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Thieves use display tools to rob Home Depot store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A Miramar, Fla., Home Depot store was robbed this weekend by thieves who used power tools displayed in the store to break into a safe in the store’s vault room, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The amount of money stolen from the store has not yet been released. The thieves reportedly used the power tools to open the door to the vault room and cut the hinges off the store’s safe.

According to a local CBS affiliate, employees discovered the robbery when reporting for work at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

The employees also discovered the store’s alarm system had been disabled, and it was unclear whether the store’s surveillance system was able to capture the incident.

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Lennar reports $120 million net loss in Q2

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lennar, the second largest U.S. home builder, on June 26 reported a net loss of $120.9 million in the second quarter, compared to a loss of $244.2 million in the same quarter last year.

Revenues fell 62 percent to $1.0 billion for the quarter, compared to $2.7 billion in 2007.

Deliveries of homes fell 60 percent to 3,830, while new orders slipped 45 percent to 4,396, and the value of Lennar’s backlog sank 56 percent to $1.3 billion. On the positive side, the company said its unsold completed inventory was reduced by 70 percent in the quarter compared to 2007.

“Consistent with our expectations, the housing market has continued its downward trend throughout our second quarter,” said Stuart Miller, president and CEO of Lennar. “Foreclosures have increased while higher unemployment and diminishing consumer confidence have defined overall economic weakness.”

Miller urged the federal government to acknowledge the need for further reform and to institute programs designed to stabilize and facilitate the recovery of the housing market.

“With the U.S. housing inventory growing in excess of absorption and limited credit availability, the prospect of further deterioration in the home-building industry will likely become reality absent federal government action,” he said.

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Craftsman collection reflects tool trends

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New York Sears is launching a new line of compact lithium-powered tools, but consumers will have to wait until the 2008 holiday season to try them out.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company unveiled the Craftsman 12V Lithium series during a special “Holidays in June” event held for both Sears and Kmart June 25 in New York. The tools — which Sears says bring professional grade qualities to the consumer — include a two-speed drill with 175 inch pounds of torque and an auto hammer with a magnetic tip that holds a nail in place. The tools will be in Sears stores in mid-October.

“There are two trends in tools right now — lithium and compact size,” said Erik Rosenstrauch, Craftsman brand director. “They started in the pro channel, and we threw up our hands and said, ‘Why not the consumer?’ These are easy to work with and easy to store.”

Eric Stromer, host of HGTV’s “Over Your Head” and a spokesman for Craftsman Tools, was also on hand to demonstrate the tools. “They fit easier in the hand, and fatigue is going to be less,” he said. “It’s about ease of use; it’s not intimidating to the DIY user.”

Other Craftsman tools introduced at the event included a digital miter gauge with LCD screen, a four-in-one ratcheting wrench set, four different sized digital levels, an AccuTrac laser measuring tool, a 10-inch deluxe table saw with Laser Trac and a five-inch VibraFree sander with Sears’ patented Vibration Reduction System.

Price was also part of the story at the product unveiling.

“Just a few years ago you couldn’t buy a laser for less than $350; we’ve brought this down to the consumer at $119,” Rosenstrauch said, referring to the AccuTrac laser measuring tool, which uses point-to-point laser technology that is described as accurate to 3/16 of an inch at 150 feet.

Also unveiled at the event was the latest line of Kenmore appliances, which include the Kenmore Elite Shaved Ice side-by-side refrigerator and Sears’ first-ever die cast pump espresso machine.

Other lines that were previewed included the following: the Elvis Holiday Collection of Christmas ornaments, the Martha Steward Everyday Holiday collection and the Ty Pennington Style Dot bedding and dinnerware collections.

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