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Pro dealers to meet in D.C.

BY HBSDEALER Staff

On March 31, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) will hold its annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C., an event that puts lumberyard owners face to face with U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives. Dealers from around the country will meet with their elected officials over a two-day period to discuss issues that affect the LBM industry, such as the estate tax, green building initiatives and tort reform.

At the top of the agenda will be the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 989), a bill that would protect retailers named in product liability lawsuits. Originally introduced by the NLBMDA, the bill now has 58 congressional co-sponsors, including Democrats and Republicans.

In addition to lobbying efforts, the three-day event will include a luncheon and a dinner/auction. New this year is a green building forum, organized by the LBM Institute and the Green Building Advisory Council, both affiliated with the NLBMDA.

The legislative conference is headquartered at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and runs from March 31 to April 2. For more information, visit www.dealer.org or call the NLBMDA at (800) 634-8645.

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84 Lumber reports 2007 sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

84 Lumber has reported $3.1 billion in revenues for 2007, a 24 percent drop from its sales in 2006.

The industry’s largest privately owned chain of lumberyards, which ranked third on HCN’s Top 350 Pro Dealer list, reduced its head count by 175 positions at its headquarters over the past 12 months. Approximately 850 additional employees have been cut at other locations.

The Eighty Four, Pa.-based company has closed 22 stores since 2005, although some of these were relocations or near a new 84 Lumber store, said Jeff Nobers, vp-corporate communications.

“Our goal is to continue to grow market share,” Nobers told HCN. The company intends to open 10 new locations in 2008, Nobers said, pinpointing Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida and California. Two of the pro dealer’s locations, in Annapolis, Md., and Clarksville, Del., are undergoing extensive renovations that will double or triple their size and add showrooms and warehouse space. Nobers added: “They will be, in effect, new stores.”

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Pulte Homes loss widens in fourth quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based home builder Pulte Homes posted a loss of $874.7 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2007, compared to a loss of $8.4 million in the same quarter last year. For the full year, the company swung to a loss of $2.25 billion, compared to earnings of $687 million in 2006.

“The challenging market conditions that plagued the home-building industry for the first nine months of 2007 worsened in the fourth quarter,” said Richard J. Dugas, Jr., president and CEO of Pulte Homes. “Levels of new and existing-home inventory remain elevated, buyer demand for new homes continues to be weak and mortgage availability is still a problem for many prospective home buyers.”

The company also showed net sales of $2.9 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, down 34 percent from the same quarter of 2006 of $4.4 billion.

Net sales for the year were $9.3 billion, down 35 percent from $14.3 billion for 2006.

The company closed 8,714 homes in the fourth quarter, down 31 percent from the same quarter last year, with average sales price per home at $319,000, down 6 percent from the fourth quarter last year.

New orders for the quarter were 4,562, down 29 percent from the fourth quarter in 2006. The company also projects a first-quarter net loss of 15 cents to 30 cents per share.

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