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Wolseley to Exit Stock Building Supply

Distributor prefers joint venture, but will close U.S. unit if necessary

March 10, 2009
Wolseley examines options for its beleaguered U.S. building materials business unit, which despite dramatic cost reductions continues to be a significant drag on the group's overall performance.
UK-based distributor Wolseley plc is once again looking to exit its U.S.-based Stock Building Supply operations, this time by Aug. 1, 2009. Even after extensive cost-cutting measures last fall that included reducing headcount by an additional 3,000 and closing 86 branches, the business lost $246 million last year.
Stock Building Supply is heavily reliant on housing starts in the U.S., which declined from around 750,000 in Oct. 2008 to about 460,000 in January.
Enough is enough, John Whybrow, chairman of the board, says in a Webcast ...

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