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Sears Canada acquires duct cleaning business

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Toronto-based Sears Canada has announced the purchase of Excell Duct Cleaning, a privately held network of air duct cleaning licensees for Sears in 24 regions of Canada.

Excell provides duct cleaning services, HVAC service and repair and the sale of some clean air products under the “Sears Indoor Clean Air Services” name, according to the retailer.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Current employees of Excell will remain and continue to work out of their Burlington, Ontario, office, the company said.

“Having Excell under the Sears Home Services umbrella will position Sears to expand the products and services offered through the licensee network, including those relating to heating, ventilation and air conditioning,” explained Ajit Khanna, senior vp-home services, travel and contact centers for Sears Canada.

“Our aim is to become more important in the management of our customers’ homes, and today’s announcement is an important step in accomplishing this,” Khanna added.

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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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Lumberyard sues city over boardwalk project

BY HBSDEALER Staff

With the sluggish housing market making headlines, even some lumberyards cashing in on the commercial sector can’t catch a break.

According to (New York) Newsday, a Baltimore lumber company has sued the beachside city of Ocean City, N.J., for $1.2 million for canceling a huge order of tropical rainforest wood for a seaside boardwalk project.

Louis J. Grasmick Lumber filed the suit in U.S. District Court, according to the article, against the city for allegedly refusing to pay for the wood even though some of the wood already has been installed on the boardwalk.

Environmental groups, including “Friends of the Rainforest,” also have protested the project, saying the city had pledged “never to use tropical hardwoods on its boardwalk again.” The city’s mayor’s office received more than 50,000 e-mails urging the local government to cancel the contract on environmental grounds, according to the newspaper.

The city did not cite the environmental complaints for terminating the contract, but rather “lengthy delays in delivery” and “uncertainty” as to when the wood would arrive.

The lumberyard said the delays were due to factors beyond its control, including supplier shipping delays and an accident in which a company truck overturned.

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