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Pulte chairman files a Form 144

BY HBSDEALER Staff

William J. Pulte, founder and chairman of Pulte Homes has filed a Form 144 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, covering 3.8 million shares of company stock — or 9 percent of the shares he controls — the company has reported.

According to a statement on the company’s Web site, Pulte intends to sell up to that number of shares through a prepaid variable forward contract. This allows him to receive cash now while also giving him the right to retain ownership of these shares at the end of the one-year term of the forward by settling the forward with cash.

The transaction also allows Pulte to retain an interest in a possible increase in the shares’ value over the one-year period and provides protection against a potential decline in value of Pulte shares over that same period.

The filing is in accordance with the company’s insider trading policy. Pulte has taken this action to provide liquidity for certain non-company related transactions involving friends and family members.

“I am extremely confident in the future of Pulte Homes and chose this form of transaction to allow me to retain participation in any future appreciation of the shares,” Pulte said. “I will continue in my capacity as Pulte’s chairman of the board and will also retain all my voting rights and continue to receive ordinary dividends on these shares.”

Pulte Homes, one of America’s largest home builders, is based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and operates in 51 markets in 26 states.

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Housewares giant warns on sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lifetime Brands, one of North America’s largest makers of housewares, has said it expects lower sales in the fourth quarter than previously forecast, to $490 million to $495 million, downwardly revised from $500 million to $515 million.

The company expects to release its fourth-quarter and year-end 2007 results in early March.

The company did not cite a specific reason for the lower sales, but Jeffrey Siegel, chairman, president and CEO of Lifetime Brands, characterized the current retail environment as “challenging.”

“We continue to make progress in our long-term strategic objectives. We expect continued strong product placement in 2008,” he added.

Garden City, N.Y.-based Lifetime Brands makes and markets products under a number of banners, including the Martha Stewart Collection, KitchenAid, Farberware and Pfaltzgraff.

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Design Within Reach to open in Canada

BY HBSDEALER Staff

San Francisco-based specialty retailer Design Within Reach (DWR) will open its first location outside the United States, a 4,700-square-foot studio in Toronto.

The store is slated to open on Feb. 23, and a grand opening celebration is planned for March 13. According to the company, it will showcase a selection of outdoor furniture, bedroom and workspace designs, seating, lighting, rugs and “other modern items for the home or office.”

DWR CEO Ray Brunner explained, “Strong demand from Canadian residents and international tourists for well-designed products made Toronto the logical choice for DWR’s first international location.”

DWR’s studio stores are located in major metropolitan areas, including New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In all, the company has 67 retail studios in the United States and Canada.

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