J.S. Hovnanian dies at 80
Jirair S. Hovnanian, founder of New Jersey home builder J.S. Hovnanian & Sons, has died at 80 at his home in Mt. Laurel, N.J., according to the Associated Press.
Hovnanian started the business in 1964, following a split with a company he started with his three brothers. Kevork Hovnanian, one of Jirair’s brothers, eventually founded Hovnanian Enterprises, a national home builder with no formal business relationship with J.S. Hovnanian & Sons.
Just last week, Hovnanian had watched his company build a house for the ABC show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Astatement issued by his family said the late home builder “gave his life to nurturing his loved ones, expanding opportunities for future generations and pursuing the American dream. We take comfort in knowing that his legacy lives on in the people he touched so deeply with his generosity, his love and his passion for life.”
Hovnanian was an immigrant from Kirkuk, Iraq, in 1948, where his father, an Armenian refugee named Stepan K. Hovnanian, was a builder, according to the AP. Last year, Hovnanian received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for contributions to America by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations.
J.S. Hovnanian & Sons has built more than 6,000 homes in New Jersey.
Restoration Hardware to cut 100 jobs
Specialty home decor and fixtures retailer Restoration Hardware has announced a restructuring plan for its Corte Madera, Calif.-based headquarters.
The company said the plan, which includes 100 job cuts at the company’s headquarters, is expected to yield $3.5 million in cost savings by the end of the year. Annually, the cuts are expected to save $9 million.
The company most recently revised its second-quarter forecast to reflect anticipated revenue of $183 million to $185 million for the quarter, down from its prior view of $195 million to $199 million.
“This is a difficult but necessary decision that will enable us to operate more efficiently in the current environment,” said Gary Friedman, president and CEO of Restoration Hardware. “We believe the cost cutting actions we have announced this year, combined with our strategic growth and supply chain initiatives, will drive improved sales and profitability in the second half of 2007 compared to a year ago.”
Friedman pointed to several new strategies for growth, including recently launched Restoration Hardware Bed & Bath, Restoration Hardware Baby & Child and Restoration Hardware Trade.
“We’re positioning the business to achieve our long-term revenue and operating margin goals,” Friedman said.
Restoration Hardware operates 102 retail stores and eight outlet stores in 30 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.
Design Within Reach reports narrower losses
Despite an exceptionally tough home furnishings market, decor retailer Design Within Reach (DWR) posted narrower second-quarter losses of $575,000, compared with losses of $833,000 last year.
Sales rose 0.2 percent to $49.07 million from $48.96 million in the same period last year.
“We made solid progress during the quarter as we improved our overall financial position and continued to build awareness of the Design Within Reach brand,” said CEO Ray Brunner. “We achieved sales growth on top of a tough comparable period.”
He added, “While we are pleased with this increased level of operating performance, there are many opportunities for improvement. We have a number of initiatives in place, including sourcing alternatives to improve our product margins and an internally developed advertising campaign to further build brand awareness.”
The San Francisco-based company forecasts it will break even by the end of fiscal 2007.