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Huttig to close two branches

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Huttig Building Products, a distributor of millwork, building materials and wood products, has announced its intention to close facilities in Greensburg, Pa., and Kansas City, Mo., in response to market conditions.

Greensburg customers will be served from distribution facilities in Columbus, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pa. The company will cover the Kansas City market from its facility in Springfield, Mo.

Huttig expects to save approximately $2.0 million before taxes as a result of the consolidation, which will also involve downsizing its corporate office in St. Louis.

Approximately 50 positions will be eliminated at the two closed branches, although some employees may transfer to other locations, according to the Huttig announcement. Another 30 positions have been cut at other branches and at Huttig headquarters during the fourth quarter of 2007, the company said.

Huttig currently operates through 36 locations serving the building, remodeling, industrial and manufactured homes market in 44 states.

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November housing starts show sharp decline

BY HBSDEALER Staff

November housing starts declined 3.7 percent from last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,187,000, compared to the revised October estimate of 1,232,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The figure represents a 24.2 percent drop from November 2006.

The hardest-hit region was the West, which showed a 28.3 percent decline year over year. That compared to declines of 27.4 percent in the South, 16.3 percent in the Northeast and 11.0 percent in the Midwest. The only positive regional numbers came in the South, where total starts increased 0.3 percent over last month, and single-unit starts increased 5.4 percent over last month.

Housing units authorized by building permits in November declined 24.6 percent year over year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,152,000. This is 1.5 percent below the revised October rate of 1,170,000.

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Home Depot meets YouTube in viral marketing push – UPDATED

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot concluded a unique Internet-based promotion this week, tapping user-generated content to promote DIY goods and services consumers can find at Home Depot stores.

The page drew 264 video entries for a chance to win a $25,000 Home Depot holiday gift card. Twenty second-prize winners will receive a $200 gift card.

The promotion also received significant consumer news coverage across the country. Additionally, as of Dec. 12, the consumer-produced YouTube videos had collectively been watched 80,000 times.

The winning video, titled “The Long’s Rap,” featured a Houston, Texas family rapping about the retailer, with lines such as “Home Depot – it’s orange not yellow.” Second place winners included titles such as “The Home Depoverture” and “Angelos and Jason’s Ho, Ho, Home Depot Contest.”

This is Home Depot’s first attempt at a YouTube-based viral marketing campaign.  To view the video entries visit www.homedepot.com/youtube.

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