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KraftMaid cuts 400 jobs in Ohio

BY HBSDEALER Staff

KraftMaid cabinets has cut approximately 400 jobs at factories in the state of Ohio because of the downturn in the housing market, according to a report by the Associated Press. The division of Masco cut work force at cabinet plants in Middlefield and Orwell, Ohio.

Aspokesperson told the news service that the plants could be reopened if the housing market improves.

In its first-quarter earnings statement in April, Masco reported net income fell to $2 million from $143 million in the same period last year. Masco’s companies include Delta Faucet, KraftMaid cabinets and Behr paints.

Net sales fell 13 percent to $2.45 billion from $2.8 billion in the same period last year.

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Sherwin-Williams lowers guidance for the year

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sherwin-Williams expects lower net sales in the 2008 fiscal year, a reversal of a formerly anticipated sales gain in the low single digits.

The “significantly lower expectation” of per-share income is due to the “expected continuation of the unprecedented downturn in the U.S. housing market and rapidly rising raw material cost increases.”

Sherwin-Williams is doubly hurt by rising petroleum costs, because it uses petroleum both for shipping needs and raw materials for paint products.

For the same reasons, the company also lowered its second-quarter earnings-per-share guidance. Sherwin-Williams plans a conference call to discuss the issues later today.

In other company news, the Cleveland-based retailer and manufacturer announced a $50,000 grant to the Cleveland Housing Network (CHN).

The city of Cleveland, which has struggled with poverty- and housing-related issues even before the downturn in the housing market, utilizes the CHN to offer lease-purchase agreements to low-income residents. Last week, Sherwin-Williams CEO Chris Connor and 30 company associates helped paint and rehab a home as part of the CHN lease purchase program.

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Lowe’s promotes ‘staycation’ trend

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Through its “Creative Ideas” Web site, and other online tools, Lowe’s has opted to promote the “staycation” trend of individuals foregoing vacations in favor of spending time at home, primarily because of high gas prices.

At www.lowescreativeideas.com/outdoorliving, the retailer promotes hammocks, lounge chairs, flowers, tiki torches and other “tropical” items meant to help create a “tropical paradise” in the backyard. The site also gives tips on how to create an “urban garden.”

The company is using the site to promote items such as fire pits, trellises, lounge chairs and hammocks under the “Garden Treasures” line; as well as Weber charcoal grills and Malibu solar tiki torches.

At www.lowes.com/learn2grow, the retailer also offers tips for creating a European-style garden, with flower tips and product suggestions on fountains, trellises and gazebos.

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