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Northwestern Lumber Association releases survey results

A recent survey of lumberyard owners in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota offered no surprises when it came to declining revenues. The majority of dealers -- 51 percent -- reported that their 2007 revenues were lower than 2006, although larger dealers were more likely to report decreases than smaller dealers.

But the 2008 Lumber Industry Survey, conducted by the Northwestern Lumber Association in conjunction with QuestGrowth Partners, did find some surprises. Only 7 percent of the dealers surveyed reported doing any merchandising of green building products last year, and the typical dealer reported that green building materials account for approximately 5 percent of his or her current inventory. Three in four dealers, or 75 percent, had no plans to do green product merchandising in 2008.

In the area of commercial sales, 77 percent of the dealers surveyed reported doing business with commercial contractors, although it only contributed 10 percent of their 2007 sales. Slightly less (72 percent) anticipate selling to commercial customers in 2008.

For the second year in a row, the survey found that lumberyards reporting sales increases are more likely to offer installed sales programs than those who report decreases. In 2008, one-third (32 percent) of the dealers offering installed sales reported revenue increases from 2007 compared with only one-fourth (26 percent) of dealers not offering installed services.

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