Residential flooring sales were brisk in the U.S., and prices for most unfinished strip flooring items edged up again last week. Several flooring plants in the South and Appalachian Area 1—facing heavy competition from one another as well as from truck trailer flooring plants—raised green lumber purchase prices. Interestingly, one strip flooring manufacturer temporarily shut down because its margins became too thin; “We plan to sell flooring at a profit and not a loss.” Lumber purchasing by truck trailer flooring plants was quite good. The buyer for one major truck trailer flooring producer commented, “Sales are very good; production capacity is the only limiting factor.”

Recent reports from millwork manufacturers have generally been positive, but comments took on a different tone last week. “We’re struggling to find millwork orders,” said one producer. Wood component manufacturers reported highly competitive business. With the cabinet sector smaller and more crowded than in peak years, a number of component producers are going after new business in the store fixture and hospitality business.

Domestic markets for North American hardwood lumber producers were only fair last week. Green lumber was easier to move than KD, due in part to concerns about potential green lumber shortages in the fall/winter. We asked several contacts at sawmills and concentration yards how their year-to-date 2012 sales compare to last year. Several reported increases in the 2-5% range, a few said sales were unchanged, but none reported a year-on-year decrease in sales.

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