Throwback Thursday: Armstrong Building Materials
The September 29, 1980 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, profiled Armstong Building Materials of Los Angeles, and found a study in contrasts – “the old and the new, the traditional and the modern.”
The home center concept was evolving rapidly in California in the 1980s, and Armstrong was a 20,000 sq. ft. format that seemed to want to serve the whole gamut of customers – the builder, the DIYer and the decorator.
Owner Chuck Armstrong told NHCN that he attends hardware markets, while his daughter Kathy, an interior designer, hits the gift shows. “She brings stuff in that I swear is not going to sell, like silk flowers of papier-mache parrots. They just sell like mad.”
Spoiler alert: the company is no longer in business.
Westwood, Brentwood and Bel-Air communities were just minutes away from Armstrong’s 2.5-acre lot in Los Angeles. That meant expensive and affluent neighborhoods.
How expensive? “A two-bedroom house carries a price tag of well over $200,000,” according to the article.
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A naturally noncombustible insulation
Johns Manville launched JM CladStone Water & Fire Block Insulation, a noncombustible continuous insulation mineral wool product.
Described as a “premium mineral wool product,” insulation allows for the effective drainage of water from an exterior wall cavity system, while offering exceptional thermal efficiency, fire resistance and acoustical performance. With the launch, the company says it is providing the market a rain screen product that works with a variety of exterior cladding systems.
Made from basalt, a volcanic rock, JM CladStone Water & Fire Block is naturally noncombustible, moisture repellent, non-deteriorating, and will not mildew or support corrosion, the company claims.
“We are committed to providing our customers with an array of products to meet the needs of any project, and that’s why we’re introducing JM CladStone Water & Fire Block Insulation, a noncombustible product designed to aid in managing moisture in continuous insulation systems,” said Tommy Knappich, VP and general manager of building insulation at Johns Manville.
Knappich added that “increasingly demanding project requirements” at the job site demand this type of innovation.
JM CladStone can be installed with a variety of exterior cladding systems. It’s available in the U.S. and Canada.
Disappointing quarter for Lowe’s
It was another disappointing quarter for Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s Cos., which on Wednesday reported lower-than-expected earnings and gave notice of slower growth in profit margin for the second half.
The home-improvement company reported revenue of $19.5 billion, which was short of estimates, but reflected a 6.8% increase from the same period last year. Lowe's reported net income for the second quarter of $1.4 billion compared to $1.2 billion a year ago. A bright spot for Lowe’s second quarter was that same-store sales, which rose 4.5%, exceeded Wall Street forecasts.
“While our results were below our expectations in the first half of this year, the team remains focused on making the necessary investments to improve the customer experience and drive sales,” said Robert Niblock, CEO. These investments include consumer messaging and what Niblock called “incremental customer-facing hours” in stores.
Lowe’s, which operates 2,141 stores in North America, announced that it would add 25 home improvement and hardware stores this year.
Product categories that performed above average in the second quarter were appliances, lawn & garden, lumber & building materials, and rough plumbing & electrical. Paint, flooring, and seasonal & outdoor living were among the underperformers.
Shares of Lowe’s were down more than 6% in mid-day trading as the company missing both its top and bottom line numbers spooked investors.The news comes a week after Home Depot reported its highest quarterly revenue in company history.
To boost profits and play catch up to Depot, Lowe’s has been investing in its Pro business. It has also restructured parts of the company, including layoffs of more than 120 corporate tech workers this summer.