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Readers Respond: Bad looks on Canadian lumber deal

BY HBSDealer Staff

Last week, the Commerce Department followed up on a trade dispute that's been up in the air since the U.S. and Canada's Softwood Lumber Agreement expired in October 2015 with a plan to collect an average of about 20% on lumber entering the country from Canada.

The moved generated a wide range of reaction in the industry, but we wanted to hear from our readers, too.

In a poll earlier this week, we asked whether it was conducive (or counterproductive) of the Department of Commerce to slap tariffs on Canadian lumber.

The largest share of respondents — 48% — said "bad move: Bad for the consumer, and bad for the housing market." Another 23% said "don't know: It's a complicated ecosystem, and only time will tell."

For those who embraced the move with more certainty: 29% answered "good move: Good for U.S. mills, and good for future negotiations."

What do you think? Take our poll here.

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Best Buy to launch smart home service

BY Marianne Wilson

Best Buy is extending its reaching into the fast-growing smart home market by teaming up with a company that makes and installs smart devices.
   
The retailer and Vivint Smart Home announced a partnership, called Best Buy Smart Home powered by Vivint, whereby experts from Vivint will be placed in Best Buy stores to give shoppers advice about smart home devices and installation. The program will start rolling out this summer.

This is not Best Buy’s first foray into the smart home arena. In 2014, the company debuted “Connected Home” departments in some 400 of its stores. Under the new partnership, Vivint products — and smart home experts — will be added to the departments. Customers will be able select from an assortment of  leading smart home products from Vivint and other partners –— including smart locks, lights, cameras, thermostats and more — and also receive Vivint’s professional installation and monitoring, often within 24 hours. 

Accompanying service plans include 24/7 professional monitoring with emergency response, always-on cellular connection, 30-day video storage, online and phone support, in-home service and equipment protection.

Customers also have the option to select a no-contract service plan. Vivint’s smart home platform works with voice assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, enabling consumers to control their smart home devices with their voice.

“Best Buy is all about helping customers pursue their passions and enrich their lives with the help of technology,” said Asheesh Saksena, chief strategic growth officer at Best Buy. “To deliver on that promise, we work with industry leading partners to curate the best products, services and solutions that address the everyday needs of our customers. Our partnership with Vivint is a perfect example of that strategy.”

Vivint Smart Home has more than 1 million customers and has installed more than 15 million smart home devices in North American homes. 

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Pet drives growth for Central Garden & Pet in Q2

BY HBSDealer Staff

Central Garden & Pet Company reported a net sales boost of 5.3% in the second quarter, much of which was driven by strength in its Pet segment.

Net sales for the quarter ended March 25 were $569.9 million, up from $541.2 million in the second quarter of 2016.

The boost was largely due to an 8.4% increase in net sales for the Pet segment, which in turn was driven primarily by the recent Segrest acquisition. Organic pet sales grew by 1.3%.

Net sales for the Garden segment grew 2.1%, due primarily to higher control and fertilizer sales and increased sales of other manufacturers' products.

Meanwhile, net income $34.7 million was up from $32.7 million in the year-ago period.

"Our second quarter results continue to reflect our initiatives to grow sales and profits organically," said George Roeth, president & CEO. "During the quarter we continued to grow faster than our categories, gaining market share across the majority of our businesses, with strong execution and a clear focus on demand-creation activities. On top of that, our M&A efforts continue to enhance our overall operating results."

The company also issued guidance of non-GAAP earnings per fully-diluted share of $1.37 or higher for fiscal 2017, an increase of 8.7% or more from the prior year, excluding any impact from the acquisition of K&H Manufacturing that closed last week.

Roeth concluded, "Overall, we remain pleased with our efforts to position the company for sustained growth through organic sales gains, cost savings, margin improvement, and strategic M&A activity, all intended to drive profit growth for years to come."

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