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Wolseley delists from New York Stock Exchange

BY HBSDEALER Staff

United Kingdom-based Wolseley, the parent of American pro dealers Stock Building Supply and Ferguson, has delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, effective Dec. 31.

The move was meant as a cost-saving measure, said Wolseley CFO Steve Webster. “This decision is entirely consistent with our objective of simplification as it reduces costs and complexity without in any way detracting from the integrity of our governance and control procedures,” he said.

The move also means Wolseley terminates its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act. The company will continue to trade shares on the London Stock Exchange. In the United States, Wolseley’s shares will continue to be traded on the over-the-counter market.

Wolseley said in late November it would eliminate 1,300 more positions at Stock Building Supply and plumbing supply company Ferguson, following a round of 1,500 layoffs in the prior fiscal quarter.

Wolseley also made a 3,500 headcount reduction over the last year in its United States’ operations. Wolseley’s U.S. results have been affected by the decline in the U.S. housing market, as well as falling consumer confidence and a weakening U.S. dollar, the company said.

Still, the company said it will remain firmly planted in the U.S. market.

“Our business strategy remains the same, and North America is, and will continue to be, a key market for Wolseley; it currently accounts for approximately 50 percent of group revenue,” the company said.

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New home sales plunge in November

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New home sales fell 9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000 — the lowest annual rate in 12 years — according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Economists had forecast November sales at an annual rate of 715,000, which would have represented a 1.8 percent drop. The actual rate of 647,000 was the lowest since 621,000, recorded in April 1995.

Year over year, new home sales were 34.4 percent lower than in November 2006, representing the largest year-to-year decline since January 1991.

New home sales in the Midwest region were particularly weak, falling 27.6 percent to the slowest pace since July 1991. Sales also decreased in the South (6.4 percent) and Northeast (19.3 percent), but rose in the West (4 percent).

In addition, the median price for a new home decreased by 0.4 percent to $239,100. The ratio of new houses for sale to houses sold rose during November to 9.3, from 8.8 in October.

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Lampert Yards receives FSC certification

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lampert Yards, the St. Paul, Minn.-based chain of lumberyards, has earned the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification through the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program. The 34-unit pro dealer, with locations in five upper Midwest states, received its certification at the end of August but made the announcement on Dec. 20.

Jon Wigen, the company’s lumber buyer, told HCN that the certification process took approximately 90 days for all of Lampert’s locations. The effort was well worth it, Wigen said.

“I’m amazed at the number of sales we’ve gotten since we got our certification number,” he said. Lampert’s salespeople can now bid on commercial projects seeking a LEED designation, and knowledge of green building materials is a selling point with many customers.

“It’s been a great calling card for us, [especially] with new builders we haven’t done business with before,” Wigen said.

Lampert Yards currently has FSC-certified wood products in stock at four locations, with the ability to transfer the materials to any of its lumberyards.

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