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Industry sales flat in September

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home improvement sales figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department showed little movement across the home channel in September, where retailers sold an estimated $29.54 billion of construction, repair and remodeling, and gardening supplies. This compares to $29.51 billion in August, a 0.1 percent rise.

Year to year, retail sales in the home channel were up 0.8 percent, from $29.32 billion in September 2006.

The U.S. Commerce Department will release October home improvement sales figures on Nov. 14.

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CertainTeed sets sights on Las Vegas

BY HBSDEALER Staff

CertainTeed Gypsum has announced plans to open a new manufacturing plant for joint compounds, tapes, powdered textures and other finishing products in north Las Vegas. Construction on the 100,000-squre-foot facility will begin this month, with production expected to begin late next year.

Based in Valley Forge, Pa., CertainTeed Gypsum already operates a wallboard plant in Las Vegas. The company, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, also has a joint compound plant in Kent, Wash.

When the second joint compound plant opens, CertainTeed Gypsum will be able to unite both of its product lines — wallboard and finishing products — in one shipment, the company said.

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84 Lumber closes Minnesota stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Citing a dearth of building activity in the St. Paul and Minneapolis region, 84 Lumber closed its two locations in that metro area. Employees were informed yesterday, said Jeff Nobers, vp-corporate communications.

“Building activity is almost non-existent in some of these markets,” Nobers said.

The two locations are Hugo, 17 miles northeast of St. Paul, and Lakeville, 19 miles south of Minneapolis. Combined, the lumberyards employed 34 people.

With $3.7 billion in sales reported for 2006, 84 Lumber ranked third on HCN’s Pro Dealer Top 350 list.

Other national pro dealers are also scaling back their locations and personnel to cope with the continued downturn. Pro-Build Holdings has closed 20 locations in previous months, and Stock Building Supply has shuttered 22 stores and cut 20 percent of its work force, or approximately 3,500 people.

During an analyst conference call in July, Builders FirstSource revealed it had reduced its work force by 18 percent — as measured by “full-time equivalent employees” — during the second quarter of 2007

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