Northeastern lumber association focuses on ‘green’
The Northeastern Retail Lumber Association’s [NRLA] Lumber and Building Materials Expo 2008 brought vendors and retailers together at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston Jan. 23 to 25.
Energy-saving windows and doors took up a lot of real estate on the floor at a show that featured a wide variety of green products.
“Green’s something in the Northeast that is not going away,” said NRLA president Rita Ferris. Ferris said the NRLA is starting to focus some of its education programs on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as well as other green educational initiatives.
“It’s something our members have been calling us and asking for more and more.” But green wasn’t the only topic on the show floor. The housing decline gave members and attendees alike plenty to talk about in an environment where new products and innovative ideas are on display.
The downturn also meant a smaller turnout for the show. “It’s not what we like to see, but I think it’s meeting people’s expectations,” said Ferris, who noted that there were more qualified buyers at this show than previous years.
Earnings fall at Stock, Ferguson
Wolseley, the parent company of Stock Building Supply and Ferguson Enterprises, reported a 10 percent drop in revenues for its North American division during the five-month period ending Dec. 31, 2007. Earnings for the division, which also includes Wolseley’s Canadian operations, fell more than 40 percent.
Stock lost approximately 25 million pounds (US$49.3 million) in the five-month period, compared to a 45 million pound (US$88.7 million) profit in the comparable period a year ago. The Raleigh, N.C.-based pro dealer eliminated 1,500 jobs in the first quarter.
Plumbing wholesaler Ferguson saw a 3 percent rise in revenues due to acquisitions but a 3 percent drop in organic sales growth during the period. Profits were down 3 percent for the Newport News, Va.-based company. Since August 2007, Ferguson’s headcount has been reduced by 1,500.
Stock and Ferguson are no longer obligated to report their financial results to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Wolseley delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, effective Dec. 31, 2007, as a cost-saving measure, according to the company. Wolseley’s shares continue to trade on the over-the-counter market. The company is also listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Headquartered in Reading, England, Wolseley is an international building materials distributor with nearly 5,000 branch operations in 28 countries.
Minnesota warns of possible emerald ash borer in Lowe’s planters
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released a statement warning of a possible emerald ash borer infestation in certain planters sold in that state. The “Nature’s Own Planters” by Lawson Products have not shown signs of an ash borer infestation, according to a statement from the group, but the warning is being issued as a precautionary measure.
“The products apparently were distributed to Lowe’s stores in Minnesota,” said a statement from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. “Last week, MDA learned that a manufacturer in Indiana allegedly had mislabeled the planter boxes and shipped them into other states during the summer and fall of 2007 without the proper compliance agreement. MDA officials continue to investigate the situation along with their federal counterparts.”
Although Minnesota has not had an infestation of the emerald ash borer, the agriculture department said the insect can move to new areas in infested firewood or other ash material. The emerald ash borer has been blamed for killing 20 million ash trees throughout the Midwest, in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
“We’ve received great cooperation from the retail stores, and now we’re hoping to get help from individual consumers who may have bought these planter boxes,” said Geir Friisoe, MDA plant protection division director. Friisoe said none of the planter boxes inspected by MDA showed signs of emerald ash borer.