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IKEA hiring for new distribution center

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Swedish big-box home goods retailer IKEA is set to start hiring for its seventh distribution center in North America, planned near Tacoma, Wash.

The new 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Pierce County, Wash., will have 125 employees.

The northwestern area distribution center will allow the retailer to receive goods at the Port of Tacoma, to manage its inventory and to distribute product to stores throughout North America, with a focus on IKEA stores in the Pacific Northwest, the company said in a statement.

The first phase of the project consists of an 834,000-square-foot facility to be operational by spring 2008, with a potential future expansion of approximately 220,000 square feet.

The distribution center will provide the primary inventory to four IKEA stores in western Canada; one in Renton, Wash; and stores that opened this year in Draper, Utah, and Portland, Ore. The facility also will be able to supply other stores across the country as needed, the company said.

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BlueLinx reports third-quarter results

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BlueLinx Holdings reported $1.02 billion in sales for its third fiscal quarter, a 15.6 percent decline from sales of $1.20 billion a year ago. Net income for the quarter, which ended on Sept. 29, totaled $890,000, compared to $2.3 million in the third quarter of 2006.

“Our business environment deteriorated significantly in the third quarter as demand declined sharply,” said CEO Stephen Macadam.

Overall, third-quarter unit volume for the company’s estimated weighted end-use markets fell 12.4 percent from a year ago, driven by a 24 percent drop in housing starts and a 10.6 percent decline in the repair and remodel market.

Headquartered in Atlanta, BlueLinx distributes building materials through a network of more than 70 warehouses throughout the United States and Canada.

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Is Lowe’s eyeing India?

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A report in India’s Economic Times newspaper has said Lowe’s is getting much closer to entering India, in a deal similar to one recently forged by Wal-Mart and an India-based retail conglomerate.

The Economic Times quoted an unnamed source who said Lowe’s and India-based Reliance Retail are working on a joint venture to include a cash-and-carry business and a front-end retail venture in that country.

Commenting on the article, Lowe’s spokeswoman Maureen Rich said, “It’s Lowe’s policy not to speculate on market rumors or comment on any rumor of any business transaction.”

Similar to the rumored Lowe’s deal, reports surfaced this spring that Wal-Mart plans to launch wholesale stores in India by mid-2008, with further plans to expand into 75 Indian cities in the next five to seven years. Wal-Mart is expected to enter into a joint-venture agreement with Bharti Group, a conglomerate with interests in mobile phone services and retail stores.

Lowe’s has made moves recently to enter Mexico and Canada, but entering India before entering China would buck the trend started by U.K.-based B&Q and Home Depot. As earlier reported in HCN, India’s retail industry is worth roughly $300 billion and could reach well over $400 billion by 2010.

The Economic Times article characterized talks between Reliance Retail and Lowe’s as being at a “very advanced stage,” while adding that no proposal has gone to the boards of either company.

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