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Williams-Sonoma nixes outsourcing agreement with IBM

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Williams-Sonoma, parent of specialty decor retailers Pottery Barn and West Elm, has canceled a five year, approximately $29 million deal with IBM to outsource its information technology operations.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company did not give an explanation as to why it canceled the agreement. The contract had 2.5 years left before it expired.

In the first quarter, Williams-Sonoma saw earnings drop 21 percent. The company also has lowered guidance for the second quarter.

Based in San Francisco, Williams-Sonoma operates 584 stores, seven mail order catalogs and six e-commerce Web sites.

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Universal Forest Products sees weaker Q2

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Universal Forest Products, maker of engineered wood and building materials, had lower sales and earnings in the second quarter, due to lower lumber prices tied to a weak housing market.

Earnings for the second quarter fell to $16.8 million from $27.3 million in last year’s second quarter, a 38.5 percent decline. Sales fell 6.5 percent, to $773.1 million from $826.8 million last year.

The company saw a 30 percent drop in revenue from its site-built construction business, while other markets saw sales growth, including retail, industrial and manufactured housing.

“We’re disappointed with any decrease in performance, but these results also underscore the strength of our balanced business model,” said president and CEO Michael Glenn.

Universal Forest Products, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., markets, manufactures and engineers wood and wood products.

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BY HBSDEALER Staff

Acacia Research Corp., a developer of computer technologies including those related to fraud protection, said it has entered into a license agreement with Lowe’s.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Acacia will provide credit card fraud protection technology through its subsidiary, Financial Systems Innovation LLC.

The agreement will provide for a computerized system for protecting consumers using credit, debit or check cards in a transaction.

Newport Beach, Calif.-based Acacia provides a variety of computer-based services, including credit card protection, database management, broadcast data retrieval and more.

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