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Tough first quarter for Universal Forest Products

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Universal Forest Products reported sales of $489.5 million for its first quarter of 2008, down from $549 million during the same quarter of 2007. The company lost $4.6 million in the quarter, which ended on March 29, compared to net earnings of $3.9 million in the same period last year.

The results reflected declines in housing starts, consumer spending and lumber prices, the company said in a prepared statement.

Site-built construction sales decreased 21.3 percent from 2007, and revenues gained from the retail channel slid by 11.7 percent year over year. The one bright spot — sales of industrial packaging such as crates — increased 5.1 percent. Universal said it expects to gain additional market share in the industrial business. The company also anticipates growth in its concrete forming business, it said.

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., Universal Forest Products makes trusses, joists and other engineered wood products, composite decking, pressure treated lumber and other products at approximately 100 locations throughout North America.

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The NKBA names new head

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Kitchen & Bath Association has announced Don Sciolaro has been named CEO of the trade organization.

Sciolaro joined the NKBA in 2006 as director of member services, where his initiatives included increasing membership and strengthening the NKBA’s local chapter programs. He oversaw the recruiting, retention and recognition of NKBA members worldwide.

Prior to his service at the NKBA, Sciolaro spent 15 years with the National Association of Manufacturers, most recently as senior regional manager for the group’s New York/New Jersey region. He was responsible for membership and organizing grassroots public affairs efforts.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association is a non-profit trade association that owns the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference and includes more than 41,000 members.

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Sears eliminates 100 HQ jobs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears Holdings has announced it will eliminate 100 jobs at its headquarters, a move sparked by lagging sales combined with a corporate restructuring plan at the parent of Sears and Kmart stores.

According to the Chicago Tribune, jobs affected by cuts came from several different departments, including operations, logistics and store support.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company has been struggling of late, with fourth-quarter earnings down 47.5 percent year-over-year and sales down 6.8 percent. To spur sales, the company launched a new ad campaign last month called “ReImagine You,” which is slated to run through May.

In February, the company cut 200 jobs, and some key home channel executives departed the company, including Tina Settecase, vp-Kenmore appliances, and Greg Inwood, vp-Craftsman tools, hardware and paint.

In March, the company appointed some new key executives, including Douglas Moore to the position of senior vp and president-appliances and John Froman as head of the retailer’s tools and lawn and garden divisions.

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