Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

Retailers, Wholesalers, and Manufacturers of Hardware, Building Supplies, Kitchen & Bath, Paint & Decorating, Lawn & Garden, and Other Allied Products.


February 21, 2018

Home Depot Sales Strong

The Home Depot had sales of $23.9 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017, a 7.5 per cent increase over net sales of $22.2 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. Comparable store sales for the quarter were up 7.5 per cent. Gross profit was $8 million versus $7.6 million in the year ago period. Net earnings were $1.8 billion compared with net earnings of $1.7 billion for the same period a year ago. Online sales increased 21 per cent. Average ticket amount was $64 compared to $61 a year ago. The strongest categories for contractors were lumber, pressure treated decking, insulation, and gypsum. Big ticket drivers for all customers were vinyl plank flooring, fencing, and appliances.

Building Materials Lead Wholesale Trade Growth

Wholesale trade in Canada rose for the eighth consecutive year in 2017, up 9.4 per cent to $741.1 billion with higher sales in all seven subsectors, says Statistics Canada. This was the highest growth rate since 1997’s 13.7 per cent. Growth in wholesale trade in 2017 was driven mainly by growth in the first two quarters, up 3.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively. In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 7.7 per cent to $652.7 billion in 2017, reaching their highest level and growth rate on record. Sales in the building material and supplies subsector increased 11.8 per cent to $104.5 billion in 2017, its highest growth rate since 2004. A gain in the lumber, millwork, hardware, and other building supplies industry contributed the most to the increase, as the industry grew 12 per cent to $52.6 billion. Related indicators including housing starts (12 per cent) and exports (3.9 per cent) and imports (3.8 per cent) of building and packaging materials also increased in 2017. The industrial product price index for lumber and other wood products increased 4.9 per cent, its highest growth rate since 2004. Higher sales were recorded in all provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec.

TIMBER MART Celebrates Business Partners

TIMBER MART celebrated members and vendors at its eight annual National Buying Show, held February 16 to 17 in Montreal, QC. Businesses were recognized for achieving excellence in customer service, product value, and operations. The TIMBER MART LBM vendor award recipients were CanWel ‒ the Customer Service Excellence Award; Resisto ‒ the Product Excellence Award; and Taiga ‒ the Operational Excellence Award. The TIMBER MART hardware vendor award recipients were PPG for customer service excellence; Simpson Strong-Tie for product excellence; and Makita for operational excellence. The Members’ Choice award recipients were CanWel for western Canada; Alexandria Moulding for Ontario; Duchesne for Quebec; and Taiga for the Atlantic region.

Canac Plans Another Store

Quebec home improvement chain Canac has purchased a 417,328-square-foot lot in Shawinigan, QC for a new store, the chain plans to create a sales area of 26,697 square feet, a contractor department, a large outdoor lumberyard, and a 30,804-square-foot covered warehouse. The opening is planned for the fall of this year.

Walmart Enhances Shopping App

Walmart has added some new features to its in-store ‘Store Assistant’ shopping app. The app is designed to help customers get in and out of the store quickly. Original features include Walmart Pay, a product search bar and scanner, reviews, and price checks. Walmart has now added a list capability so customers can make a list on the app before going to the store. The app will check item stock at the local store, locate the aisles on the store map, and keep a balance of the total cost of the basket, including tax. Users can cross off the items as they go. The app will contain an individual map of every store including product location right down to the aisle and shelf area. Store maps are currently available at a handful of stores, but will be rolled out to all 4,700 stores.

Paxton Joins Masonite

Bob Paxton as senior vice-president, human resources with Masonite International Corporation. Previously, he was with Owens Corning, most recently as vice-president of human resources for the company’s composites business.

West Fraser Has Strong Gains

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. Had sales of $1.376 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of $269 million or 24 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2016. Earnings were $207 million and adjusted earnings were $201 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $341 million or 24.8 per cent of sales for the quarter. The lumber segment had operating earnings of $232 million and adjusted EBITDA of $258 million. The panels segment had operating earnings of $20 million and adjusted EBITDA of $24 million. The pulp and paper segment had operating earnings of $48 million and adjusted EBITDA of $60 million.

February 20, 2018

TIMBER MART Hosts Buying Show

With over 1,100 dealers and vendors in attendance, TIMBER MART hosted its eighth annual national buying show February 16 to 17 in Montreal, QC. The show featured an 80,000-square-foot show floor filled with more than 200 vendor booths, a wide range of show displays and attractions, and member-exclusive buys. The show floor was also home to TIMBER MART’s ‘Store on the Floor’ which featured merchandised displays of more than 2,000 SKUs of building materials and hardlines products. As well, its ‘Solutions Centre’ housed multiple information hubs for all of its member services and programs, including LBM solutions, TIMBER MART Essentials, dealer marketing, merchandising, and banner support. The National Dealer Meeting was held prior to the show on February 15.

Panasonic Works On Profile

Known elsewhere in the world such as Asia, India, China, and Latin America for major appliances, Panasonic wants to raise its profile in Canada and North America beyond a brand that means electronics, says Jonathan O’Brien, sales manager – Ontario and Atlantic Canada, consumer products division. At its ‘Brunch & Learn,’ he said 2018 marks its 100th year in business, following its 50th year in Canada last year. There are several developing trends in Canada, he said, that the industry should be noticing. For one, consumers now are coming armed with research to make their purchase decisions and have information at their fingertips. They are looking for premium products with upgrades at the high end and trust designers and builders to help them select products. Another trend is urbanization with one on eight families living in condos and needing to optimize space. Immigration is another consideration as in the last decade there have been 650,000 immigrants from Asia to Toronto, ON. They are looking for the products they had back home, he said.

New Apartment Building Prices Increase

Contractors' prices for the construction of new apartment buildings rose 1.1 per cent in the fourth quarter compared with the previous quarter, says Statistics Canada. Prices for new apartment building projects rose in all seven census metropolitan areas surveyed, led by Vancouver, BC (+2.0 per cent). Contractors reported rising costs for lumber, concrete formwork, plastic, copper, and fuel-related inputs. Rebuilding activities in the U.S. after an active 2017 hurricane season contributed to higher prices for these materials. From August to October, four hurricanes made landfall in the United States causing widespread damage. Over the four quarters ending in December, contractors' prices for new apartment building construction rose by 4.3 per cent with Vancouver (+7.5 per cent) leading the increase.

Oatey Acquires Canadian Manufacturer

Plumbing manufacturer and distributor Oatey Co. has acquired G.F. Thompson Company Limited, a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of plumbing and HVAC products. Based in Newmarket, ON, G.F. Thompson was founded in 1947 and its product categories include sealants, compounds, cleaning and pipe preparation chemicals, and related accessories. The company manufactures products under the brand name ‘Masters.’ Oatey says the addition of G.F. Thompson and the Masters brand significantly strengthens its ability to serve the Canadian market.

Home Depot Launches Interview Scheduling Tool

The Home Depot has launched a tool that allows job applicants to self-schedule in-person interviews as the company works to fill more than 80,000 positions in the U.S. for the spring selling season. Using the tool, which is available 24/7 on any device, candidates who have completed an application for an open job in a Home Depot store or distribution centre can choose an interview appointment from those that are available. About 80 per cent of the retailer’s candidates have taken advantage of the tool since the pilot began this past November. The company is also enhancing its onboarding experience this spring with the introduction of PocketGuide for associate training, a mobile application that leverages gamification to help associates learn while they're in the aisles. The application is rolling out to all garden associates for this spring season and will expand to more store departments throughout 2018.

Snap-on Net Sales Climb

Snap-on Incorporated had net sales of $974.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 9.5 per cent over net sales in the fourth quarter of 2016. Operating earnings before financial services were $157.7 million, or 16.2 per cent of sales, compared to $176.1 million, or 19.8 per cent of sales, last year. Net earnings in the quarter were $129.5 million, down from net earnings of $146.3 million a year ago. The commercial and industrial group segment sales increased 19.4 per cent year-over-year; the Snap-on tools group segment sales decreased two per cent; and the repair systems and information group segment sales increased 11.6 per cent.

February 16, 2018

Home Sales Decline Sharply

National home sales fell sharply in January, says The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), declining 14.5 per cent from December to January. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 2.4 per cent year-over-year. The number of newly- listed homes also declined, down 21.6 per cent from December. Activity was down in three-quarters of all local markets in Canada, including virtually all major urban centres. Many of the larger declines in percentage terms were posted in Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) market in Ontario where sales had picked up late last year following the announcement of tighter mortgage rules coming into effect in January. By contrast, sales were up on a year-over-year basis in the lower mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and the Okanagan region; Edmonton, AB; Montreal, QC; greater Moncton, NB; and Halifax-Dartmouth, NS. There were five months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2018, which is close to the long-term average of 5.2 months.

Lowe’s Opens First Manitoba Store

Lowe’s Canada has opened its 64th store under the Lowe’s banner in Canada. Located Winnipeg, MB, this store is the first Lowe’s location to open in Manitoba. The store features a retail offering space totaling 115,000 square feet, including 95,000 square feet of retail sales space and an adjacent garden centre of 20,000 square feet. It offers 40,000 products in-stock with thousands more available through special order and on the Lowe’s Canada website. The store will also offer appliances, barbecues, seasonal products, outdoor products, and home décor products. The store has been outfitted with sustainable development initiatives including LED light fixtures, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, high-energy efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, and an automated building energy management system.

Bona US Relocates

Bona US is moving its north and south American headquarters to the Denver Tech Center in Englewood, CO. It will serve as new office space, training centre, and machine maintenance facility. The move is expected to take place late in 2018. The 74,209-square-foot building is almost double the area of the company’s current Aurora, CO, facility. This increase in size promotes its goals for expansion.

West Elm Opening Second Toronto Store

West Elm, a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio of brands, opened its second location in Toronto, ON (sixth in Canada). The 16,295-square-foot store will offer customers an array of locally made products alongside the brand’s spring assortment of home furnishings and décor. West Elm North Toronto will also offer Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s cross-brand design consultation program Design Crew, which pairs customers with experts who can provide design and installation services. The new midtown location comes three months after the launch of parent company Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s eCommerce websites in Canada.

Retail Sales Rise At Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited’s consolidated retail sales increased $215.8 million, or 4.9 per cent, in the fourth quarter over the same period a year ago. Excluding petroleum, consolidated retail sales were up 4.1 per cent over the same period last year. Consolidated revenue increased $323 million, or 8.9 per cent in the fourth quarter. Excluding petroleum, consolidated revenue increased 8.4 per cent. Consolidated EBITDA increased by 10.2 per cent year-over-year. The retail segment revenue increased $300.5 million, or nine per cent; excluding petroleum, the retail segment revenue increased 8.5 per cent. Canadian Tire Retail had a retail sales increase of 3.8 per cent and same store sales were up 3.5 per cent. The retail segment revenue increased $695.7 million, or 6.1 per cent; excluding petroleum, the retail segment revenue was up 5.1 per cent.

February 15, 2018

Remote Payment Sales To Pass $3.3 Trillion

The value of consumer spend on remote payments for digital and physical goods will surpass $3.3 trillion this year, an increase of 10 per cent over 2017’s total of $3 trillion, says a study by Juniper Research. ‘Mobile & Online Remote Payments for Digital & Physical Goods: Opportunities & Forecasts 2018-2022’ shows that alternative payment mechanisms would comprise an ever-increasing proportion of online spend. PayPal already accounts for 20 per cent of mobile and online physical goods transactions made outside China, while the success of Alipay and Weixin Pay within China means that these two players combined now account for 45 per cent of global payment volumes.

Awareness Day To Increase Consumer Battery Recycling

Call2Recycle, a North American consumer battery stewardship and recycling program, encourages Canadian and American consumers to ‘lead the charge’ on National Battery Day ‒ February 18. The annual awareness day asks consumers and organizations to scour their homes and offices – especially junk drawers, closets, and garages – for used batteries which they can bring to a Call2Recycle drop-off location or they can start their own programs. While battery recycling is offered year-round, National Battery Day spotlights how batteries power the world along with the need for responsible disposal once they reach their end-of-life. And research shows there is great room for growth and engagement. In Canada, 81 per cent of consumers are aware of battery recycling, with 58 per cent actively participating. Participating retailers are reminded to talk to their customers about recycling on National Battery Day.

DuPont Corian Launches Resilience Technology

The DuPont Corian design business has developed a manufacturing process called Resilience Technology, enabling the production of a solid surface featuring damage forgiveness, easier and quicker stain removal, and less need for maintenance. The company says this technology reduces physical damage from scratching, heat, and impact, typical of daily usage in commercial and residential environments. The technology is also renewable by occasional washing with water and a slightly abrasive pad. This gentle washing removes low-level scratches. The technology will be initially used to make four new colours of Corian Solid Surface – summit white, stratus (a grey tone), keystone (inspired by concrete), and cool grey – which are going to be commercialized globally starting February.

Energy Efficiency Appeal Drives Building Automation

A rapid transformation is taking place in the global building automation systems (BAS) markets, says Frost & Sullivan in its BAS forecast. The internet of things (IoT), rising popularity of energy efficient LED lights, increasing reliance on wireless technologies, and concern for overall building energy consumption are all drivers of the trend. ‘World Building Automation Systems (BAS) Markets, Forecast to 2022’ also shows the convergence and integration of security and surveillance into BAS as the significance of building security continues to rise. “Cutting-edge technologies involving IoT, big data, and cloud platforms have made it convenient to gather and normalize data from buildings to help analyze the energy usage trends and facilitate fault detection and monitoring of the overall building energy performance,” says Suba Arunkumar, research manager. “However, these technology advancements will only thrive if suppliers can develop security features strong enough to offset customer fears about hacking or system failure.” The report forecasts that the BAS market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3 per cent through 2022.

Lumber Liquidators Shares Flooring Trends

Imperfection and Scandinavian casual are just two of the trends for flooring this year. Lumber Liquidators says trends this year will focus on character with unique features like distressed textures, multi-hues, mixed widths, and extra-long planks. The retailer says the top trend is embracing imperfection where authenticity is a goal in home décor and design. The look of natural striking tones, unpredictable grain patterns, natural knots, and cracks communicate this character. Scandinavian casual consists of soft and natural aesthetics with whites, greys, and light browns to create welcoming, calm, and cozy spaces. Oceanic hues will also be popular, with blues continuing to be a strong, fresh décor trend that exude a vibrant vibe. Waterproof and water-resistant flooring will also continue to expand this season.

LP Has Strong Fourth Quarter

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) had total net sales of $711 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 29 per cent over total net sales of $550 million for the fourth quarter of 2016. Operating income was $155 million compared to $56 million in 2016. Income from continuing operations was $131 million for the quarter, versus income from continuing operations of $43 million last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $199 million versus $85 million. The siding segment had net sales of $213 million versus $169 million year over year; the oriented strand board (OSB) segment had net sales of $358 million versus $276 million; and the engineered wood products (EWP) segment had net sales of $92 million, up 38 per cent from the year-ago quarter.

Industry Speakers Featured At HOP

Robert Fodor from Interac Corp.; Daniel Lampron from Patrick Morin; Maxime Lavoie from BBQ Quebec; and Sylvie Tardif from Groupe BMR Inc.; are just some of the guest speakers at this year’s HOP Retail Summit. HOP, a creation of the Quebec Retail Coucil (CQCD), is an annual conference for the retail sector in Quebec. It takes place March 20 to 21 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montreal, QC. For more information, visit HOP

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