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Tractor Supply earnings up 7.5 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Brentwood, Tenn.-based Tractor Supply saw second-quarter net earnings rise 7.5 percent to $47.02 million from $43.76 million last year. Net sales were up 13.6 percent to $898.3 million from $790.9 million in the year-ago period.

The farm and ranch chain recorded a same-store sales increase of 3.4 percent. Same-store sales growth was driven by the company’s core consumable categories, including animal and pet- related products, according to a statement from the retailer.

“Despite unfavorable impacts from broader consumer trends and rising fuel costs, our customers continue to depend on Tractor Supply,” said Jim Wright, chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. “In addition, we are pleased with our ability to manage inventory levels efficiently while improving our in-stock position on key items.”

Tractor Supply opened 23 new stores in the quarter. That compares with 20 new store openings and one store closure after the company sold its single Del’s location in Canada in last year’s second quarter.

For the full year, the company expects same-store sales to be from flat to up 2 percent. In all, Tractor Supply will open 88 to 93 stores in the full year.

With sales of around $2.7 billion, Tractor Supply was ranked 11 on HCN’s Top 500 Retail Scoreboard.

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NAHB executive to deliver keynote speech

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Jerry Howard, executive vp and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), will deliver the builder keynote address on Oct. 3 at the 2008 ProDealer Industry Summit. The three-day event, scheduled from Oct. 1 to 3 in Chantilly, Va., is a joint conference of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and Home Channel News.

Howard has led the NAHB’s lobbying efforts to pressure federal lawmakers to pass a first-time home buyer tax credit and other housing stimulus legislation. A former chief lobbyist for the National Council of State Housing Agencies, Howard has testified before Congress numerous times on a wide range of issues.

Another Washington insider, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, will kick off the conference at the Westfields Marriott. Ivy Zelman, one of the building industry’s most widely recognized analysts, will deliver her industry outlook.

Other educational sessions will include strategies for running a tight credit operation, preparing for the next wave of Energy Star requirements and how the downturn has changed builders’ attitudes toward their suppliers.

Agolf tournament benefitting the City of Hope will round out the social networking events and tabletop exhibits. For more information about the conference, visit  www.prodealer.com.

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New home sales down slightly in June

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sales of newly built single-family homes dipped 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 units in June from an upwardly revised pace the previous month, the Commerce Department reported July 25.

According to NAHB president Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va., the weak sales numbers further demonstrate the need for the housing and economic stimulus bill, which is nearing final passage in the U.S. Senate.

“Once signed by the President, this legislation will boost confidence in the housing finance system, bring some stability to the overall market and stimulate sales as first-time buyers start taking advantage of a tax credit of up to $7,500,” Dunn said.

NAHB chief economist David Seiders said that on the positive side, the report shows that builders are making some progress on reducing the inventory of unsold units. According to the report, the inventory of new homes for sale eased down 5.3 percent in June to 426,000 units. This represented a 10-month supply at the current sales pace, compared to a 10.4-month supply in May.

Regionally, sales activity was mixed in June, with the Northeast and Midwest posting respective gains of 5.3 percent and 2.5 percent, and the South and West posting respective declines of 2 percent and 0.9 percent. All regions registered declines in the number of new homes for sale.

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