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April 16, 2014

The new year can present an uncomfortable task for HR managers, who may find themselves having to say the following to underperforming employees: “Happy holidays; you’re doing a terrible job.”

No credible HR manager would be so blunt with a worker, but near the end of the year, when many companies typically do performance reviews, managers must know how to present good and bad news. Experts offer the following advice:

April 15, 2014

Sears Holdings has tapped Arun Arora as SVP and president, Home Services, in which role he will take charge of the business unit's In-Home Repair Services, Service Contracts, Carry-In Repair, Sears Home Improvement Services, Parts Direct, Commercial Sales and Sears Franchise Businesses.

April 15, 2014

Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. hired Eric Knox as regional sales and business development manager, covering a large swath of the United States.

April 15, 2014

The home improvement marketing industry may think it knows contractors. And opinions differ on the best ways to study their purchasing habits. 

But one thing is clear according to a presentation here at the Home Improvement Research Institute Spring Conference: contractors are a difficult group to research.

Mark Delaney, VP of Client Service for Media, Pa.-based SSRS, listed the challenges faced by researchers reaching out to contractors, who account for about 30% of sales at big box retailers.

April 15, 2014

Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed are moving to a new headquarters in Pennsylvania.

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, signed a lease for 320,000 sq. ft. of space at 20 Moores Road in Malvern, Pa.

April 15, 2014

David R. Lumley, president and CEO of Spectrum Brands Holdings, has been elected to a one-year term on the nine-member board of directors of Husqvarna, the outdoor power products supplier.

April 15, 2014

Acquisition-oriented US LBM is at it again, this time with an expansion in Wisconsin.

Following on the heels of two new Hines openings in Northern Illinois, US LBM’s Wisconsin Building Supply subsidiary announced the opening of two new locations in the Fond du Lac area.

April 14, 2014

Armstrong World Industries is kicking off construction at its Lancaster, Pa. facility, where it's spending $41 million to expand its manufacturing capacity to include luxury vinyl tile (LVT) for commercial and residential applications.

April 14, 2014

The launch of a bilingual pro-contractor magazine has Home Depot’s VP pro business seeing opportunity to reach more customers.

The magazine -- Pro Construction Guide/Constru-Guia al dia -- is described as the first fully bilingual pro-targeted magazine in the U.S. It will be available for free in about 2,000 Home Depot stores.

April 14, 2014

Pittsburgh-based Koppers Inc. agreed to acquire the Wood Preservation and Railroad Services business of Osmose Holdings for $460 million.

Revenues for the acquired businesses in 2013 were about $390 million. 

April 14, 2014

Owens Corning CEO Mike Thaman says the company is honored to receive a Green Cross.

The National Safety Council has awarded Owens Corning with the 2014 Green Cross for Safety Medal, the top honor given annually to an organization with an outstanding safety record and a proven commitment to its community.

April 11, 2014

From small business movement Independent We Stand, a new app helps consumers easily locate locally owned businesses across the country in lieu of their big-box competitors.

"This is a tool for travelers and locals alike, giving people the opportunity to find the locals' favorites or discovering a business they didn't know existed," said Bill Brunelle, executive director of Independent We Stand. "Using the app is as simple as writing 'pizza' or 'paints' and having all of those types of independent businesses in your location come up."

April 11, 2014

Wagner rolled out the Wagner SprayTech FLEXiO 890, an indoor/outdoor paint sprayer that takes some of the time and fatigue out of painting jobs.

The sprayer contains an X-Boost turbine in the base, which stays on the floor for a lighter, more portable user experience. It also provides tripe the power of traditional units, according to the company. This helps atomize paint for a smooth and even finish, regardless of the type of paint.

April 10, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- James Gillula said he expects the United States unemployment rate to fall below 6.5% by mid-year. He cautioned that a slowdown in China could impact the U.S. economy. And he expects the home improvement industry to recoup pretty much all of its weather-related losses from the hash winter.

Those were some of the macroeconomic ideas supplied by Gillula during the 2014 Home Improvement Research Institute Spring Conference held here April 10. 

April 10, 2014

The Home Depot has launched a nationwide campaign to bring water conservation savvy to the masses, especially those in drought-affected areas.

On April 26, the retailer will hold free Water Conservation Workshops at all 1,977 of its U.S. locations, where attendees can learn ten different strategies for saving water.

These projects include converting to a dual-flush toilet, switching to EPA WaterSense labeled showerheads and faucets, installing drip irrigation and rotary nozzle or dual spray sprinklers and more.

April 10, 2014

During the 2014 Spring Business Meeting, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry named immediate past president Art Donnelly of Legacy Builders & Remodelers Corp. in Mount Sinai, N.Y., as its chairman of the board.

According to the group, Donnelly will continue to focus on helping NARI provide positive experiences for its members and their customers through professional and educational opportunities.

April 10, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- Here at the 2014 Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) Spring Conference, Sarah Catlett, VP of The Futures Company, took a high-level, continental look at consumer marketing.

Catlett kicked off the HIRI conference with a quick look at Target's disappointing venture into Canada. The Minnesota-based retailer's efforts to change the way Canadians shop has fallen short, she said, partly because the company missed consumer and cultural cues. 

April 9, 2014

Representing the marketing chops of the home improvement industry, Briggs & Stratton Corporation earned high marks for its Mower Mouth social media contest at this year's Shorty Industry Awards on April 7 in New York City.

The contest earned Briggs & Stratton the spot for Best Facebook Contest, which it shared with ESPN's SportsCenter after beating a third finalist, ABC Family.

April 9, 2014

Hines Supply, a subsidiary of US LBM, has opened a full-service building supply center and design showroom in Grayslake, Ill., north of Chicago.

The location, at 939 South Route 83 in Grayslake, is celebrating its grand opening today. It will be managed by 30-year industry veteran Ed Graafsma.

April 9, 2014

San Diego-based WD-40 Company reported second-quarter net sales of $94.2 million, up 9% from the same quarter last year.

Net income, however, slipped 1% to $10.3 million. 

April 9, 2014

Denver-based Kodiak Building Partners has agreed to purchase the assets of Factory Builder Stores, a large independent specialty distributor of appliances and cabinets based in Houston.

April 9, 2014

The National Retail Federation doubled down Tuesday on one if its long-standing initiatives: getting patent troll legislation pushed through Congress.

NRF SVP David French submitted a statement to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee, which is currently investigating the trolls' use of vague demand letters to sue businesses for using what are often ubiquitous technologies.

April 9, 2014

Trex has added a new color to its Trex Transcend decking collection: a light gray called Island Mist. This, silvery shade features realistic streaking that mimics the natural look and feel of aged tropical hardwood, and is designed to be a cooler complement to the three existing tropical-inspired shades and the five earth-tone Trex Transcend colors.

April 9, 2014

Wagner SprayTech is introducing the new Smart SideKick powered roller, which feeds paint to the roller directly from the paint container (ergo, no messy paint trays).

SideKick's biggest claim to fame, however, is its ability to speed up painting jobs 

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