March 25, 2019
Monthly Retail Sales Decline Again
Retail sales decreased for the third consecutive month, declining 0.3 per cent to $50.1 billion in January, says Statistics Canada. Sales were down in four of 11 subsectors, representing 52 per cent of retail trade. Lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers contributed to the majority of the decline. Excluding sales in this subsector, retail sales increased 0.1 per cent. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers increased for the second month in a row, 1.4 per cent, following five consecutive monthly declines from July to November. Sales in Ontario, down one per cent, decreased for the third month in a row, with a majority of subsectors declining in January. Sales were down in all three Prairie provinces in January. Sales in British Columbia increased 1.5 per cent while sales in the CMA of Vancouver rose 1.3 per cent. On an unadjusted basis, retail eCommerce sales were $1.5 billion in January, accounting for 3.4 per cent of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail eCommerce rose 12 per cent, while total unadjusted retail sales increased 1.7 per cent.
QFREB Not Satisfied With Quebec Budget
The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) is disheartened that the Quebec government’s new budget is abandoning the RénoVert Program which was very popular with homeowners and which had generated millions of dollars in renovation work. The RénoVert Program provides a tax credit for eco-friendly home renovations. The Québec government should adopt measures to improve homeownership and consumer protection, given the importance of the real estate sector in the Québec economy, says QFREB. The budget also contrasts with the one tabled by Ottawa, which included much more focused and generous measures to maintain a dynamic and accessible housing market. Québec continues to show a significant lag in property homeownership rates compared to the Canadian average and the conditions for homeownership have deteriorated in recent years. While the federal government chose to help young homebuyers, including an enhancement to the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) and a CMHC incentive to help purchase a first home, the Québec government chose not to offer more substantial tax relief to persons who acquire their first principal residence. In its 2018-2019 budget, the government of Québec took a first step in this direction by granting a $750 non-refundable tax credit for the purchase of a first home. The QFREB believes that this tax credit could have been enhanced to further promote homeownership.
Companies Willing To Train Up
HR managers say 45 per cent of resumes they receive are from candidates who don’t meet job requirements, while 76 per cent of workers admit they would submit for a role when they don’t match the qualifications, finds research by staffing firm Robert Half. Luckily for applicants, 86 per cent of HR managers say their company is open to hiring an employee whose skills can be developed through training. In fact, 58 per cent of employees have been offered a job when they didn't match the exact qualifications. “Companies that approach hiring requirements with some flexibility open themselves up to a broader pool of talented candidates who otherwise may have been overlooked,” says Greg Scileppi, president of international staffing operations at Robert Half. “While core competencies remain important, [companies should] identify applicants who are agile learners eager to expand their skillset and who take a proactive approach to professional improvement. They will likely be more motivated to find new ways to adapt and innovate within the role and provide greater value and commitment to the business in the long-term.”
Central 1 Launches Integrated Payment Solution
Central 1 has launched the ‘Request Money’ integration into its small business online invoicing and payments product. The integrated solution combines the company’s small business online invoicing service with Request Money into a single digital platform using the Interac e-Transfer Request Money feature. Central 1 says the new feature means fewer transactions and fees than traditional online payment solutions.
Strong Growth Forecast For Global Bidet Seat Market
The global bidet seat market was valued at $2.11 billion in 2018 and is projected to exhibit a compound annual growth rate of 5.1 per cent through 2027, says a report by Coherent Market Insights. Growth in the market is attributed to increasing hygiene awareness among people and increasing demand for bidet seats across the globe due to rising government initiatives pertaining to sanitation and rising commercial construction activities, worldwide. North America is expected to account for largest market share over the forecast period. High usage of toilet rolls in the U.S. is raising the issue of forest degradation.
Lubinski Joins WRLA
Erin Lubinski is member services and solutions manager with the Western Retail Lumber Association (WRLA). She has more than eight years’ experience in the building material industry, specializing in buying group negotiations.
March 22, 2019
Building Construction Investment Rebounds
Total investment in building construction rebounded in January, up 6.7 per cent from December to $14.8 billion, says Statistics Canada. Gains in the residential sector (nine per cent to $10.4 billion) led investment for the month as the non-residential sector continued to moderate the overall rate of investment in building construction, growing 1.5 per cent to $4.4 billion. On a constant dollar basis, investment in building construction also rose 6.7 per cent to $12.5 billion. The increase in total residential investment in January was broad based with every province and territory increasing except Nunavut. Gains for the month were led by Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta. In the residential sector, investment in single-dwelling construction broke from the downward trend set over the last three months of 2018 and was up 10.6 per cent in January to $5.4 billion. At the same time, investment in multiple dwelling construction (which includes doubles, row homes, and condo and rental apartments) continued to build its upward momentum, rising 7.2 per cent to $5 billion.
U.S. February Construction Starts Descend
At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $697.4 billion, new construction starts in the U.S. in February dropped three per cent from the previous month, says Dodge Data & Analytics. The February decline returned construction starts to the downward path that emerged during the closing months of 2018. Two of the three main construction sectors registered weaker activity in February – non-building construction fell eight per cent, while residential building slipped three per cent. Meanwhile, non-residential building in February was able to hold steady with its January pace. During the first two months of 2019, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $99.3 billion, down 12 per cent from the same period a year ago. On a 12-month moving total basis, total construction starts for the 12 months ending February 2019 were able to remain essentially even with the corresponding amount for the 12 months ending February 2018. Residential building in February was $299.3 billion (annual rate), down three per cent as both sides of the housing market showed decreased activity. Multifamily housing fell seven per cent, retreating after its 17 per cent rebound in January.
3D Printer To Print Two-storey House
The largest 3D printer in the world is about to start printing a two-storey house on the site of Kamp C, the provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation, in Westerlo, Belgium. The intent of the project is to show the Flemish construction industry the merits of this technique with practical examples. While 3D printing is garnering a lot of attention around the world, the first 3D printed home is still some way off; however, the technique is gradually gaining momentum, says Kamp C. The concrete printer will play a crucial role in this C3PO (Co-creation: 3D-printing with companies) project, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). About five years ago, several Belgian universities launched their first research projects, focusing on the 3D printing of building components. Now the technique is almost ready for the next phase so organizations can start to test the theories in practice. Kamp C has decided to start with a demo phase. All interested companies, research, and education institutions are welcome to experiment with the printer until 2020 to help resolve technical issues.
Igloo Named Best Trade Partner
Igloo Building Supplies was awarded ‘Best Trade Partner’ at the 19th annual ‘Home Owner Mark of Excellence Awards’ by CustomerInsight, a customer experience research company for residential homebuilding professionals. Winners were chosen from builders’ reviews on product and service satisfaction, process and procedures, and follow-through on promises made. Igloo provides building supply streams for homebuilders, commercial contractors, and renovators. It supplies and manufactures engineered roof trusses, flooring systems, stairs, and various framing components. It also distributes finishing products, hardware, drywall and insulation, pre-hung interior/exterior doors, mouldings, and a variety of accessories. It has locations in Alberta, Northwest Territories, and Ontario.
Home Organization Product Sales To Grow
Demand for home organization products used in closets is projected to advance 4.8 per cent per year through 2023 to $3.4 billion, says a report by the Freedonia Group. The use of home organization products in closets is well-established as storage is their primary purpose. As a result, closets are the rooms where the largest amount of home organization products are used. Gains will benefit from a growing housing stock which is increasing the number of bedrooms and attached closets. As well, there is a continued trends toward larger closets, particularly in newer, higher end homes. Closet storage can also add value to a home. Demand for home organization products for all rooms is projected to reach $12.7 billion in 2023 on gains of 3.8 per cent per year.
Cinderella Eco Group Expands To Canada
Joey McNeil is sales and dealer manager, Canada, with Norwegian-based Cinderella Eco Group, a manufacturer of incineration toilets for leisure homes. He will develop business in Canada, a new market for the company. He has a background in brand development with Reebok and Dyson.
Strong Sales For ASSA ABLOY
ASSA ABLOY had sales of SEK23,167 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 15 per cent over sales in the fourth quarter of 2017. Operating income for the quarter was SEK3,746 million, up 12 per cent year-over-year. Operating cash flow increased one per cent to SEK4,923 million. ASSA ABLOY is a global door opening solutions company with a portfolio of roughly 100 brands.
Trends Focus Of CPCA 106th Annual AGM
Current issues and trends in Canada’s coatings industry will be the focus of the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA) at its ‘106th Annual Conference and AGM.’ This year, the theme of the event is ‘Canada’s Coatings Industry: Vision 20-20 Beyond 2020,’ looking at the economic, environmental, and social trends of importance to the industry. The organization says there will be more challenges for the industry as the government seeks to re-assess chemicals already in commerce as well as new uses of existing chemicals already assessed. Other issues on the agenda include ongoing restrictions coming for biocides, paint waste management and stewardship, and new and innovative approaches to sustainability in the industry. It takes place May 22 to 23 in Vancouver, BC. For more information, visit CPCA Vision 20-20 Beyond 2020
March 21, 2019
Stock Option Rules Changing
The federal budget proposes limiting the benefit of the employee stock option deduction for high-income individuals employed at large, long-established, mature firms, says McCarthy Tétrault’s ‘2019 Canadian Federal Budget Commentary. – Tax Initiatives.’ In explaining the rationale for the favourable tax treatment afforded to employee stock options under the current rules, Budget 2019 says “Many smaller, growing companies, such as start-ups, do not have significant profits and may have challenges with cash flow, limiting their ability to provide adequate salaries to hire talented employees. Employee stock options can help such companies attract and retain talented employees by allowing them to provide a form of remuneration linked to the future success of the company.” However, a disproportionate share of the tax benefits arising from the current employee stock option provisions accrues to a very small number of very high income option holders. For example, in 2017, six per cent of stock option claimants – each with a total annual income including stock option benefits of over $1 million – accounted for over $1.3 billion of benefits from the 50 per cent deduction or almost two-thirds of the benefit derived from the 50 per cent deduction. The changes are intended to make the employee stock option tax regime fairer and more equitable for Canadians and to ensure that start-ups and emerging Canadian businesses that are creating jobs can continue to grow and expand. In light of the proposed stock option changes, in circumstances in which the new rules will likely apply, consideration may be given to the viability of making significant grants of stock options prior to legislative proposals being announced. Budget 2019 also says the government will work with farmers, fishers and other business owners throughout 2019 to develop new proposals to better accommodate intergenerational transfers of businesses while protecting the integrity and fairness of the tax system.
Canada’s Economy Slows
The Canadian economy is expected to grow by just 1.4 per cent in 2019, says the Conference Board of Canada, and the federal budget is unlikely to affect the economic outlook. "The weak growth that was evident at the end of 2018 is expected to persist into the first half of 2019. Despite this weak growth, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic," says Matthew Stewart, its director of economics. "Job gains and wage growth were strong at the beginning of the year. In addition, the anticipated impact on investment from the measures contained in the federal government's fall economic statement have yet to materialize." The ‘Canadian Outlook: Spring 2019 Report’ says consumer spending slowed sharply at the end of last year, but household income growth is expected to pick up substantially this year, thanks to robust job gains and an acceleration in wage growth. However, the housing market will continue to cool this year with a decline forecast in residential investment and falling business confidence as well as weakening global and domestic demand which have held back investment spending recently. Still, business investment is set to improve outside of the resource and residential sector this year. One of the main factors supporting this turnaround is the accelerated depreciation measures, announced in the federal government's last fall fiscal update, which will allow business to write off 100 per cent of some capital expenditures in a single fiscal year. Improving domestic demand will also help support strong non-energy investment. What will support GDP growth this year is the trade sector. Despite a pullback in energy exports, total exports are expected to gain two per cent this year. With imports remaining essentially flat, the trade sector will support real GDP growth of 1.4 per cent this year. The outlook for next year is much brighter with investment spending forecast to help the economy post growth of two per cent. Given the economic slowdown, it says the Bank of Canada will remain on the sidelines this year with rate hikes not expected until 2020 under the assumption that the economy improves as expected over the second half of this year.
CFIB Disappointed In Federal Budget
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is disappointed that the 2019 federal budget provides little relief for small businesses facing a barrage of new and higher taxes. Small firms are facing seven years of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premium hikes, higher taxes for many family businesses, and those with passive investments. Plus, the new and rising federal carbon backstop is about to hit firms in four provinces. The new Canada Training Benefit is an expensive program that will increase the cost of the Employment Insurance (EI) system by over $300 million per year with no guarantee of any link to the needs of employers, says CFIB. Dan Kelly, president of CFIB, says the concern is small businesses could be required to hold open a position if an employee has always wanted to take a paid leave from work in order to study Latin or interpretive dance. He says the needs of employers must be considered before launching any EI benefits or job protection requirements. CFIB is also troubled that the 2019 budget provides no plan to get the federal budget back into balance. “Not only are today's deficits tomorrow's taxes, they sap Canada's ability to respond to future economic challenges or recessions,” says Kelly. CFIB calls on government to ensure the EI Small Business Premium Rebate is significant and permanent, in addition to reversing course on the small business tax changes and the federal carbon backstop.
App Connects With Home Service Experts
HeyBryan, an app that connects pre-qualified, insured home service providers to homeowners has officially launched. Backed by Canadian HGTV personality Bryan Baeumler (House of Bryan, Bryan Inc, Leave it to Bryan, and Island of Bryan), the app enables users to find vetted, qualified, and insured home service experts in their area. It features real customer ratings and reviews of trusted experts offering services such as electrical, plumbing, painting, mounting and installation, and general handyman services. It shows availability and rates of local providers and payments are processed directly through the platform, making transactions seamless and saving users time and energy. All the service providers are subjected to background and identity checks. Lance Montgomery, president, CEO, and founder of HeyBryan Inc., calls it the “Uber of home services – you can use your phone to quickly and easily find the right people to take care of things around the house, from small repairs and cleaning to professional trades such as electrical and plumbing work.” It is available for Android and iPhone.
BB&B Launches Private Label Furniture Brand
Bed Bath & Beyond has launched its first-ever private label whole home brand, Bee & Willow Home in Canada and U.S. stores and online. Bee & Willow Home offers pieces for every room in the home in an eclectic mix of rustic and modern styles. The collection includes dining tables and chairs, sofas, side tables, upholstered beds, canopies, and dressers. It also offers a wide range of decorative accents including rugs, art, pillows, throws, and décor accessories as well as quilts, throws, pillows, and kitchen accessories. The line will be the first of six whole home collection launches by Bed Bath & Beyond, allowing for the ability to mix and match the different design collections based on customers’ individual and unique style.
Click-and-collect Boosts In-store Sales
Click-and-collect is not only increasing in popularity, but consumers that use the service spend more than those who don’t, says a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Over 50 per cent of U.S. adult shoppers use ‘buy online, pick up in-store’ (BOPIS) services and, of those, 61 per cent use it frequently – at least once per month. Almost half of users say they use the method more now than they did a year ago. On top of that, click-and-collect demonstrates that having an online store augments in-store sales, with 67 per cent of users buying additional items from that retailer when picking up their original order. The primary reasons for utilizing click-and-collect are no delivery fees (49 per cent), receiving purchased items more quickly (40 per cent), and assurance that items will be available when shopping in-store (33 per cent). Once consumers use click-and-collect, they are loyal to it as the most (96 per cent) of consumers who utilize click-and-collect continue to use it. During the click-and-collect process, shoppers care about receiving the correct product (57 per cent), receiving product status notifications (53 per cent), and picking up the items quickly (50 per cent).
MgO Adds To Development Team
Patricia Josephs has joined the global business development team with MgO Systems, a manufacturer of prefabricated construction technologies. She has experience in both technical and business development roles with high-growth technology companies. John Selby has joined the company in a senior business development capacity. He has experience with instrumentation firms.
March 20, 2019
Budget Proposes Help For First-time Buyers
The Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) hopes that measures announced in Federal Budget 2019 will help ease Canada's growing housing affordability crisis. The budget includes a new first-time home buyer incentive, increases to the home buyers' plan, expansion of the rental construction financing initiative, and measures to address the housing supply shortage. It also makes reference to monitoring the effects of the mortgage stress test and adjusting it if economic conditions warrant. The first-time home buyer incentive introduces shared equity mortgages for qualified first-time buyers. The government suggests it could help 100,000 Canadians achieve home ownership in the next three years. That impact would be similar to what CHBA's proposed reintroduction of 30-year insured mortgages for first-time home buyers would achieve. The CHBA has recommended a shared appreciation mortgage approach as a tool for helping those who can't get into homeownership, but have the means to pay rent. An initiative in the budget to extend this to essentially all first-time homebuyers seeking entry-level housing takes the concept to a much broader level, it says. Increased limits for the home buyers' plan would allow up to $35,000 of RRSP savings to be put toward the purchase of a first home. This is welcome, says the CBHA, but should be coupled with changes to the stress test. Since the introduction of the stress test in January 2018, CHBA estimates that some 147,000 potential home buyers have been locked out of the market.
Walmart Celebrates 25 Years In Canada
This year, Walmart Canada celebrates its 25th anniversary operating in the country. The retailer opened its first Canadian stores after acquiring the 122-store Woolco division of Woolworth Canada in 1994. Since then, the retailer has built a network of 410 stores, employing more than 85,000 associates and serving more than 1.2 million customers across the country, every day. In 2006, the company introduced groceries to its product lineup and in 2011, it launched its online store, which is visited by more than 750,000 customers daily. Aside from its dedication to customers, the retailer says it is also dedicated to communities and boasts a philanthropy program focused on supporting Canadian families in need. As part of this program, it has formed partnerships with non-profit organizations including the Breakfast Club of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, the Children's Miracle Network, and Food Banks Canada. The retailer also works on waste reduction through recycling, reusing, and composting where possible.
Giant Tiger Opens 250th Store
Giant Tiger has opened its 250th store in Canada. Located in Atholville, NB, the 20,534-square-foot store will be stocked with home and family fashions, brand-name groceries, and everyday necessities.
IHA Show Rebrands For 2020
The just-concluded ‘2019 International Home + Housewares Show’ was the last show to be called such as the International Housewares Association (IHA) is renaming the event in 2020 to ‘The Inspired Home Show, IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market.’ The 2019 event was sold-out with 2,205 exhibitors from 43 countries and featured a focus on influencers/bloggers, smart/connected products, and the specialty beverage movement. The focus on smart and connected products continued to grow with expansion of the IHA Smart Home Pavilion; three days of educational programming at the Smart Talks stage; and the addition of a display by b8ta, a ‘retail-as-a-service’ model designed to bring emerging technologies to market by making physical retail accessible to everyone. In addition, IHA says several product categories seem ready to explode based on the number of companies introducing their versions of these products at this year’s show. They include products to improve home air quality (air purifiers, aroma diffusers, and humidifiers), countertop multi-cookers, and air fryers. Next year, the event takes place March 14 to 17 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. For more information, visit The Inspired Home Show
3M Restructures Business Units
3M has realigned its core businesses from five to four business segments. It says the new alignment will enable it to better serve global customers and markets. The new structure will be comprised of four business segments: safety and industrial, transportation and electronics, healthcare, and consumer. The safety and industrial segment includes businesses that serve the global industrial, electrical, and safety markets and will consist of personal safety, adhesives and tapes, abrasives, closure, and masking systems, electrical markets, automotive aftermarket, and roofing granules. The transportation and electronics segment includes businesses that serve global transportation and electronic original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. The healthcare segment serves the global healthcare industry including medical solutions, drug delivery systems, and food safety. The consumer segment serves global consumers and consists of home improvement, stationery and office supplies, home care, and consumer healthcare.
U.S. Housing Market Drives Global Roofing Sales
Bituminous products (including asphalt shingles and corrugated panels, as well as low-slope products) were the most popular roofing material in 2017, accounting for 34 per cent of global roofing sales in area terms, says a study by the Freedonia Group. The study, ‘Global Roofing,’ shows bituminous roofing product demand is forecast to rise two per cent per year through 2022 to 4.8 billion square metres, valued at $38.5 billion. Bituminous product sales in North America, the largest market for these products, will benefit from healthy housing markets in the U.S., as well as rising reroofing activity, particularly in the U.S. where weather-related damage is an ongoing concern. Concrete and clay tile were the second most commonly used, representing 30 per cent of global roofing demand in area terms, followed by metal (11 per cent), fibre cement (six per cent), rubber (four per cent), and plastic (five per cent), with other types accounting for the remainder (less than 10 per cent in the aggregate). In dollar terms, tile roofing represented a larger share of world roofing sales than bituminous materials due to the higher average price for these products. Through 2022, global demand for all types of roofing products is forecast to rise 2.4 per cent per annum to 14.4 billion square meters valued at $120 billion.
March 19, 2019
Manufacturing Sales Turn Around
Manufacturing sales increased one per cent to $57.1 billion in January, following three consecutive monthly decreases, says Statistics Canada. Sales rose in 15 of 21 industries, representing 55.9 per cent of total manufacturing sales. Higher sales in the food as well as the electrical equipment, appliance, and component industries were the main contributors to the gains in January. In volume terms, manufacturing sales rose 1.4 per cent. The wood product industry also had an increase at 3.4 per cent. Sales were up in eight provinces, led by Ontario, New Brunswick, and Alberta. Increases in these three provinces were largely responsible for the total national gain. Sales were down in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. Inventory levels rose for the second consecutive month, up 1.2 per cent to $85.7 billion. Inventories were up in 16 of 21 industries.
CAC Against B.C. Government Decision On Timber
British Columbia’s move to increase height limits for the construction of wood buildings is premature, says the Cement Association of Canada (CAC), It says it is surprised at the announcement by the British Columbia government that it will bypass the ongoing ‘2020 National Building Code of Canada’ (NBCC) processes and allow municipalities to issue building permits for encapsulated mass timber construction (EMTC) up to 12 storeys. Of greatest concern, especially in the context of high seismic zones in B.C., is that there are, as of yet, no approved seismic design specifications for 12-storey cross-laminated timber buildings in the 2020 NBCC. These discussions are currently ongoing and recommendations will not be approved until later this year. CAC claims there is a significant amount of evidence available that refutes wood industry claims about tall wood building safety, earthquake resistance, resilient construction, and environmental performance that needs to be closely examined in a transparent way. It is calling on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to urgently meet with all members of the building materials industry and to put an immediate pause on any regulations for 12-storey encapsulated mass timber buildings.
RH Unveils Outdoor 2019 Collection
Luxury lifestyle retailer RH has released its ‘2019 RH Outdoor Source Book.’ The 400-page catalogue debuts a collection of outdoor furniture, textiles, and garden accents by designers from around the world. Designers represented in the book include Piet Boon of Amsterdam with his Bonaire collection; Mario Ruiz of Barcelona with two lounge and dining collections; Anne Marie Vering of Los Angeles with her European Neoclassical garden furniture collection; Marcel Opstal of Jakarta with latticework; Nicholas and Harrison Condos of Sydney with Bonid; and furniture by Dallas-based David Sutherland.
Continental Buchanan Plant Resumes Operations
Continental Building Products has resumed full capacity operations in its Buchanan, NY, drywall manufacturing plant. The facility underwent repairs and, while down, production was increased at the company’s Kentucky and Florida plants to offset a portion of Buchanan lost volumes.
Mastercard Acquires Ethoca To Reduce Digital Commerce Fraud
Mastercard will acquire Ethoca, a global provider of technology solutions that help merchants and card issuers collaborate in real-time to identify and resolve fraud in digital commerce. The Ethoca network brings together more than 5,000 merchants and 4,000 financial institutions around the world. When a fraudulent transaction is identified, near real-time information is sent to the merchant so they can confirm the transaction, stop delivery, or reverse the transaction to avoid the chargeback process. As a result, both merchants and card issuers benefit from lower operational costs by reducing fraud at the source. Mastercard intends to further scale these capabilities and combine Ethoca with its current security activities, data insights, and artificial intelligence solutions.
3M Makes Appointments
Michael Vale is executive vice-president, safety and industrial business group, with 3M. He currently is executive vice-president, health care business group. Ashish Khandpur is executive vice-president, transportation and electronics business group. He currently is executive vice-president, electronics and energy business group. Mojdeh Poul is executive vice-president, healthcare business group. He currently is executive vice-president, safety and graphics business group. Paul Keel is executive vice-president, consumer business group. He currently is senior vice-president, business development and marketing-sales. Denise Rutherford is senior vice-president, corporate affairs. She currently is vice-president, research and development and commercialization, industrial business group. Stephen Shafer is senior vice-president, business development and marketing-sales. He currently is vice-president greater China area of 3M and managing director of 3M China. All are effective April 1.
Sales Rise At Lumber Liquidators
Lumber Liquidators had net sales of $268.9 million for the fourth quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, an increase of 3.5 per cent over net sales of $259.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Net sales in comparable stores increased 0.4 per cent year-over-year. Gross profit increased 4.2 per cent in the quarter to $96 million from $92.1 million in the comparable period in 2017. Gross margin increased to 35.7 per cent from 35.4 per cent. The company had an operating loss of $54.9 million compared to an operating income of $600,000 million in the year-ago period. Net loss for the quarter was $56.9 million, compared to a net income of $3 million last year.