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Sales down 5.6 percent at Trex in fourth quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Winchester, Va.-based Trex, manufacturer and distributor of decking, railing, fencing and trim products, reported a net loss of $40.1 million for the fourth quarter compared with a loss of $13.8 million for the same quarter in 2006. Net sales for the quarter were $30.3 million, down 5.6 percent from $32.1 million from the same quarter in 2006.

For the year, the company reported a net loss of $75.9 million, compared to net income of $2.3 million in 2006. In sales for the full year, the company reported $328.9 million, down 2.3 percent from $336.9 million in 2006.

“We are extremely disappointed with 2007 financial results, which were burdened with charges stemming from poor control over manufacturing operations, quality and fixed asset management,” said president and CEO Ronald Kaplan, who joined the company as chief executive on Jan. 7. The company recently cut salaried work force by approximately 30 people, according to Trex.

“Nevertheless, Trex’s steady sales illustrate our success in improving product quality, the strength of the Trex brand and the expansion of our distribution network,” he added. “We are pleased with the company’s sales performance considering the soft market conditions and overall downturn in the building materials industry.”

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IKEA to expand presence in Poland

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Polish developer Inter IKEA Centre Polska — part of the IKEA group — will soon begin construction on a large shopping center in Lodz, Poland, according to a report in the Warsaw Business Journal.

Called Port Lodz, the 127,000-square-foot shopping center is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2009 and will represent the Swedish retailer’s seventh property in Poland.

The new shopping center — anchored by a 33,000-square-foot IKEA store — will also house more than 270 stores and service shops.

“Port Lodz will be a unique project,” Renata Burejza, public relations and marketing manager at Inter IKEA Centre Polska, told the newspaper. “Unlike the rest of our centers in Poland, it will not be a retail park but rather a more traditional shopping center in which the whole retail space is contained in a single building.”

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Home sales slide in January

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Existing-home sales — including single-family, townhouses, condos and apartment buildings — declined 0.4 percent last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units in January from a level of 4.91 million in December, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The results are 23.4 percent below the 6.44 million-unit pace set in January 2007.

Single-family home sales decreased 0.5 percent, while existing multi-family housing units fell 6.5 percent from the previous year.

The national existing-home price median for all housing types was $201,100, a 4.6 percent drop from a year ago.

Total housing inventory rose 5.5 percent at the end of January to 4.19 million existing homes for sale, representing a 10.3-month supply at the current sales pace.

Regionally, sales of existing homes in the Northeast fell 3.6 percent in January, with the West experiencing the second largest drop at 2.1 percent. Sales in the South slipped 0.5 percent last month. However, the Midwest saw sales of existing homes rise 3.4 percent in January 2007 compared to last year.

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