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Pro-Build names new president for western region

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Joe Lawrence, the president of Dixieline Lumber in San Diego, has been named the new president of Pro-Build West, where he will oversee operations in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California and Arizona. Lawrence will replace Dave Dittmer, a 23-year veteran of Lanoga and later Pro-Build.

Dittmer is leaving the company “to pursue some other business opportunities,” said Carolyn Atkinson, Pro-Build’s director of marketing and communications.

Lawrence, who will relocate to Pro-Build West’s regional headquarters in Olympia, Wash., joined Dixieline in 1984 as a load builder. He rose through the management ranks, becoming Dixieline’s president in 2005. Lawrence will retain that title and also serve as president of Lumbermens, according to Atkinson. Ed Waite will continue to serve as president of Spenard Builders Supply in Alaska.

Pro-Build is the nation’s largest pro dealer, with more than 500 locations in 40 states.

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Madrid IKEA store victim of dramatic robbery

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The first IKEA to open in Spain’s capital city, Madrid, was the target of armed robbers Dec. 9, who stole approximately US$7,345.70 after crashing into the store with a large SUV.

According to the Guardian U.K., the store was packed with about 2,000 customers when the robbers crashed into the store’s exit in a black Jeep Cherokee, then emerged firing guns in the air.

Police said the raid lasted no more than two minutes. No one was injured in the incident.

The store, which had been open for four months is, not the first of Sweden-based IKEA’s locations to be targeted in Spain, according to reports. In September of 2005, armed robbers stole more than US$144,626.83 at an IKEA store in Alcorcon.

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Toll Brothers ends year with rocky fourth quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

National home builder Toll Brothers recorded fourth quarter losses of $81.8 million, a hit that included $314.9 million in pre-tax write-downs mainly due to land options and real estate losses. That compares with income of $173.8 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

Total revenues in the fourth quarter were $1.17 billion, down 35.3 percent compared with $1.81 billion last year.

For the full year, Toll Brothers saw earnings of $35.7 million, a substantial drop from the $687.2 million recorded last year. Revenues for the year were $4.65 billion compared with $6.12 billion last year, a 24 percent drop.

Robert Toll, chairman and CEO of Toll Brothers, reiterated what many home builders have been saying for the past six months:

“Weak consumer confidence continues to buck (home buying) positives,” he said. “Broader concerns about the nation’s economy have magnified worries about potential price declines in the housing market.”

“It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when, this oversupply is absorbed,” he added. “Then we [willl] return to better times.”

Toll Brothers builds homes in 22 states.

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