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Stanley Works to close three New England plants

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Stanley Works has announced it will close three New England plants — in Pittsfield, Vt.; Clinton, Conn.; and Quonset Point, R.I. — as part of its efort to eliminate 10 percent of its work force, or 2,000 jobs.

The closing of the Pittsfield plant, which predominantly makes wooden tool handles, will begin in March and will phase out 25 jobs through the end of 2009. The closing of the Clinton and Quonset Point plants, both of which make galvanized wire for nails, will result in the loss of 60 jobs and 12 to 15 jobs, respectively.

Stanley’s Tim Perra says the New Britain, Conn.-based tool maker has seen a global deterioration of its markets due to downturns in the housing, construction and DIY markets. The company, which operates 45 manufacturing facilities worldwide, will also eliminate some management jobs as part of the cutbacks.

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Former HD buyer leaves Chrysler

BY HBSDEALER Staff

John Campi, the former senior vp–global sourcing and vendor management at Home Depot, is leaving Chrysler after less than a year on the job, the Associated Press reported. Campi, who resigned for health reasons according to an internal company memo, is the second high-ranking executive to quit the car manufacturer in four days, the wire service said.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Chrysler sat down with its key suppliers last week to discuss continued shipments as it appeals to the U.S. Congress for emergency loans. Campi’s resignation was announced at this meeting, the newspaper said.

Campi worked with Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli at Home Depot, where the latter served as chairman, president and chief executive until Jan. 2, 2007. Both men are former G.E. executives. Home Depot announced Campi’s resignation on Jan. 15, two weeks after Nardelli’s departure.

At Chrysler, where Campi served as senior vp-purchasing, the executive emphasized cost reductions and directed a lot of sourcing toward overseas suppliers, according to a  World Markets Research Centre report. He also oversaw “a newly litigious atmosphere that saw Chrysler file suit against several suppliers for issues that would previously have been worked out at a high level between the two companies, at worst,” the analysis said. 

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November starts fall to 625,000

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Housing starts dove 18.9 percent in November, according to data released Tuesday morning by the Commerce Department. New starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000, the lowest since the DOC began keeping track in 1959.

Compared to the November 2007 figure of 1.179 million new housing starts, the current figure marks a 47 percent year-over-year decline.

All four regions of the country posted double-digit negative percentage changes in both year-over-year and month-to-month comparisons. The most dramatic percent-change decline came in the Northeast, where November housing starts fell 59.8 percent compared to November of last year.

November stats fell well below consensus estimates, which had predicted starts to come in at about 740,000 units. In October, starts were revised to a record-low annual rate of 771,000 from 791,000 previously.

Building permits also declined in November, falling to 616,000. That’s down 15.6 percent from October’s figure, and down 48.1 percent from a year ago.

“The steep declines in home production that were reported today are in keeping with the extremely poor sales conditions that builders are seeing in their markets, as indicated by our most recent member surveys,” noted National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. “Builders are doing exactly what they should be doing – they are actively reducing their inventories, virtually to the point of no longer building, in order to avoid adding more product to the marketplace. Congress and the Administration now need to do their part and ‘fix housing first’ in two ways. One is by stimulating demand, which will help put a floor under home values, and the other is by aggressively addressing the foreclosure problem.”

The Commerce Department report this morning follows on the heels of the record low reading of home builders confidence. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) remained unchanged from November’s all-time low reading of 9. A reading above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

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