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Valspar sales, earnings up in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Valspar, the paint and coatings maker with an exclusive line of products in Lowe’s stores, saw net income grow to $58.2 million, up 10.6 percent from $52.6 million in the same period last year.

Sales grew 12.1 percent to $893.5 million from $797.4 million last year.

“This was a solid quarter for Valspar with broad-based contributions from across our product lines,” said William Mansfield, Valspar president and CEO. “Results were driven by strong sales growth from acquisitions, improved operational efficiency, good performance from our architectural team in a challenging market and improvement in our wood business.”

Mansfield said that in the third quarter the company did begin to see weakness in the housing sector spill over into related coatings markets. But he added a long-term, global growth strategy should continue to drive sales growth.

Minneapolis-based Valspar’s brands include Laura Ashley Home Colour Collection, Plasti-Kote coatings, Goof Off and Cabot Stains.

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Lowe’s lays off 205 at Florida distribution center

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s has laid off 205 workers at an Osceola County, Fla., distribution center, according to an article in the Orlando Sentinel.

The job cuts account for about 20 percent of the total work force at the distribution center, which saw growth during the housing boom in Florida and increased demand for building materials because of hurricanes in the region. A spokesperson for Lowe’s told the newspaper the company sought other solutions outside a reduction in force and noted that the distribution center now employs about 700 people.

The distribution center supplies 96 retail stores in Florida and southern Georgia. At the company’s last earnings call, Lowe’s noted difficult year-over-year comparisons with hurricane-affected regions of the Gulf Coast and some Florida markets. Gulf Coast areas most impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita reported negative 23 percent comparable-store sales.

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Comparable-store sales fall at Sears

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears Holdings announced today that domestic comparable-store sale for its second quarter fell 4.3 percent at Sears stores and 3.8 percent at the company’s Kmart stores. The company will release its official second-quarter results by Aug. 30.

Sears said it anticipates second-quarter net income of between $170 million and $185 million. Last month, the company forecast net income in the range of $160 million to $200 million. The company reported net income of $294 million in last year’s second quarter.

Since that earlier forecast, “the company has experienced higher markdowns, most notably within seasonal apparel categories,” according to a press release from Sears.

Sales fell “across most categories,” the company said, with some increases in consumer electronics, women’s apparel and footwear. The company saw a second-quarter pre-tax gain of $15 million from items including bankruptcy-related settlements and insurance recoveries on claims filed for property damaged by hurricanes during fiscal 2005.

Sears Holdings’ CEO Aylwin Lewis said while the company recognized the slowdown in the housing market contributed to declining sales, “we are disappointed with our second-quarter results.”

“We will work hard to improve our financial performance going forward,” Lewis said.

The company also said its board of directors approved a plan to buy back up to $1.5 billion of stock.

Sears is the fourth largest home channel retailer in the United States, according to HCN’s Top 500 list of home channel retailers, with 2006 home improvement sales of $10.7 billion.

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