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Wal-Mart surpasses CFL goal

BY HBSDEALER Staff

This week, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores surpassed its goal of selling 100 million compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs by the end of 2007.

“We are grateful that our customers and members have seen the economic and environmental benefits of CFLs,” said Andy Barron, Wal-Mart’s senior vp-hardlines. “With their support, we can continue to have a positive impact on the environment with energy-saving bulbs and other affordable, eco-friendly products.”

The company said the five states with the highest sales of CFLs were Texas, Florida, California, Illinois and Ohio.

The world’s largest retailer recently introduced CFLs under the house brand Great Value, and the company has participated in a variety of promotions to help spur consumer interest in the eco-friendly bulbs.

Some efforts on CFL bulbs have taken place behind the scenes — Wal-Mart has worked with manufacturers to lower the mercury content of bulbs sold in its stores. Consumer-oriented promotions have included making more eye-level shelf space for CFLs, installing interactive displays to allow a comparison of different kinds of bulbs and offering energy savings calculators on walmart.com and samsclub.com.

“We love the CFL and see the power this product has to unite consumers in the struggle against climate change,” said Andy Ruben, Wal-Mart’s vp-strategy and sustainability.

Wal-Mart is participating in several sustainability initiatives, including plans to track energy used by suppliers of certain popular products. The company also recently announced plans to sell only concentrated liquid laundry detergents with the goal of further cutting down on waste and plastic production.

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CORRECTED In depth: A sharper focus for BMHC

BY HBSDEALER Staff

[Corrects the first paragraph purchase price] BMC West has pulled out of the western Colorado market, selling its distribution yards in Aspen, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs to a local dealer with two locations. Harbert Lumber, headquartered in Grand Junction,purchased the three locations through its affiliate, West Canyon Investments. The transaction includes a lease in Aspen and real estate assets in Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs. The sales price for the three units was $11.4 million.

Robert Mellor, BMHC’s chairman, president and CEO, explained that the company is shifting away from retail-oriented operations in favor of value-added products and services, including manufacturing and the installation of millwork and structural components.

“We remain focused on ensuring our operating facilities are optimally located and provide the right range of professionally oriented products and services to drive growth and operating efficiencies,” Mellor said. “In a number of instances, this has entailed a shift away from more retail-oriented operations like those located in Aspen and Steamboat Springs. Strategically, this transaction will allow us to concentrate our efforts and resources on expanding in markets that align with our long-term growth plans.”

Earlier this year, BMHC combined some of its facilities and delivery functions in the Denver metro area. Company CFO Bill Smartt told analysts on July 26 to expect even more consolidation.

“We will take advantage of every opportunity we have to consolidate facilities at BMC West,” Smartt said during a conference call.

Ironically, BMC West was the company’s star performer during its second fiscal quarter, gaining market share and protecting its margins despite declines in building permits and lumber prices. BMHC credited the division’s customer base of local and regional builders and remodelers. BMC West tends to serve smaller markets and is not as dependent on production builders as SelectBuild, BMHC’s construction services division.

The Western Slope region of Colorado is dominated by custom builders, particularly Aspen and Steamboat Springs, where the cost of a home easily runs into seven figures. Remodeling jobs also tend to be high end, given the wealthy demographics.

Pro-Build’s Home Lumber serves the area, as does Alpine Lumber, a 15-unit chain that had $189 million in sales last year. BMHC chose to sell its three yards, which generated $40 million in sales in 2006, to Harbert Lumber, a family-owned operation with a lumberyard in Grand Junction and a smaller location in Edwards, Colo. The third generation owners did $16.5 million in sales in 2006, according to Chain Store Guide, a sister publication to Home Channel News. The company also operates a truss plant, an installation division and a door shop.

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Weyerhaeuser to partially shut two mills

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser said it will close parts of two mills in Louisiana and Georgia. Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser said it will close parts of two mills in Louisiana and Georgia.

The company will convert its plywood operation in Dodson, La., to a veneer manufacturing operation effective Oct. 26, and will stop veneer production at its Colbert, Ga., mill within the next 30 days. The Colbert site will continue to be used for beam construction, the company said.

“There’s a shrinking demand for plywood and an increasing availability of alternative products,” said Cathy Slater, vp-veneer technologies. “We made the decision after a thorough review of short-term and long-term demand for our plywood panels and to further integrate dry veneer into our engineered lumber products.”

Weyerhaeuser will release its third-quarter earnings statement on Oct. 31.

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