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J.D. Irving to close two sawmills

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Forest products company J.D. Irving, based in St. John, New Brunswick, with operations in Canada and the United States, will close two sawmills, according to the Canadian Press news service.

Eighty employees will be affected by the move, which will shutter operations in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island; and Nasvhille Plantation, Maine.

The company is currently trying to find jobs in other locations for those workers affected.

J.D. Irving has operations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador and the northeastern United States.

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RONA sees a 7 percent decline in net income

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Boucherville, Quebec-based retailer RONA, one of Canada’s largest retailers of building materials and home improvement items, saw net income drop 7 percent to C$80.1 million (US$75.2 million) from C$86.2 million in the year-ago period.

Consolidated sales increased slightly to C$1.473 billion from C$1.469 billion in the same period last year. Same-store sales fell 4.4 percent.

New acquisitions contributed heavily to sales, the company said, noting that consolidated net sales would have declined by 2.9 percent if not for the contributions of those companies: Noble Trade, Dick’s Lumber, Centre de Renovation Andre Lessard and Best-MAR. Rona also said it is boosting promotions and service to attract customers.

“Sales generated by new stores opened in the last 12 months could not compensate for the decline in same-store sales, which decreased by 5.8 percent in the first half of 2008, excluding the 0.5 percent decline in the price of forest products,” the company said.

The company said a large part of its strategy will be to continue recruiting independent dealers. The retailer announced 12 new franchisees yesterday and said it has added 21 independent dealers so far this year.

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Valspar sees dip in third-quarter earnings

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Paint and coatings giant Valspar, which sells an exclusive line of interior and exterior paints in Lowe’s stores, saw net earnings drop 23.8 percent from the year-ago quarter, to $47 million from $58.2 million in the same period last year. Sales rose 7.1 percent to $957.7 million from $893.5 million in the prior-year period.

“Results for the quarter were in line with our expectations,” said William Mansfield, Valspar chairman and CEO. “Strong results from our international businesses, new business and pricing helped to partially offset the impact of substantially higher raw material costs and the weak U.S. economy.”

Looking ahead, the company anticipates ongoing pressure on raw material costs and continued weakness in the U.S. economy.

“We remain focused on improving our competitive position,” said Mansfield. “We are moving forward with restructuring actions to further improve the efficiency of our business, implementing additional price increases and continuing to invest in our brands.”

Valspar is based in Minneapolis.

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