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Sears swings to a first-quarter loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings swung to a net loss of $56 million in the first quarter, compared with net earnings of $223 million in the first quarter last year.

Sales for the quarter fell 5.3 percent to $11.07 billion from $11.7 billion in the same period last year.

The company attributed the loss to lower gross margin rates at Kmart and Sears stores in the United States — a decline that reflected increased promotions and markdowns to clear merchandise, the company said. Additionally, the retailer saw selling and administrative expenses increase by $99 million compared with the same period last year, and the company also recorded a charge of $32 million related to the sale of assets.

Sears Domestic saw the biggest same-store sales decline, down 9.8 percent in the first quarter. Same-store sales fell 7.1 percent at Kmart stores.

“Our comparable-store sales declined for the quarter across most major categories at both Kmart and Sears Domestic, most notably within the home appliance, lawn and garden and apparel categories,” the company said.

Sears’ interim CEO W. Bruce Johnson said the results reflected “the difficult economic environment and intense competition for consumer business.”

“At the same time we are managing costs, we will continue to invest in our future by hiring talented leaders and improving our online and multichannel capabilities,” Johnson said.

Sears Holdings currently operates approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.

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Weyerhaeuser to sell Australian mills

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Following a $148 million first-quarter loss, Federal Way, Wash.- based Weyerhaeuser has announced plans to sell its Australian sawmills to Auckland-based Carter Holt Harvey.

The deal will add five additional mills to Carter Holt, which currently runs plants and mills throughout the country.

Assets to be sold include the selling and distribution operations of Pine Solutions Australia, including an export chip business operated out of Portland, Victoria; as well as sawmills owned under the Weyerhaeuser Australia name. Additionally, the sale includes Green Triangle Forest Products and its associated sawmills, export chip business and Pine Mouldings operation.

Weyerhaeuser is also in discussions on a potential simultaneous sale of its 50 percent interest of the Green Triangle Forest Products timberlands business to a timber investment fund, according to the company. Those timberlands include approximately 50,000 acres of plantation pine forest in Australia.

“The Australian businesses will continue to focus on meeting customer needs during the sale process and will work with the potential buyer to ensure a smooth transition,” said Craig Neeser, Weyerhaeuser senior vp-International Group. “It is also important to note that the employees and contractors working for the Weyerhaeuser Australia Group have made significant contributions to its success and will be an asset to any potential buyer.”

Terms of the Carter Holt deal were not disclosed. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

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84 Lumber gains FSC certification for 26 yards

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pro dealer 84 Lumber has received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for 26 of its lumberyards, the company announced.

The locations are: Bridgeville, Mars, Grove City, Clarion and Eighty Four, Pa.; Moundsville, W.Va.; North Eaton (Columbia Station), Painesville, Macedonia and Massillon, Ohio; Rochester, Middletown, Ithaca, Elma, Watertown and Riverhead, N.Y.; Wyoming (Grand Rapids), Mich.; Karns (Knoxville), Tenn.; Mount Airy, Md.; Ft. Myers, Fla.; Gurnee, Ill.; Las Vegas; Henderson, Colo.; Chandler, Ariz.; and Beaumont and Hesperia, Calif.

The chain of custody designation enables these stores to sell FSC-certified lumber and building materials, which can earn points in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects, NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines, and other green certification programs. 

“FSC-certified products are a value-added service for our increasingly environmentally conscience customers,” said Kathleen Mannas, green products manager at 84 Lumber. “The FSC supports healthy forests and communities, and 84 Lumber is a strong proponent of this initiative.”

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