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D.R. Horton sued over lending practices

BY HBSDEALER Staff

National home builder D.R. Horton is being sued by one of its customers, who alleges the company participated in unfair mortgage lending practices, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the company.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, alleges the company violated “Section 8” of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The lawsuit was filed in June by John Yeatman against D.R. Horton and its lending division, DHI Mortgage Co.

The company is accused of effectively requiring customers to “use our affiliated mortgage company to finance their home purchases by offering certain discounts and incentives,” the company said.

“We believe the ultimate liability, if any, will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position or operations,” the company said in the filing. “We believe the claims alleged in this action are without merit and will defend them vigorously.”

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Restoration Hardware lowers outlook

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Restoration Hardware has lowered its fiscal 2007 earnings guidance, due to a challenging, competitive environment in the home furnishings market and weakness in the home-building sector.

The company says it now expects a loss-per-share of between $0.21 and $0.19, “reflecting below-plan revenues and a higher-than-anticipated mix of promotional selling.”

“The company has several new growth vehicles in place that we expect will drive revenue growth in the second half of the year, including the recent introduction of Restoration Hardware Trade [and] the continued rollout of the Restoration Hardware Bed & Bath Catalog,” said Gary Friedman, president and CEO.

The company also has announced a redesigned Web site that will launch in the fall.

Additionally, the company said it has signed a 15-year lease for a new distribution center in West Jefferson, Ohio. The company said construction would begin this fall on the 800,000-square-foot facility.

The facility will be used to stock the company’s East Coast retail stores and its non-furniture, direct-to-consumer business.

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Lowe’s plans distribution center in Mississippi

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s is planning to build an approximately $15 million distribution center in Mississippi, according to the Hattiesburg American newspaper.

Construction for the 130,000-square-foot facility is planned for October in Purvis Industrial Park, in Purvis, Miss. The facility is expected to employ 35 people, according to the newspaper.

In a May conference call with investors, Lowe’s COO Larry Stone discussed the company’s longstanding plans to expand distribution capabilities. Lowe’s most recently opened a new distribution center in Rockford, Ill., part of a company goal to grow inventory at 75 percent of sales growth. Another new distribution center has been planned for Lebanon, Ore.

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