Whirlpool earnings down 27 percent
Appliances giant Whirlpool saw earnings fall in the second quarter to $117 million, down 27 percent compared with $161 million in earnings in the year-ago period.
Sales increased 5 percent to $5.1 billion from $4.9 billion last year.
“Whirlpool made solid progress toward improving operating results from first-quarter levels despite an increasingly challenging economic environment,” said Jeff Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool. “The cost inflation facing our business is significant, and we continue to take steps to address this challenge.”
Predictably, petroleum costs and lower consumer demand factored into the lower earnings for the manufacturer. Unit shipments declined 8 percent in North America, the company said. Still, those challenges were partially offset by better results in Whirlpool’s Latin America business.
Sales in the company’s European unit also increased, up 17 percent compared with last year. In Asia, sales rose 9 percent.
To further offset the difficult market in North America and higher shipping costs, Fettig said the company is going forward with “cost-based price increases” and some cost reduction initiatives.
“These actions, coupled with other productivity initiatives … are critical to our ability to offset the record commodity and oil-related costs and lower industry demand,” he said.
Lowe’s names new Canadian store sites
Lowe’s has announced three new stores to be opened in Canada in the fourth quarter of 2008, part of a larger expansion effort into that country.
The retailer will open three stores in Belleville, Whitby and South Windsor, Ontario. All three cities are located at varying distances east of Toronto and all border Lake Ontario.
The retailer entered Canada at the tail end of 2007, with three locations in South Brampton, Brantford and Hamilton, Ontario. Four additional locations were opened in North Brampton, East Gwillimbury, Maple and Toronto, Ontario.
The stores, all around 117,000 square feet, include garden centers and represent an investment of approximately $18.5 million, according to the company.
Don Stallings, president of Lowe’s Canada, told Home Channel News at the grand opening of the company’s South Brampton store, that Lowe’s took a “methodical” approach to entering Canada.
“It’s a Canadian business basically,” he told HCN. “I’ve had many people ask me ‘Isn’t this basically just the United States operation dropped up North?’ And that’s not the case. It’s a Canadian business that’s being staffed by Canadians, being managed at the local level at the stores by all Canadians.”
Stallings said that the company doesn’t want to be seen as a U.S. big-box chain that sets up the same stores with the same models as its U.S. locations. To combat that perception, the company took more than two years researching the Canadian market, hiring Canadian merchants and buying Canadian products. He added the company wanted to offer the Canadian consumer a unique shopping experience, with wide aisles and well-lit stores.
Inside the stores, a new feature is a “help button” in almost every aisle designed to bring an associate within 60 seconds. The store also boasts a three-in-line policy for checkouts. “If our lines have more than three customers, we’ll open up another so you don’t have to wait,” according to one Lowe’s Canada commercial.
Lowe’s faces stiff competition in the country — Home Depot has a large presence in Canada, alongside Canadian DIY retailer RONA. Sears Canada and Canadian Tire also bring multichannel capabilities and more competition.
Tri-State Forest Products opens new DC
Tri-State Forest Products, the Springfield, Ohio-based wholesale distributor, has opened a new distribution center in Toledo, Ohio. This is the company’s third distribution center in the region.
The new location occupies the former Toledo Forest Products facility — former employees at that facility have accepted new positions with Tri-State. Tri-State recently purchased a large portion of the assets of Toledo Forest Products, which is based in Perrysburg, Ohio, for an undisclosed sum.
The new DC aims to serve customers in northern Indiana and Ohio, as well as to establish a greater presence in Michigan, according to a statement from the company.
Tri-State Forest Products distributes engineered wood, roofing, vinyl siding, decking, flooring and a number of other building materials. The company currently has locations in Toledo, Ohio; Perrysburg, Ohio; and Indianapolis.