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Industry honored with data synch awards

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Data Synchronization Summit 2007, an event that involved members of the hardlines, grocery, and information technology industries, has recognized several companies for their efforts to standardize the exchange of product data between trading partners.

Lowe’s and Wal-Mart both received “Excellence in Data Synchronization” platinum awards in the category of retailers synchronizing with more than 1,000 suppliers. Georgia-Pacific received a gold award for suppliers synchronizing with 20 to 29 retailers.

The two-day summit, held last month in Chicago, included a new category this year for hardlines. Winners included: 3M, Armstrong World Industries, Blue Mountain Wall Coverings and Conair Corp. (more than 1,000 skus); Hines Horticulture, Spring Global, U.S. Gypsum (500 to 1,000 skus); Arrow Electronics, Clorox Co., Delta Faucet, Electrolux, Georgia-Pacific, and Samsung Electronics (less than 500 skus).

The Data Synchronization Summit 2007 was co-sponsored by the American Hardware Manufacturers Association; 1Synch, a data synchronization solution provider; and other several other alcohol, beverage and food industry organizations.

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Weyerhaeuser finds buyer for Oregon plywood mill

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pacific States Industries of San Jose, Calif., signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire Weyerhaeuser‘s plywood mill in Springfield, Ore.

The Springfield facility has been closed since December 2006. At that time, it employed 87 people and had the capacity to produce 114,000 million square feet of plywood annually.

Operating through its Redwood Empire division, Pacific States Industries operates two sawmills in Northern California. The company also owns Bald Knob Veneer in Creswell, Ore.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Weyerhaeuser and anticipate that the transaction will close in 30 to 45 days,” said Austin Vanderhoof, executive vp of Pacific States Industries, in a prepared statement.  “The plywood operations at Springfield will complement our existing production of veneer in Creswell Oregon.”

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Home Depot lowers outlook

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot executives presented a “retail update” to a group of analysts in New York today, warning that per-share profit is expected to drop 15 percent to 18 percent. Total sales for 2007 are expected to fall 1 percent to 2 percent, with negative comps in the mid-single digits.<

The sale of HD Supply, which is expected to close on Aug. 16, will depress earnings, company officials said. Volatile lumber prices and continued weakness in the housing market has also dampened revenues, especially in windows, roofing, flooring, appliances and water heaters.

Home Depot also announced the launch of a tender offer today to buy back 250 million shares for between $39 and $44 per share. The self-tender offer is set to expire Aug. 16.

“With the sale of HD Supply, we now have a laser focus on our retail business,” said Carol Tome, CFO and executive vp–corporate services.

Tome spoke of several retail initiatives including a revamping of Home Depot’s supply chain to centralize its distribution. The company plans to pilot the new model in Canada starting in the first quarter of 2008.

Home Depot is also changing its promotional strategy, according to chairman and CEO Frank Blake. “We’ve gotten into a pattern of [repetitive] promotions [and] we felt strongly that we needed to break that cycle,” Blake said. The retailer is now trying to offer consumers more targeted promotions with clearer value propositions, such as a current $99-per-room flooring installation offer.

Blake also addressed the difficulties faced by smaller vendors trying to get their products into Home Depot. To address this issue –- and keep up the flow of innovative products into its stores –- the company has instituted open-to-buy days. The first one, held last month in Atlanta, drew 290 vendors. Home Depot will hold a second open-to-buy day in August, Blake said.

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