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Sears names two key home improvement execs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings has named two key executives to head its home improvement business-related units.

Stu Reed, former executive vp-mobile devices for Motorola, will serve as senior vp and president of Sears home services, the retailer’s home installation unit.

Reed replaces Mark Good, who announced his departure earlier this month. Sears home services include installation services, such as windows, doors and siding, as well as HVAC work and carpet cleaning.

Additionally, Guenther Trieb, a former Procter & Gamble executive, will lead Sears Kenmore, Craftsman and Die Hard business units. In this role, Trieb will be responsible for over seeing and “working to grow the value of the company’s major brands,” the retailer said.

Trieb spent 24 years with Procter & Gamble, most recently serving as vp of the company’s Western European feminine care global business unit. He has held a variety of senior leadership roles in brand management, marketing and strategic planning with Procter & Gamble.

Trieb’s position represents a newly created grouping of the company’s home improvement business units. Greg Inwood, vp-Craftsman tools, hardware and paint departed the company earlier this year.

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Former Westlake execs open True Value store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Former Westlake Ace Hardware executives Brian Richards and Scott Westlake have formed their own True Value hardware chain, called SCW. The first store opened Aug. 30 in Overland Park, Kan.

Called Nuts and Bolts, the store is 51,000 square feet, about three times the size of a traditional True Value outlet. A second, 28,000-square-foot Nuts and Bolts is set to open sometime in September in Independence, Mo.

Both stores are based on the Destination True Value format, which emphasizes small projects and offers a broad product selection in core hardware categories that can be adapted to the needs of the individual store.

In addition to the traditional hardware departments, Nuts and Bolts offers a 4,000-square-foot customer service center where customers can get glass and keys cut, window screens repaired and knifes and scissors sharpened. The store has about 40 employees.

Richards, the company president, spent more than 30 years with Westlake — a 90-store chain with stores in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico — before partnering with Scott Westlake, the grandson of Westlake Ace’s founder.

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Toll Brothers posts third-quarter loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Toll Brothers, one of the nation’s largest home builders with a specialty in luxury homes, saw third-quarter losses of $29.3 million, plummeting from earnings of $26.5 million in the same period last year.

The Horsham, Pa.-based builder recorded a hefty $139.4 million pre-tax charge, $33.4 million of which was attributed to failed joint venture agreements. For the first nine months of the fiscal year, the builder has generated losses totaling $219 million.

Home-building revenues totaled $1.24 billion in the third quarter, down 31 percent from $1.8 billion in the same period last year.

Robert Toll, chairman and CEO for Toll Brothers, pulled no punches in his assessment of the results: “We are now completing the third year of the worst housing market since we started in 1967,” he said.

“Weak consumer confidence has kept many potential buyers from taking advantage of the current buyers’ market,” he noted. “We believe that most big public builders have sold off most of their inventory, which eventually should help stabilize home prices. However, we currently have to contend with foreclosures as the new low-priced competition.”

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