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Pier 1 narrows losses in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Specialty retailer Pier 1 Imports greatly narrowed its losses in the third quarter to $9.96 million, an improvement over $72.72 million in losses in the same quarter last year.

Sales fell 7 percent to $374.2 million compared with $402.7 million in the same period last year.

Pier 1’s new president and CEO Alex Smith said the narrower losses resulted from a greater emphasis on sustainable margins and lower ticket impulse items in stores.

“We are pleased with our third-quarter margin results, which would have been higher had it not been for the clearance of our Pier 1 Kids merchandise,” Smith noted.

The retailer saw cost savings to the tune of $21.2 million on marketing expenses, $10.8 million in payroll savings and $5.4 million in savings on other general administrative costs.

Smith further said the retailer saw improvements in conversion rates and units per transaction, as well as in total transaction value.

“This is only the beginning; we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “However, the fact that we achieved these results with less than perfect execution gives me great optimism about our ability to return to profitability and beyond.”

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Huttig to close two branches

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Huttig Building Products, a distributor of millwork, building materials and wood products, has announced its intention to close facilities in Greensburg, Pa., and Kansas City, Mo., in response to market conditions.

Greensburg customers will be served from distribution facilities in Columbus, Ohio, and Lancaster, Pa. The company will cover the Kansas City market from its facility in Springfield, Mo.

Huttig expects to save approximately $2.0 million before taxes as a result of the consolidation, which will also involve downsizing its corporate office in St. Louis.

Approximately 50 positions will be eliminated at the two closed branches, although some employees may transfer to other locations, according to the Huttig announcement. Another 30 positions have been cut at other branches and at Huttig headquarters during the fourth quarter of 2007, the company said.

Huttig currently operates through 36 locations serving the building, remodeling, industrial and manufactured homes market in 44 states.

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PAL president to retire

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Progressive Affiliated Lumbermen Cooperative (PAL), a building materials co-op based in Grand Rapids, Mich., has announced the retirement of its long-time president, William “Bill” Danzig, on Dec. 31, 2007.

A29-year veteran of the company, Danzig started as an assistant general manager before being promoted to executive vp and general manager. He assumed the title of president in the mid-1980s.

Danzig’s replacement has not yet been named, according to a PAL spokesperson.

Established in 1934, PAL is a member-owned buying group of independent lumberyards with dealers in 17 states throughout the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic regions.

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