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To promote product, VT solicits ugly countertops

BY Ken Clark

Holstein, Iowa-based manufacturer of laminate countertops, VT Industries is giving contractors the opportunity to showcase their skills and craftsmanship through the “Ugly Countertop” contest.

Contractors are eligible to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Marco Island, Fla. But first, they have to show photos of how a VT Countertop transformed a countertop into a beautiful home fixture.

Contractors are asked to visit the VT Industries Facebook page and upload “before and after” photos of remodeling projects using VT Countertops. Entries will be displayed and judged by a panel of VT Industries designers.

Grand-prize winners will receive an all-inclusive three-night getaway to Marco Island Florida Marriott Beach Resort, Spa & Golf Course.

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Report: Stanley Black & Decker puts a few brands on the block

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Stanley Black & Decker, the tools giant that made a splash with a blockbuster merger two years ago, is now attempting to sell a unit of its tool empire, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

The unit on the block includes Baldwin, Price Pfister and Kwikset brands, making builders hardware, door locks, bath fixtures and other home products. 

The brands are a legacy of Black and Decker. Stanley and Black & Decker merged in 2010 in a $4.5 billion all-stock transaction. 

The New Britain, Conn.-based tool manufacturer declined to comment on the report. 

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Monthly sales slip in May, says Census Bureau

BY Ken Clark

Across the U.S. retail spectrum, sales slipped in May, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. retail and food services sales for May, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $404.6 billion, a decrease of 0.2%

The bureau’s estimates, however, are up 5.3% compared with May 2011.

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, the broad 444 NAICS category that includes home centers, lumberyards and hardware stores, showed the same pattern — down from the previous month (-1.7%), but up from the same month a year ago (5.3%).

Consumers appear to be “taking a breath,” said National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Going forward, retailers will make sure to keep a steady eye on key economic indicators, being cautious with inventory and promotions as back to school — the second biggest time of the year — approaches.”

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