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Masco sees net income decline

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Taylor, Mich.-based manufacturer Masco reported income of $36 million, down 83 percent from $206 million in the same period last year.

Net sales were $2.5 billion, down 16 percent from $3.0 billion for the third quarter of 2007.

North American sales declined 18 percent, and international sales declined 6 percent.

The company’s third-quarter results were hurt by lower sales volume to the new home construction market and a decline in consumer spending for home improvement products. The quarter was also affected by a higher tax rate.

In addition, Masco decided in the first quarter of 2008 to sell off several European business units that “were not core to the company’s long-term growth strategy,” generating proceeds of $174 million.

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Ace tops customer service survey

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware received the highest marks in customer service for the third quarter of 2008, according to RealPeopleRatings.com, a quarterly survey by Corporate Research International (CRI).

True Value ranked second in the survey; Lowe’s ranked third.

CRI, a market research firm specializing in mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys, sends the quarterly surveys as online opinion polls to its pool of panelists; 3,000 panelists participated in this quarter’s survey.

According to CRI, this survey emphasizes the importance of brand image and customer perception. Respondents were asked to rate their perception of each business’s customer service on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating. If a respondent did not have experience with the business, the panelist did not enter a score for that establishment.

“It’s increasingly important in today’s marketplace for companies to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction to keep their customers coming back,” said Michael Mallett, CEO of Corporate Research International.

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Black & Decker earnings decline for Q3

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Towson, Md.-based Black & Decker reported net earnings of $85.8 million for the third quarter, down 18 percent from $104.6 million for the third quarter of 2007. Earnings reflect a $15.6 million pre-tax restructuring charge.

Sales for the quarter were $1.57 billion, down 4 percent from 1.63 billion in the year-ago period.

“Black & Decker generated solid earnings and cash flow in a very difficult business environment this quarter,” said Nolan D. Archibald, chairman and CEO. “Sales met our expectations despite weakening economic conditions in the U.S. and Western Europe. The actions we took earlier in the year to reduce costs helped our results this quarter, and we are taking additional steps in light of recent macroeconomic developments.”

In the company’s power tools and accessories, hardware and home improvement, and fastening and assembly systems segments, sales decreased 6 percent, 13 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

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