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EPA fines home builders for storm water violations

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In a major crackdown against violations at construction sites, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department have announced agreements with four major home builders. Centex of Dallas; KB Home of Los Angeles; Pulte Homes of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; and M.D.C. Holdings of Denver agreed to pay a total of $4.3 million in fines and penalties. Combined, the four builders accounted for more than 124,000 home closings in 2006.

The companies named in the settlements allegedly failed to obtain permits before clearing land for subdivisions and to prevent dirt, silt and other runoff materials from leaving 2,202 construction sites in 34 states from 2001 to 2005.

Along with the federal government, seven states will share in the settlements based on the number of sites within each state. Those states include Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee and Utah.

The settlements are the latest in a series of enforcement actions to address storm water violations from construction sites around the country. A similar consent decree, reached in February with Home Depot, required the company to pay a fine of $1.3 million and establish a comprehensive storm water compliance plan to prevent future violations.

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Pier 1 makes bid for Cost Plus

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Cost Plus, the parent of home decor retailer World Market, has rejected an unsolicited takeover offer by Ft. Worth, Texas-based home decor chain Pier 1 Imports.

In a statement, Cost Plus executives called the Pier 1 proposal “highly conditional” and “not in the best interests of Cost Plus and its shareholders.”

Pier 1 offered about $88 million for the company, which sells casual home furnishings, decor, housewares and other home items similar to the assortment found in Pier 1 stores.

“We believe that the combination of Pier 1 Imports and Cost Plus is extremely compelling and would create significant value for the stakeholders of both companies,” said Alex Smith, president and CEO of Pier 1. “Given our similar customer bases and broadly similar business models, but distinct market positions, we believe Cost Plus is an excellent fit with Pier 1 Imports.”

Pier 1 saw several quarters of losses, but swung back to profitability in the first quarter. Cost Plus recorded losses of $32 million in the first quarter.

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Correction: Tractor Supply Comps

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A June 12 article in breaking news incorrectly described Tractor Supply’s comparable-store sales. The company posted a 3.4 percent increase in 2007 and a 6.5 percent decline in the first quarter of the current year.

Click here for the story.

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