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Lowe’s ‘command center’ prepares for further storms

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s will continue the use of its Gulf Coast hurricane “command center,” following landfall of hurricane Gustav and continuing as tropical storms Hanna, Ike and Josephine affect the south and southeastern regions.

The retailer earlier announced that 30 of its stores in the Gulf Coast region had closed — they have since reopened — while a further 70 stores were under “command center watch” to help distribute goods to any residents affected by the storms. Lowe’s works with vendors to quickly ship essential hurricane preparation and relief products to stores and regional distribution centers.

“Lowe’s command center is in full activation, and we are expediting as much emergency product into affected communities to help customers recover when they return home,” said Larry D. Stone, Lowe’s president and COO, in a statement.

Certain Lowe’s employees in the southeast, members of the retailer’s Storm Recovery Teams, are on standby throughout the region, Stone added.

Additionally, the company has set up hurricane relief donation sites at stores nationwide, part of the company’s ongoing partnership with the Red Cross.

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Former Westlake execs open True Value store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Former Westlake Ace Hardware executives Brian Richards and Scott Westlake have formed their own True Value hardware chain, called SCW. The first store opened Aug. 30 in Overland Park, Kan.

Called Nuts and Bolts, the store is 51,000 square feet, about three times the size of a traditional True Value outlet. A second, 28,000-square-foot Nuts and Bolts is set to open sometime in September in Independence, Mo.

Both stores are based on the Destination True Value format, which emphasizes small projects and offers a broad product selection in core hardware categories that can be adapted to the needs of the individual store.

In addition to the traditional hardware departments, Nuts and Bolts offers a 4,000-square-foot customer service center where customers can get glass and keys cut, window screens repaired and knifes and scissors sharpened. The store has about 40 employees.

Richards, the company president, spent more than 30 years with Westlake — a 90-store chain with stores in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico — before partnering with Scott Westlake, the grandson of Westlake Ace’s founder.

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Toll Brothers posts third-quarter loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Toll Brothers, one of the nation’s largest home builders with a specialty in luxury homes, saw third-quarter losses of $29.3 million, plummeting from earnings of $26.5 million in the same period last year.

The Horsham, Pa.-based builder recorded a hefty $139.4 million pre-tax charge, $33.4 million of which was attributed to failed joint venture agreements. For the first nine months of the fiscal year, the builder has generated losses totaling $219 million.

Home-building revenues totaled $1.24 billion in the third quarter, down 31 percent from $1.8 billion in the same period last year.

Robert Toll, chairman and CEO for Toll Brothers, pulled no punches in his assessment of the results: “We are now completing the third year of the worst housing market since we started in 1967,” he said.

“Weak consumer confidence has kept many potential buyers from taking advantage of the current buyers’ market,” he noted. “We believe that most big public builders have sold off most of their inventory, which eventually should help stabilize home prices. However, we currently have to contend with foreclosures as the new low-priced competition.”

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