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Poll Question: Holiday Sales Preview

BY HBSDealer Staff

Let the holiday sales begin. The warehouse home improvement stores have already made room for Christmas trees and holiday lawn ornaments. Lowe’s has even advanced Black Friday-like sales into the first of November. Of course, independents are getting in on the festivities, too.

For mass retailers, the name “Black Friday” is derived from the kind of sales that push the business into the black. Spring is the biggest selling season for home improvement, but home centers and hardware stores have shown increased sophistication when it comes to seasonal merchandising — especially Christmas season.

This week’s HBSDealer poll question asks: Compared to recent years, how would you describe your emphasis on Christmas and holiday sales this season?

The poll question is active on the right side of this page (or scroll down your mobile device). We invite your extended comments on holiday sales strategy and timing. Share with us here.

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Installed Building Products acquires Advanced Fiber Technology

AFT manufactures cellulose, asphalt, and industrial fibers used for insulation.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Installed Building Products, Inc. has acquired Advanced Fiber Technology (AFT).

Founded in 1988 and located in Bucyrus, Ohio, AFT manufactures cellulose, asphalt, and industrial fibers. The company has annual revenues of approximately $18 million and sells its products to distributors and installers predominately in the Midwest and Northeastern U.S.

“AFT provides us with an opportunity to vertically integrate our cellulose insulation supply in certain markets which we believe will have an immediate and favorable impact on our business and financial results,” said Jeff Edwards, chairman and CEO of Installed Building Products.

Edwards noted that cellulose is an attractive alternative to fiberglass in a variety of insulation applications.

Doug Leuthold, founder of AFT, will remain with the company and help IBP run the facility and grow its cellulose supply chain.

This year, Installed Building Products has closed 10 acquisitions representing about $76 million of acquired revenues.

“Acquisitions remain a key component of our growth plan and we continue to have a robust pipeline of acquisition opportunities across multiple geographies, products and end markets,” Edwards said.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Installed Building Products specializes in installed insulation for residential new construction. The company also offers installed complementary building products, including waterproofing, fire-stopping and fireproofing, garage doors, rain gutters, shower doors, closet shelving and mirrors.

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RISI Crow’s Market Recap

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Crow’s Market Recap: A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.

Lumber: SPF sales continued at discounted levels early before buying picked up considerably at midweek. Producers reported strong sales both Wednesday and Thursday. Several reasons were given for the increase in demand, including the fact that buyers had not participated much in many weeks and needed to replenish. Southern Pine lumber pricing was more mixed than in prior weeks. However, discounts were deeper than any amount of gains. More traders noted the market began to make a slow turn a few weeks ago when 2×6 firmed. Since then, 2×8 prices steadied, with higher levels reported this week. Coastal species discounting continued to dissipate, with discounts often no more than $5-10. After firming up a few weeks ago, green Doug Fir pricing again moved lower. Dry prices were steadier, often holding after a few lower reported prices early. Inland lumber producers happily reported a renaissance among lumber buyers, resulting in “very active” business on Wednesday and Thursday. Sales activity in stud markets picked up steam, enabling producers to firm prices. Early discounts dissipated as mills sold off more volumes. Buyers purchased multiple carload volumes in various instances. Ponderosa Pine Mldg&Btr still showed a “fragile balance,” according to one regular user, with prices not subject to change. Upper grades of Shop have also shown stability, but #3 Shop was readily available for those who wanted it. Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons showed little change, because dimension lumber was the focus among buyers. Selects continued along the seldom-changing course they have shown for much of the year. Commons drew some attention, with “#2&Btr clearly the best” of the three grade categories. Western Red Cedar sales remained dull. Buyers approached the market with modest to moderate needs. Northern tier markets, while continuing to sell at a seasonally moderate pace, expect activity to slow as the year winds down.

A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 2, 2018.

Western: regional species perimeter foundation
Southern: regional species slab construction

Panels: OSB activity picked up in most regions this week as buyers stepped in, sensing investment levels were reached. Enthusiasm was limited by the time of year, however. Southern US regions were the exception, where activity remained quiet. Discounting was done early in the week, with enough business done to move lead times out two to three weeks in the West. Sales activity in the Southern Pine plywood market improved. Low pricing and a need to fill-in inventories or replenish more aggressively brought a wide array of buyers into the market. Early discounts and increased buyer participation cleaned up mill excesses and significant volumes available for prompt shipment. Sales activity in the Western Fir plywood market improved marginally. Buyers’ approach to the market changed little from prior weeks, but volumes sold increased. Fill-in volumes remained at the forefront in the West, as buyers continued to purchase mixed truckloads. Canadian plywood markets strengthened again this week, as buyers moved in to get ahead of thin inventory positions while mills moved order files out. Two producers have little or no wood left for the year, while another two grappled with machine breakdowns. Producers of particleboard and MDF continued to sell at a rate that left order files at a comfortable length, extending into late November in many cases. Prices of the both MDF and particleboard held.

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