British parent to 'dispose of' Stock Building Supply by Aug. 1

Posted March 6, 2009

— United Kingdom-based Wolseley Group will sell its Raleigh-based Stock Building Supply subsidiary, the chief executive officer of the firm said Friday in London.

“This time, we have made a decision,” CEO Chip Hornsby told The Times of London.

“We will exit the business. It will not just be a review,” he added. “Despite an aggressive cost-reduction program, the business is still loss-making. Housing starts fell below 500,000 in January, on an annualized basis, and are unlikely to get above 1 million in the next three years.”

In a statement, Stock said Wolseley would “pursue a sale or joint venture, or to dispose of or otherwise exit Stock Building Supply, by Aug. 1.”

The decision to sell Stock is part of a recapitalization plan by Wolseley.

Stock is already seeking a buyer, according to Denise Waters, manager of corporate communications.

“A number of third parties have recently expressed an interest in the possibility of acquiring all or part of the Stock business,” she told “It is Wolseley’s preference to structure a deal that enables associates and shareholders to benefit in the long-term potential of the business, such as a joint venture. The decline in housing starts, coupled with a continued decline in lumber prices have expedited Wolseley’s decision to pursue a sale or joint venture, or to otherwise exit Stock. ..."

Stock employs some 1,400 people in North Carolina, including 930 in the Triangle, according to Waters. The company has been cutting jobs and closing operations in recent months as the U.S. economy slowed and the housing market crashed.

In Raleigh, Stock President Joe Appelmann said his management group would seek “potential partners.”

“We are working very closely with Wolseley to identify potential partners that can help Stock Building Supply grow when the market recovers,” Appelmann said in a statement. “Our business model has fundamental differences from the remainder of Wolseley’s portfolio, and in these economic times, it makes sense to explore other options.”


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • whatelseisnew Mar 6, 2009

    tturedraid - human capital is expense; when you are losing money you cut your losses and move on.

  • twouptwodown Mar 6, 2009

    URKiddingMe is correct, stock did not build what they have in the trianle with walk in customers, rushbot, thanks for your reason of their demise, but i am sure anyone has story of bad service at one time or another. Its not the reason for Wolseley selling them. Think before you post

  • Fillet and Release Mar 6, 2009

    Stock didn't exist here 8 years ago brotha...the Stocks in this area were Carolina Builders.

    But Worsley has owned Them since Cliff Benson sold out in 1990 I believe.

    CB / Stock - has always been MANAGEMENT HEAVY with large Corp. Taxes on each store. Carolina Holdings Corp. and Worsley sucked them dry.

    Dozer is also right - in this area Stock has had it handed to them by smaller players and LACK OF GOOD MANAGEMENT.

  • Hilikus Mar 6, 2009

    Stock didn't exist here 8 years ago brotha...the Stocks in this area were Carolina Builders

  • MamaDummy Mar 6, 2009

    And another one bites the is still my personal opinion that if so many people had not tried to live beyond their means, the economy would not be in the shape it is in. People got greedy and the rest of us are paying for it.

  • BULLDOZER Mar 6, 2009

    As a builder for the last 15 years, I stopped doing business with Stock almost 8 years ago, because of poor service and a lack of caring. Smaller players have moved into the market and eaten their lunch. I am sorry that some good people are losing their jobs, but the company was poorly run and now its time has come.

  • FIGSSIT Mar 6, 2009

    Stock: "Obabma sir, can we get some bailout monies"
    Obama: "Nope"
    Stock: "We's outta here!!!!"

  • tturedraid Mar 6, 2009

    Dispose of...hmmmm...forget about the human capital. Speak of them like they're refuse and easily tossed. Many friends within the walls of Stock Building Supply and Ferguson. There are some great people remaining and many great people have already been "disposed" of.

    Highly recommend the book Dropping Almonds by Bach Anon to see the inside of a lumber organization from the top-down. The industry, right now, is on its head with the hangover from overpaid acquisitions and blue sky in a low margin distribution business.

    The Independents will emerge, once again, as a dominant player in many markets. Homeowners and home builders are likely tired of playing the bigger-is-better game. Look what happens when the nationals and big lumber companies can't afford to do business anymore. The independents and smaller builders will laugh all the way to the bank, once the economy reemerges.

  • time4real Mar 6, 2009

    there's always fire and insurance claims!

  • URKiddingMe Mar 6, 2009

    STOCK building is a business-to-business company geared towards builders and not consumers. Even if they do sell to non-builder customers, they are only open M-F 7am - 4pm and closed on weekends. If you are not a builder purchasing supplies in bulk, they are not interested in helping you. That's not a dig on the employees - that's just their business model.

    When the builders stop building, then you don't have anymore customers. And you if you are not going to change your business model to survive in the short term, then you don't survive. It's not rocket science.