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Do it Best names new vp-merchandising

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Do it Best, the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op, announced that Steve Markley has been named vp-merchandising.

Markley, who previously served as Do it Best’s division merchandise manager for home/hardware, electrical, export and commercial/industrial, has been with the company for nine years. In addition to managing these departments, he was responsible for the creation of the global sourcing division and oversaw the opening of buying offices in mainland China and Hong Kong last year.

Markley has replaced Jay Brown, who recently assumed the role of vp-retail development.

Markley brings more than 24 years of industry experience to his new position, beginning as a summer employee at Do it Best’s former warehouse distribution center in Fort Wayne. He returned to the company in the mid-1980s and then worked in the vendor community and as a manufacturer’s representative before joining Do it Best again in 1998.

“From product knowledge and marketing to forecasting and distribution, Steve has the experience required and the drive to further refine our strategy of providing members with a wide range of merchandising opportunities to help them be more successful,” said Bob Taylor, president and CEO for Do it Best. “His exposure to Do it Best Corp. goes back a long way, and it’s nice to have another person on our leadership team with that history. I look forward to what he will bring to the position.”

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All eyes on Wall Street

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The bears were out in force on Wall Street Thursday, as markets appeared to be spooked by a French bank’s effort to freeze three funds that invested in the United States subprime mortgage market. Particularly hard hit on the financial markets yesterday were home channel stocks.

Of 16 major home channel and home-related companies tracked by Home Channel News (see below), only Tractor Supply and Andersons showed gains on Thursday. The decliners were led by two-step distributor Huttig Building Products, down 16.09 percent on the day, and home improvement product manufacturer Masco, down 7.17 percent. (Read more here.)

Among retailers, Home Depot was down 5.32 percent. The company Thursday said, “in view of current financial market conditions” it may need to renegotiate the terms of its previously announced sale of its HD Supply division to three private equity groups. (Read more here.) Number-two home center retailer Lowe’s was down 3.65 percent, on the same day it announced it was losing Doug Robinson, who was in charge of its Canadian operations. (Read more here.)

As the stock markets were leaking, United States retailers reported moderate growth for the month of July, when same-store sales grew 2.6 percent, according to the tally from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The housing market figured heavily in the analysis from Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist.

“As we have noted earlier this year, a consumer ‘soft patch’ began in February 2007, and the latest data suggested it continued through July,” he said. “The housing market drag continues to dampen consumer demand and with it the overall economy.”

While Wal-Mart’s same-store sales for July increased 1.9 percent, its shares fell more than 4 percent, its biggest single-day drop in four years.

 Following Thursday’s 2.96 percent decline of the S&P 500 Index and a 2.83 percent decline in the Dow Jones industrial average, the markets stopped the bleeding on Friday. The Dow closed down a mere 0.23 percent, and the S&P 500 actually increased slightly.

Friday Gainers:

Home Depot: 35.92, up 0.36%

Sears Holdings: 133.10, up 2.46%

Lowe’s: 27.76, up 1.20%

BlueLinx: 8.10, up 0.12%

Weyerhaeuser: 66.42, up 0.23%

BMHC:14.23, up 9.04%

Builders FirstSource: 14.20, up 5.73%

Stanley Works: 56.55, up 0.69%

Black & Decker: 89.68, up 0.09%

Sherwin-Williams: 69.14, up 4.68%

Friday Decliners:

Huttig: 5.17, down 3.72%

Masco: 25.78, down 0.96 %

Wolseley: 20.60, down 2.60%

Wal-Mart: 46.07, down 0.82%

Andersons: 49.04, down 3.33%

Tractor Supply: 48.98, down 3.96%

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Canadian Tire sales up 5.1 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Canadian Tire, the Canadian home improvement and automotive retail chain, had second-quarter net earnings of $122.3 million, up 18.4 percent from $103.3 million last year.

Sales rose 5.1 percent, to $2.84 billion from $2.7 billion last year.

“All of our businesses contributed to our sales growth during the quarter,” said Tom Gauld, president and CEO. “Canadian Tire Retail’s sales, while impacted by unseasonable weather in the month of April, strengthened significantly in May and June.”

In the quarter, Canadian Tire introduced a new store format, called the “20/20” store format. The 15 stores, located in the north- and south-shore areas of Montreal, represent the “largest single conversion of stores in the company’s history,” Canadian Tire representatives said in a statement.

Changes to the stores include an expansion of the company’s core product assortment, a new store design, new floor layout and added product categories. The goal of the stores’ redesigns is to increase retail sales by 20 percent on average, the company said.

The company noted that it expects third-quarter earnings to be relatively flat compared with 2006, due to store openings and expenses from growth initiatives, followed by a strong fourth quarter.

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