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Housing starts rise 8.2 percent in April

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a more optimistic housing starts report than in months past, with overall housing starts and permit activity up in April.

Housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.032 million units, up 8.2 percent from a revised March estimate of 954,000. The number still is 30.6 percent below the revised April 2007 rate of 1.487 million units.

Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 692,000; this is 1.7 percent below the March figure of 704,000.

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 978,000, up 4.9 percent from the March rate and 34.3 percent below the April 2007 estimate of 1.489 million permits.

Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 646,000, up 4 percent from a March figure of 621,000.

The Census Bureau noted that new residential construction data for May will be released on June 17.

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Masco names new builder group president

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Building products manufacturer Masco has named Timothy Yaggi to the position of group president-North America Builder Group.

Yaggi will be responsible for the company’s Contractor Services, Service Partners, Builder Cabinet Group (including Merillat and Quality Cabinets), Masco Framing and Milgard Windows and Doors.

Yaggi comes to Masco from Whirlpool, where he has worked since 1994; he most recently served as executive vp-market operations, North America. There, he had responsibility for brand marketing, product management and development, and sales and supply chain management. Throughout his career at Whirlpool, he held a number of senior management positions involving global brand management, product development and strategy, the company said in a statement.

Headquartered in Taylor, Mich., Masco’s brands include Delta Faucet, Behr paint and numerous other building materials brands.

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Urban Outfitters launches lawn and garden retailer

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Urban Outfitters Inc., a lifestyle consumer products company best known for clothing retailers such as Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters, has launched a lawn and garden format called “Terrain,” opening its first store last month in the Philadelphia area.

The Philadelphia location, called Terrain at Styer’s, sells plants, indoor and outdoor furniture, pottery and antiques, and also offers a landscape design service. It replaces a local nursery called Styer’s located near Chadds Ford, one of Philadelpia’s wealthiest suburbs. Urban Outfitters acquired Styer’s in February; information about the store can be viewed at ?terrainathome.com.

“The reason we did it is it’s an $85 billion market, dominated by Home Depot and Lowe’s, who do about 35 percent of the volume,” Urban Outfitter’s CFO John Kyees said recently at a Lehman Brothers retail conference. “The rest of the market is entirely fragmented, with a bunch of mom and pops.”

Kyees said Terrain will be targeted at the wealthy baby boomer customer. “They are hitting an age when they’re spending more in their retirement years than they were when they were working,” he said. “We think that the potential is probably 50 stores doing $20 million a store.”

Urban Outfitters Inc. is a specialty retailer and wholesaler with 122 Urban Outfitters retail stores in the United States, Canada and Europe; 106 Anthropologie retail stores in the United States; and 14 Free People stores. The company’s wholesale division sells its product to approximately 1,500 specialty stores, department stores and catalogs.

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