LUMBERYARDS

At Grainger, 2011 was a record year

BY HBSDEALER Staff

W.W. Grainger reported record sales and earnings for the year ended Dec. 31, the Chicago-based industrial supply company announced Wednesday morning.

The full year 2011 sales of $8.1 billion were up 12% compared to $7.2 billion in 2010. Net earnings of $658 million increased 29% over the prior year.

“This was an exceptional year for Grainger,” said Jim Ryan, chairman, president and CEO Jim Ryan. “Our team is producing consistently solid results with a strong focus on helping our customers improve the productivity of their businesses. We continue to see a long runway for growth and are investing aggressively in our proven growth drivers: product line expansion, sales force expansion, eCommerce, inventory services and international expansion.”

For the fourth quarter, the company’s sales were $2.1 billion, up 14% from $1.8 billion in the same quarter last year. Net earnings in the fourth quarter were $148 million, up 12%.

Sales for the United States segment increased 8% in the 2011 fourth quarter versus the prior year.  The 8% sales growth for the quarter was driven primarily by 8% volume growth and 3 percentage points from price, partially offset by a 2 percentage point drag from the 2010 oil spill sales and 1 percentage point from lower sales of seasonal products due to the unusually warm weather in the 2011 fourth quarter. 

 

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U.S., Canada extend softwood lumber pact

BY Brae Canlen

Trade officials from the United States and Canada have extended their Softwood Lumber Agreement for two more years. The 2006 agreement was signed with no changes on Jan. 24 by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Canadian Minister for International Trade Ed Fast. The extension will be in effect through Oct. 15, 2015.

In an official statement, Ambassador Kirk said: “The Softwood Lumber Agreement is very important for U.S. producers, particularly when both sides of the border are facing weak demand. Trade agreements are about providing a predictable and fair environment for conducting international trade.”

The statement added that the U.S. was “pleased to have agreed with Canada to extend the SLA well before its initial expiration date, to ensure predictability and stability in the sector. The U.S. intends to consult with Canada before the extended expiration date on whether a further extension is in the interest of both countries.”

Originally set to expire in 2013, the agreement addresses Canadian lumber tariffs that have been a source of contention between the two countries for years. American manufacturers claimed they were undercut on price by Canadian mills, which are subsidized by their provincial governments through cheap logging fees. Canadian producers deny the charges and accuse the Americans of being anti-free trade.

Under the pact, the U.S. agreed to stop imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties upon lumber from Canada. In return, Canada agreed to apply export charges and limitations to its softwood lumber shipments when the price falls below a certain level.

Relations have still been rocky, however. There have been several disputes over the interpretation and implementation of the agreement, most of them involving U.S. producers accusing Canada of miscalculating it quotas or undervaluing its timber.

 

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LBM Expo kicks off in Connecticut

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Northeastern Retail Lumber Association’s (NRLA’s) marquee event officially begins today at MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn.

Seminars focusing on Wood I-joists, Laminated Veneer Lumber and interior doors bolster an NRLA agenda that also includes an all-day product demonstration zone. The Expo’s show floor will draw to a close Friday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m.

Other highlights include a "Two Year Outlook for the North American Panel and Softwood Lumber Markets," and a Wednesday night Indusrty Recognition Dinner and Reception.

 

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