it Best also pointed to continued growth of the industrial/commercial sector. The InCom division at Do it Best Corp. continued to outperform the market and delivered exceptional results, the co-op said. The division added 60 new members and grew sales by 8.4% this past year. The lumber division was also a bright spot, as sales jumped 7.2% for the year.

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Cutting costs, Masco posts sales decline in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Masco Corp. reported that net sales from continuing operations for the quarter ended Sept. 30 declined 6% to $2 billion. North American sales and International sales each decreased 6%.

The Taylor, Mich.-based company posted a third-quarter net loss of $5 million, compared with earnings of $28 million in the year-ago quarter.

During the company’s earnings presentation, CEO Tim Wadhams explained the third quarter was a tough one, particularly for sales related to residential construction and remodeling, specifically bigger-ticket items.

Masco anticipates 2010 housing starts to finish in the range of 575,00 to 625,000. Last year’s total of 554,000 was the lowest recorded since the government began keeping track in 1959.

The company expects repair and remodeling activity to be “a little bit stronger than new-home construction,” Wadhams added.

“Consumer confidence, unemployment and uncertainty, whether it’s the political climate, foreclosures, home prices, continue to impact our markets,” Wadhams said.

Masco is looking to take $500 million of fixed costs out of its businesses, during the period extending back to the beginning of the downturn.

‘We will continue to focus on what we can control to improve our execution and strengthen our brands. That includes driving the Masco Business System across our enterprise, continuing to emphasize innovation and continuing to aggressively manage our fixed costs.”

In a prepared statement, Wadhams said: “The slowing economic activity related to our markets, particularly consumer spending and new home construction in North America that we experienced late in the second quarter, continued into the third quarter of 2010. Four of our five product segments had sales declines compared with the third quarter of 2009. Our plumbing products segment was up modestly in sales, principally due to continued strong international results, as Hansgrohe continues to expand globally. Given the decline in sales, we were pleased with our performance from a profitability standpoint, as cost reductions partially offset the impact of volume declines and a less favorable relationship between selling prices and commodity costs compared with third quarter 2009.”

Also this week, Masco division Arrow Fastener introduced its new T50 R.E.D. professional manual staple gun and 1-in. brand nail gun.

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Rona acquires staircase maker

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Canadian retailer Rona has purchased Boiseries Signees, a Quebec-based manufacturer of made-to-measure and prefabricated staircases, according to a report by The Canadian Press.

The operation was acquired by Materiaux Coupal, a Rona subsidiary that specializes in sales of building materials and hardware to residential and commercial builders as well as remodelers.

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