LUMBERYARDS

W.T. Harvey acquired by CNRG

BY Ken Clark

Natchez, Miss.-based Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) has acquired W.T. Harvey Lumber of Columbus, Ga.

Harvey currently operates two stores — one in Columbus and one in Phenix City, Ala.

The company was established in 1863 and is one of the oldest lumberyards in the country. W.T. Harvey will continue to be managed by the founder’s great-great grandson, Bailey Gross, who has been hired by CNRG.

“We are excited about the addition of the W.T. Harvey to our company,” said Jimmy Smith, chairman of CNRG. “W.T. Harvey is a great fit with our strategy at CNRG.”

CNRG president Boyden Moore described W.T. Harvey as a good company that hit hard times. "Bailey and his team have built great relationships with their customers over the years," Moore said. "We are excited to invest in this opportunity and help improve their ability to take care of their customers’ needs. This will be a great example of the synergy that CNRG was designed to create.” 

CNRG currently operates 41 home center and hardware stores in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia under the Home Hardware Center, Morrison Terrebonne Lumber Center, NFL Home Center, Elliott’s Hardware, Town & Country Hardware, Habersham Hardware and Home Center, and W.T. Harvey Lumber brands. CNRG was formed on May 1, 2011, by Smith, president of Home Hardware and Moore, president of Tyndale Advisors. The company says it is "building a multi-format, multi-brand operating company through strategic partnerships and acquisitions."

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BlueLinx reports narrowed loss for full year

BY Ken Clark

BlueLinx Holdings, the Atlanta-based distributor of building products, reported a loss of $23.0 million for the full year ended Dec. 29. That compares with a loss of $38.6 million in the prior year.

Sales for the year increased 8.7% to $1.91 billion.

"As we move forward in 2013, we are confident in our ability to both increase our penetration of a growing market and maintain the operating discipline that we demonstrated over the last several years," said George Judd, president and CEO.

"Our outlook in 2013 is based on expectations of a significant increase in revenue from 2012." 

In the fourth quarter, the distributor posted a 12.6% sales gain to $440.3 million. However, the company’s fourth-quarter loss increased to 11.4 million, compared with $10.3 million in the same quarter last year. 

Judd also pointed to "the highest gross profit margins on record as we focused on opportunities for profitable growth."

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Universal Forest Products reports double-digit gains

BY Ken Clark

Looking to grow through new customers and new products, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Universal Forest Products posted double-digit sales growth for the fourth quarter and the full year. 

Sales for the quarter increased 11.5% to $470.8 million. However, UFP’s loss widened in the quarter to $1.9 million, compared with a loss of $1.7 million in the same quarter last year. 

“The first six months gave us a great start, but the back half of the year was more difficult," said CEO Matthew Missad. "Our concerns that strong unit sales in the first and second quarters would pull sales and profit from later in the year proved to be valid. I’m proud of our team and our efforts and believe we have much to be encouraged by, but there’s also much room for improvement in 2013.” 

For the full year, UFP posted sales of $2.1 billion, up 12.8%. Net income for 2012 increased from $4.5 million to $23.9 million. 

At the top of the company’s list of objectives are improving operating margins and growing top-line sales via new customers and new products. The company currently expects to add sales in each of its markets, and continues to pursue acquisitions and to integrate those it added to its family of companies in 2012.

Missad also looked into the future of housing starts "We currently believe housing starts and completions will reach 1.5 million annually by 2017 and will drive broader economic expansion."

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