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Shaw acquires Stuart Flooring, adds to wood portfolio

DALTON—Add Stuart Flooring to Shaw Industries’ wood portfolio as it announced the purchase of “substantially all” of the assets of the hardwood strip Stuart Flooring manufacturing facilitymanufacturing facility located in Stuart, Va. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Stuart manufactures unfinished solid wood flooring and unfinished parquet flooring for residential applications. In addition to retailers and distributors, its customers include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The purchase includes Stuart’s production, maintenance, boiler, drying and transportation facilities, which total nearly 200,000 square feet, as well as its approximately 140 employees, including general manager Doug McDaniel, who has been heading the operation since 2004. Continue reading Shaw acquires Stuart Flooring, adds to wood portfolio

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National Wood Flooring Association: Initiatives range from environmental to A&D

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD.—Things are looking up for the hardwood flooring industry. So said Ed Korczak, CEO and executive director, National Wood Flooring Association Ed Korzcak of NWFA(NWFA), at the group’s annual convention here two weeks ago.

After a year in which the industry was down about 23% in dollars, Korczak said the association is seeing a 6% to 7% uptick in the first quarter of 2010 over the same year-ago period. “We attribute that to two things,” he said. “First, the consumer has a little more confidence due in part to unemployment remaining flat. Second is the result of pent-up demand.” Continue reading National Wood Flooring Association: Initiatives range from environmental to A&D

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Customization and visual quality define high-end hardwood

Hardwood has long had a reputation for being higher-end, almost a symbol of status for the home. It raises the value of a home, and adds beauty and warmth. But when the economy crashed, so did hardwood prices. In order to capture margin sales, companies slashed prices so low that hardwood became accessible for nearly all types of buyers.

However, a distinction still remains in higher end wood floors. Customization and visual options, sourcing and product quality all remain distinguishing factors in creating the Columbia Hardwoodupper echelon. Add that wood’s unique characteristics are imbued by Mother Nature—over which no one has any control—and that creates a floor that is even more special.

Continue reading Customization and visual quality define high-end hardwood

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State of the hardwood industry: Category sees light at the end of the tunnel

While manufacturers weren’t exactly eager to strip their poker faces, major hardwood players recently gave FCNews an exclusive perspective of the game. As if an economic recession wasn’t challenging enough, issues like recent legislation, a rise in material costs and the consumer’s visual market demands keep mills in a state of constant adaptation.

Though the flooring industry was hit hard with the collapse of the home remodeling and new construction markets, companies have started digging themselves out of the hole and reported profits for the early part of the year. Suppliers have even managed to shine in areas like consumer transparency, making the most out of legislation that regulates supply. Sticking it out in the seemingly limitless economic game is laying the groundwork for bullets in the hole. Continue reading State of the hardwood industry: Category sees light at the end of the tunnel

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*Web exclusive* State of the hardwood industry

Category’s future remains steady

Cautious optimism is the buzz phrase here. With economists and officials telling everyone the worst of the recession is over, no one wants to jinx the good-but-not-great news.

“We believe there will be continued improvement in 2010 driven by increases in the residential replacement market,” Buchanan said. “Our estimate is the wood market will be flat to slightly ahead of 2009.” Continue reading *Web exclusive* State of the hardwood industry

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Raw materials issues raise hardwood floor prices

Hardwood prices are on the rise, and it’s a simple matter of basic economics—supply and demand—as it relates to raw materials.

Essentially, hardwood lumber prices have been increasing dramatically since August. While this was somewhat expected coming out of a recession, it is the extent of these price hikes that have manufacturers reeling. Some say prices are up as much as 50% since last winter.

“We have seen this hap- pen in the past as the economy comes out of a recession, particularly in the mid 1990s and early 2000s,” said Daniel Call, vice president, wood product management, Armstrong. “In the 2000s, there was a 40% run-up in hardwood lumber prices over an 18-month period, and in the mid-1990s they went up about 50% over the same period.” The issue, he said, is that this time around the rate of increase is much more steep. “In the last six months, the average is already up about 25%. It’s much faster than past recessions and it’s not done climbing.”

Continue reading Raw materials issues raise hardwood floor prices