Lumber Liquidators points to 300 stores by 2012
Lumber Liquidators, the 125-store specialty retailer of hardware flooring, hopes to grow to 300 stores by 2012. Meanwhile, the Toano, Va.-based retailer is testing a new home-installation strategy that relies on a single national installation services provider.
“So far, the test has been very encouraging,” said Jeffrey Griffiths, Lumber Liquidators’ CEO, speaking at Piper Jaffray’s 28th Annual Consumer Conference held Tuesday in New York City. The move would break from the retailer’s practice of creating market-to-market relationships with local installers.
About half of the retailer’s customers do their own installation, he said.
Griffiths’ key message to investors during his presentation dealt with the company’s sales momentum. The company has recorded 25 consecutive quarters of comp-store sales growth and a sales growth from $100.9 million in 2003 to $405.3 million in 2007.
“We’ve been doing well,” he said, describing customer service and low-risk no-frills stores as competitive advantages.
Griffith pointed to opportunity for growth in the fragmented hardwood flooring market, where the national home centers combine to carry about 20 percent of the share, compared to about 7 percent for Lumber Liquidators.
The big boxes do a “great job” in stained oak, bamboo, laminates and other low-end products, Griffith said. “But we feel we can compete strongly against them on the high end product.” A sales staff focused exclusively on flooring provides a key advantage for the specialty retailer, he said, adding: “Buying flooring is not an easy thing to do.”
Lumber Liquidators, which went public in November 2007, has stores in 42 states.
Western Forest Products to lay off 2,000 workers
Western Forest Products, the Vancouver-based forest products company, has announced plans to lay off nearly 2,000 employees, including 1,850 loggers and 100 sawmill workers.
The company cited falling demand for cedar products for the layoffs, as well as soft demand for forest products in the U.S. and Japanese markets, the two primary markets served by the company.
The company will curtail selected timber harvesting operations on Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Sunshine Coast during July and August. “This reduction represents slightly more than half the normal timber harvesting undertaken during this period,” according to the company.
Western also will shut down its Duke Point, B.C., sawmill location during the same two-month period. “This is in addition to the previously announced indefinite shutdown of the Ladysmith, (B.C.) sawmill, and various shorter term curtailments that take place at other mills,” the company said.
Areport in the Vancouver Sun estimated that there currently are more than 12,000 laid-off forest workers in British Columbia.
Universal Forest Products expands in Oregon
A subsidiary of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Universal Forest Products has purchased certain assets of D-Stake Mill, in McMinnville, Ore., and Manufacturing Country, in Independence, Ore.
D-Stake and Manufacturing Country manufacture kiln stickers, lath, stakes, decking and pallets and pallet components for a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail and agriculture. In 2007, sales to their customer base, which is concentrated in California, Washington and Oregon, totaled approximately $18.5 million, according to the company. Universal Forest Products Western Division finalized the purchase on June 9.
“We continue to look for opportunities to grow our industrial business, and we’re pleased to add successful operations like D-Stake and Manufacturing Country,” said Universal Forest Products president and CEO Michael B. Glenn. “They know lumber, they know their business and how to serve their customers well, and they know how to run and maintain a profitable operation.”
Sales manager Dan Harris will remain with Universal as general manager of operations. Bob Harris will stay on as a consultant through the transition.