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Stock reports $60 million loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Stock Building Supply, the LBM industry’s second largest chain of lumberyards, posted a $60 million loss for its last fiscal quarter, which ended on Oct. 31, 2008. Revenues were down by approximately 20 percent, reflecting a similar decline in same-stores sales volumes.

Stock’s financial report was issued by its London-based parent company, Wolseley, whose own results have been hampered by the performance of its U.S.-based building materials division. But Wolseley’s first-quarter 2008 results — the company operates on an August-to-July fiscal year — were also affected by a deteriorating market in the United Kingdom and the Nordic regions, it said.

Wolseley reported a 2-percent increase in overall revenues and a 30-percent drop in profits. The company will undertake further restructuring actions, it said, reducing head count by 2,300 people and closing or consolidating at least 200 branches. The majority of these will take place in the United Kingdom, with some reductions in Denmark.

Amajor downsizing at Stock involving 86 branches and 3,000 workers was announced on Oct. 23 and should be completed by the end of November 2008, the company said. Annualized savings are projected to be $81 million.

Ferguson, Wolseley’s wholesale plumbing and HVAC business in the United States, performed well in the last quarter, according to the company. But given the expected decline in commercial and industrial construction in the early 2009, Wolseley reduced Ferguson’s head count by 1,110 workers and closed 50 branches during the past quarter. These actions are expected to save $29 million a year.

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Ace co-hosting energy workshops in Colorado

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware stores across Colorado have teamed with Xcel Energy and Lightly Treading Energy & Design to host a series of free informational workshops to help consumers save money on energy bills this winter, according to an article in the Delta County Independent, a western Colorado newspaper.

With Colorado residents facing a 12 percent increase in natural gas costs this winter, the workshops will educate consumers about how to conserve energy and lower utility bills. They will provide tips on everything from energy-efficient appliances and lighting to DIY energy efficiency projects such as installing and setting programmable thermostats, changing furnace filters and sealing leaks around doors and windows.

The workshops are free to consumers and will help homeowners cut annual energy consumption by as much as 50 percent this winter, according to Paul Kriescher, principle of Lightly Treading Energy & Design.

In addition to the workshop series, Ace Hardware and Lightly Treading are giving away thermal energy audits and energy makeovers to four Colorado homeowners.

“As local hardware store owners, we want to do what we can to help alleviate rising energy costs for our customers,” said Bill Moore, chairman of the board of directors for Rocky Mountain Ace Stores. “We’re known for providing one-stop-shopping for information and products, and our stores are the perfect location for community events like these.”

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Laticrete appoints director of sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Laticrete, a manufacturer of systems for the installation of ceramic tile and stone, has promoted Ron Nash to director of sales, Architectural Products Division. In this role, Nash will create and lead in the execution of sales initiatives.

“The region sales managers in position are very strong,” Nash said. “My job will be to help them execute our plan. As a group, we need to stay focused on execution. In tough times, there isn’t a lot of new business, so we need to execute better than our competition to gain market share.”

Nash joined Laticrete in 2004 and has won several awards since, including the Timothy J. Alper Award for customer service; sales representative of the year, which was selected by his distributor, Inland Northwest; and the Laticrete “Above and Beyond” presidential award. Prior to this promotion, Nash was the region sales manager for the Laticrete California region.

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