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RONA up in third quarter on acquisitions

BY HBSDEALER Staff

RONA, one of Canada’s largest big-box home channel retailers, saw earnings rise to $59.4 million Canadian dollars (US$64 million), up 5.9 percent compared with C$56.1 million in the year-ago period. Sales were up 6.7 percent to C$1.35 billion compared with C$1.27 billion last year.

The higher sales were attributed to growth in acquisitions and new store openings. The company recently acquired business from Noble Trade, Curtis Lumber and Mountain Building Centres. Additionally, earnings growth in the third quarter, as well as in the second quarter, have helped to offset a weak first quarter, the company said in a statement. The company saw a difficult first quarter due to adverse weather conditions.

In a statement, the retailer said although the American economy is seeing a “major correction” in the real estate market, “the situation is very different in Canada, where all of RONA’s sales are based. The drop in housing starts is much less pronounced than in the United States and resales are still climbing.”

Based in Boucherville, Quebec, RONA operates a network of 673 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores.

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Lowe’s earns EPA award for transportation

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Mooresville, N.C.- based Lowe’s has earned an award from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for work in its freight and transportation system.

The retailer has received the Environmental Excellence Award from the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership. The company earned the recognition by increasing shipping by rail and instituting a more efficient process for inbound and outbound freight deliveries.

The company also helped increase efficiency of truckload shipments by allowing more products to be shipped on fewer trailers.

The awards were announced at the annual conference of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals in Philadelphia.

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Wisconsin jury rejects lead paint claim

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A Milwaukee County jury has found in favor of five paint companies with former connections to lead paint manufacturing.

Sherwin-Williams, Atlantic Richfield, DuPont, NL Industries and Millennium Holdings were found not liable for the lowered mental faculties of a plaintiff who said he ingested lead paint in two apartments as a child.

The jury found that 17-year-old Steven Thomas, who sued the companies for more than $2 million in damages, was not brain damaged because of lead paint. One attorney, Peter Earle, said he planned to appeal the jury’s decision.

The Milwaukee decision is just one of several recent lead paint court decisions favorable to manufacturers. As in the Milwaukee case, several litigants have argued that paint companies should be liable for contaminated homes, which were painted with lead paint prior to its ban in 1978. Attorneys for paint companies have argued that landlords should be responsible for cleaning up their properties.

Lead paint lawsuits in other states have been rejected for different reasons this year. In Ohio, the state Supreme Court said municipalities must be able to show, without a doubt, who manufactured the paint in contaminated buildings before proceeding with a case against manufacturers.

In New Jersey, the state Supreme Court also said that difficulty in identifying who manufactured lead paint used in homes meant that manufacturers would not face litigation in that state. Prior to the New Jersey decision, the Missouri Supreme Court cited a similar argument in dismissing a lead paint suit in St. Louis.

In 2005, a Rhode Island jury ordered three paint manufacturers to clean up homes in that state — the companies are appealing the verdict.

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