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Restoration Hardware agrees to lower price in merger plan

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Corte Madera, Calif.-based Restoration Hardware, a specialty retailer that has had financial difficulties over the last year, has agreed to a lower per-share price from investment group Catterton Partners.

According to the company, it will now accept a per-share price of $4.50, down from an original price of $6.70. The new agreement still allows time for competing bids from other companies, including Sears Holdings, which earlier offered a bid of $6.75 per share for the high-end home decor retailer.

“This additional time period for competing proposals will allow Sears or other third parties that may have an interest to make an offer to acquire the company,” said Restoration Hardware in a statement. “There is no assurance that any third party, including Sears, will pursue a competing proposal to acquire the company or that the solicitation of superior proposals will result in an alternative transaction.”

In mid-January, Restoration Hardware revealed sluggish holiday sales. The company said net revenue took a small hit, falling 1 percent to $171.5 million from $173.2 million in the same nine-week period last year.

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NLBMDA calls for green lumber standard

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association (NLBMDA) is seeking to simplify chain-of-custody issues for its members through a new grade stamp on eco-friendly lumber.

Through its affiliated group, the LBM Institute, association members have asked the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) to adopt an eco-forest management standard, accredit agencies to certify the standard and establish a grade stamp similar to other designations for dryness, size and species.

The request was submitted to the ALSC on Jan. 4. A spokesperson for ALSC, an independent agency that oversees the accreditation of softwood and pressure-treated lumber, told Home Channel News that the proposal is under review and will be discussed at an upcoming meeting.

If adopted, the new grade would identify each piece of lumber that is milled from ecologically managed forests. Lumberyard dealers would no longer have to keep the lumber physically separate all the way to the job site; nor would they need to maintain proof of certification and other paper documentation to prove its eco-lineage. These practices, currently required by some green building designations, add costs to the building supply channel, particularly at the builder and retailer end, according to the proposal.

The LBM Institute is the research and education arm of the NLBMDA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that represents more than 8,000 lumber and building material distributors across the country.

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Northeastern lumber association focuses on ‘green’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Northeastern Retail Lumber Association’s [NRLA] Lumber and Building Materials Expo 2008 brought vendors and retailers together at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston Jan. 23 to 25.

Energy-saving windows and doors took up a lot of real estate on the floor at a show that featured a wide variety of green products.

“Green’s something in the Northeast that is not going away,” said NRLA president Rita Ferris. Ferris said the NRLA is starting to focus some of its education programs on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as well as other green educational initiatives.

“It’s something our members have been calling us and asking for more and more.” But green wasn’t the only topic on the show floor. The housing decline gave members and attendees alike plenty to talk about in an environment where new products and innovative ideas are on display.

The downturn also meant a smaller turnout for the show. “It’s not what we like to see, but I think it’s meeting people’s expectations,” said Ferris, who noted that there were more qualified buyers at this show than previous years.

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