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Ozark Natural Paneling gains distribution in Southeast and Southwest

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Curtner Lumber Co.’s Ozark Natural Paneling, a new line of hardwood planks for walls, ceilings and wainscot, will be distributed by Boise Cascade locations in Memphis and Tulsa throughout Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Western Kentucky, Northwest Alabama, Oklahoma and Missouri.  

Made in Newport, Ark., Ozark Natural Paneling comes from the finest, sustainable-growth “heirloom quality” hardwoods.  

“[It’s] nothing like the big sheets of paneling from years ago," said Larry Cromwell, panel product manager, Boise Cascade, Tulsa. "Ozark Natural Paneling can really add warmth and character to any home or commercial structure.”

It was originally launched by Boise – Houston in early December 2010.

Ozark Natural Paneling is made from solid hardwood that is durable and easy to care for, according to Boise. 

“It makes perfect sense for our market, which is the hardwood capital of the world," said Earl Stephens, general manager, Boise Cascade, Memphis. 

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Home Depot in China: Fewer cities, tighter focus

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot’s collection of Chinese stores has dwindled to seven, with the closing of a store in Beijing in January — the fifth closing in a little more than two years. 

The moves reflect the retailer’s strategy to adjust its focus on key markets, rather than scatter its attention around the country. The Atlanta-based retail giant operates seven stores in three Chinese cities — four in Tianjin, two in Xi’an and a smaller, 50,000-sq.-ft. format pilot store in Zheng Zhou.

"After four years of experience and learning, our plan in China is to focus on the high growth cities," said Ron DeFeo, a spokesman for The Home Depot, referring especially to Tianjin and Xi’an. "This is where we intend to concentrate our focus, establish a presence and gain scale and momentum." 

Tianjin alone has 12 million people, and Xi’an isn’t far behind, with about 8 million. The growing population of both cities represents a sales opportunity for the retailer. But cultural differences — for instance, the resistance to western DIY habits — present challenges to expansion.

In addition to Beijing, the company has closed stores in Xi Si Huan, Fengzhongsi, Dong Li, Qingdao and Shenyang.

Home Depot continues to appear content to take its time in China. In the company’s annual investors and analyst meeting on Dec. 13, CEO Frank Blake described the company’s Chinese retail business as a journey.

“I don’t think we’re alone in having it take some time to figure out how to build a profitable business model," Blake said. "We’ve said from the start that we’re not there to drive square-footage growth. We’re there to figure out a profitable business model and then move."

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Rubbermaid reports strong performance in 2010

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid used the term "growth trifecta" to describe its 2010 performance — strong sales, strong margins and strong earnings.

The company reported fourth quarter net income of $75.7 million, up 24.9% from $60.6 million reported for the same period last year.

Sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 were $1.46 billion, up 3.4% from $1.42 billion reported for the same period in 2009. 

For the full year, the company reported net income of $292.8 million, up 2.6% from $285.5 million reported in 2009.

Sales for 2010 were $5.75 billion, up 3.2% from $5.57 billion from last year.

Looking forward, the company expects core sales to increase 4% to 5% in 2011.

“As I look back on 2010, I think it’s most notable that we consistently grew core sales in a sluggish economy and delivered on all of our financial targets, while continuing to advance our long-term growth strategies,” said Mark Ketchum, president and CEO. “By staying focused on the drivers that are in our control, we have created our own momentum to deliver once again a full year of the growth trifecta – sales growth, gross margin expansion and normalized earnings growth.”

 

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