Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


June 15, 2018

Customer Satisfaction Results In Loyalty

Customer satisfaction is hard earned, but results in loyalty, finds the ‘J.D. Power 2018 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study.’ It finds that customers tend to have a ‘two-minute warning,’ which means from the time they enter the store, they expect to receive assistance from a store employee within two minutes; otherwise, satisfaction begins to decline. Overall satisfaction declines significantly when a customer waits more than two minutes to have their question answered, compared with waiting less than two minutes. And customer satisfaction will drive loyalty, says the study. Among delighted customers that have had a great experience, 80 per cent say they “will definitely” repurchase from the retailer, compared with the study average of 48 per cent. Additionally, 83 per cent of delighted home improvement retailer customers say they “definitely will” recommend the retailer to others, compared with the study average of 49 per cent. Among delighted customers, the average number of positive recommendations is four, compared with the study average of 2.6.

May U.S. Retail Sales Climb

May retail sales in the U.S. increased 0.7 per cent seasonally adjusted over April and 5.6 per cent unadjusted year-over-year as a growing economy prompted consumers to continue to spend, says the National Retail Federation (NRF). The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants. The three-month moving average was up 4.6 per cent over the same period a year ago, topping NRF’s forecast that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 per cent and 4.4 per cent over 2017. The May results build on improvement seen in April, which was up 0.5 per cent monthly and 2.8 per cent year-over-year. Building materials and garden supply stores were up 5.3 per cent year-over-year and up 2.4 per cent from April seasonally adjusted.

Taiga Supports Atlantic Canada

Taiga Building Products has made a donation of $10,000 to the Red Cross in support of Atlantic provinces that have experienced severe flooding in recent months. Taiga has three branches in this region (Halifax, NS, Moncton, NB, and Paradise, NL) and these floods affect not only the physical community, but many people within it – customers, partners, staff, and families, the company says. Since these natural disasters do occur from time to time and can cripple communities, Taiga made the donation to support the communities and people.

PowerHouse Launches Two Insulation Products

LBM manufacturer PowerHouse Products Inc. has launched two insulation products. One is a CCMC-approved exterior rigid mineral wool insulation for the Canadian marketplace. PowerWool Rigiboard One was designed in response to the need for a more rigid product that is suitable for exterior cladding applications and the problem of long delays in sourcing material. “We’ve launched a product that should help address both these issues,” says Scott Emo, sales manager at PowerHouse. The other product is Vertibreak Rainscreen Insulation. This ‘rainscreen insulation’ was developed to help meet Canada’s emerging insulation code requirements. Previously, a major drawback to exterior rigid foam was the inability for drainage when exposed to exterior water sources such as rain. Vertibreak was designed to both insulate and provide a code-conforming rainscreen/capillary break to promote drainage and drying. With this product, “the contractor doesn’t have to add wood furring strips over the product to create a rainscreen,” says Emo. Vancouver, BC-based PowerHouse Products is affiliated with wholesale LBM distributor PowerHouse Building Solutions Inc.

Cook’s Home Hardware Customer Wins Toyota Pickup

Phil Thebeau of Salisbury West, NB, is the winner of a 2018 Toyota Tundra Pickup from Cook’s Home Hardware Building Centre. Thebeau was selected from the ‘Pro Contractor Toyota Tundra Sweepstakes’ contest held at the ‘Moncton Home Hardware Pro Show’ in March. As part of the show, pro contractors had the opportunity to visit the Toyota booth to fill out a ballot for the chance to win the grand prize. The contractor series stops in six cities across Canada, providing attendees the opportunity to network with peers, learn about new products and trends, meet industry experts, and receive hands-on demonstrations.


Clifford Mentrup is president and chief executive officer of KYOCERA SENCO Industrial Tools, Inc., effective July. He has been with the company since 2000, most recently as chief operating officer. He succeeds Ben Johansen, who is retiring.

RH Has Record First Quarter

RH had adjusted net income of $33.5 million for the first quarter of 2018, an increase over adjusted net income of $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2017. This is up more than three times the company’s previous record in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Adjusted operating margins were 9.6 per cent in the quarter versus 1.5 per cent last year, more than double the previous first quarter record of 4.4 per cent in 2015. Revenues were $557 million, a decrease of 0.8 per cent year-over-year.

June 14, 2018

Committee Focuses On Bricks-and-mortar Businesses

Construction, taxation, and administration are three areas that need to be addressed to revitalize bricks-and-mortar retail businesses in Montreal, QC, says a report by Desjardin Group. Valerie Plant, the mayor of Montreal, requested Guy Cormier, who tabled the report, to head up an advisory committee to focus on improving the reality of Montreal businesses. The committee came up with 23 recommendations which include improving how construction projects are managed and compensating the merchants they impact; better balancing taxes; having the city streamline its administrative processes; keeping pace with the digital revolution; improving the consumer experience; and positioning Montreal as a top shopping destination.

Laurentian Store Joins Home Hardware

Riopel Centre de renovation in Sainte-Adèle, QC, has converted to the Home Hardware Building Centre banner. Dealer-owner Jules Riopel started the company in 1976, transferring the ownership to his two sons, François and Martin in 2006. The family chose the new banner to be able to offer customers a greater selection of products. Riopel will now offer the full range of over 55,000 Home Hardware products with the addition of a building centre. The store will continue to offer contractor services and will soon offer touchscreens and a transactional website to its customers. Riopel is the first Home Hardware Building Centre store in the Laurentians.

Stanley B&D Invests In Charging Technology

Stanley Black & Decker is partnering with wireless charging technology company Humavox. The partnership will enable the Israel-based Humavox to bring wireless charging to a broad array of products and technologies, while enabling efficient and uninterrupted usage of battery power. As part of this strategic partnership, Stanley Black & Decker is the lead investor in Humavox’s current funding round. The collaboration is led by Stanley Ventures, a division of Stanley Black & Decker. Humavox’s 3D charging technology can turn everyday objects into ‘hidden chargers,’ including anything from car cup holders to gym bags. The company's technology uses near-field radio frequency (RF) charging to transform any ‘storage instrument/device/object’ into a charger so that users can keep using their portable electronics fully powered. Called ETERNA, the wireless charging technology is a flexible platform comprising proprietary semiconductor devices (chipsets), state of the art algorithms, and high compatibility with off the shelf components that features a receiving chip that is small enough to fit into the tiniest device.

CanWel Completes U.S. Treating Plant Acquisition

CanWel Building Materials Group Ltd.’s wholly owned subsidiary CanWel Building Materials Ltd. has acquired the lumber pressure treating plant and related equipment and business formerly owned by Superior Forest Products, Inc. and affiliates. The plant is located in Oregon and is under construction and expected to be operational towards the end of 2018. The company says the plant complements its California and Hawaii operations, expanding its footprint into the Oregon and Washington markets, and supports its strategy of adding scale and volume to its west coast pressure treated lumber and specialty wood products markets.

Griffon Completes CornellCookson Acquisition

Griffon Corporation’s subsidiary, Clopay Building Products Company, Inc., has completed the acquisition of CornellCookson, Inc. CornellCookson is a manufacturer and marketer of rolling steel door and grille products designed for commercial, industrial, institutional, and retail use. The acquisition was completed under the terms of the purchase agreement previously announced in May.

Dodic Joins Payments Canada

Peter Dodic is chief risk officer with Payments Canada. Previously, he held the position of managing director, operational risk management, at BMO Financial Group.

June 13, 2018

Payment Systems To Drive Online Spending

Consumer spend on digital commerce will reach $14.7 trillion by 2022, up by 60 per cent on spend of $9.2 trillion in 2017, says a study from Juniper Research. The research finds that with retailers increasingly offering localized payment mechanisms and friction at checkout reduced by stored credentials, migration from offline to online is likely to accelerate. Furthermore, it highlighted moves by traditional ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retailers to develop omnichannel strategies as they seek to shore up revenues by using mobile apps both for online purchases and to drive instore footfall. The study shows that money transfer will be a key growth area, bolstered by the rapid expansion and adoption of social payments with companies such as PayPal’s Venmo and Xoom and Facebook. Blockchain will also have an impact within the digital commerce ecosystem. Blockchain will enable increased standardization for payment processing; substantially reduce the risk of error and the time taken for error checking; resulting in faster, more secure, and less costly processes. This, in turn, would allow money transfer companies to become more competitive and reduce fees to end users.

Knauf, USG Reach Agreement

Gebr. Knauf KG and USG Corporation have entered into an agreement where Knauf will acquire all of the outstanding shares of USG. The transaction has been unanimously approved by USG’s board of directors. Berkshire Hathaway, which owns 31 per cent of USG shares, has agreed to vote in favour of the transaction. The combined company will result in a global building materials company that will maximize Knauf and USG’s highly complementary businesses, products, and global footprint to better meet the needs of both companies’ end-market customers. Following the close of the transaction, USG will continue to be managed in the U.S. with facilities across North America.

Armstrong World Industries Acquires Plasterform, Inc.

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. has acquired the business and assets of Plasterform, Inc., a 31-year manufacturer of custom architectural cast ceilings, walls, facades, columns, and mouldings, located in Mississauga, ON. Plasterform products are made of glass-reinforced gypsum, concrete, and polyester resin and will continue to be sold in Canada, the U.S., and Latin America, now as part of the Armstrong Architectural Specialties custom portfolio. The acquisition enhances Armstrong’s interior accent capabilities and further supports the company's growth strategy of selling into more spaces and selling more into every space. It will serve existing and future Plasterform customers out of the Mississauga facility and through current distribution channels.

Pien Joins LIXIL Americas

Katty Pien is chief marketing officer of LIXIL Americas, the division under which kitchen and bath brands American Standard, DXV, and GROHE operate. She brings more than 20 years of global marketing experience to the role, most recently as vice-president of global marketing and research and development for Edgewell Personal Care.

June 12, 2018

Retail ‘Shrink’ Shrinks Over Last Year

Thefts, fraud, and losses from other retail ‘shrink’ in the U.S. decreased to $46.8 billion in 2017 from $48.9 billion the year before while shoplifting and organized retail crime continued to be the leading causes, says the annual ‘National Retail Security Survey’ by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida. Shrink averaged 1.33 per cent of sales, down from 1.44 per cent the year before. Forty-one per cent of respondents said shrink was growing, down from 49 per cent a year ago. Shoplifting and organized retail crime were the most frequent causes, accounting for 36 per cent of losses, followed by internal employee theft (33 per cent), administrative paperwork errors (19 per cent), and vendor fraud or mistake (six per cent). For the first time in the survey, retailers were asked about their role in combating cybercrime. Two-thirds of loss prevention executives said they meet at least quarterly with IT/cybersecurity counterparts to discuss potential threats and 86 per cent said their companies have a cybersecurity incident response plan in place.

Structural Plywood, OSB Exempt From Ruling

Composite wood products must now meet federal formaldehyde emissions regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The regulation defines composite wood products as particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), and hardwood (decorative) plywood. These products are required to be certified as compliant with the regulation, which intends to ensure that all domestic and imported composite wood panels, and the finished products containing them, meet the world’s most stringent standards for formaldehyde emissions. Structural engineered wood products manufactured for construction applications, such as structural plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), wood I-joists, laminated veneer lumber, and glued-laminated timber, are exempt from the regulation. These products are manufactured using low emitting, moisture-resistant adhesives, per the strict product standards and building codes that govern them. As a quick reference for suppliers and builders, structural engineered wood products marked with the ‘APA Mark of Quality’ are exempt from the regulation because the APA Mark is only used on structural engineered wood products.

RONA Dealer Walking To Fight ALS

On June 16, Jake den Hollander, general manager, operations at the affiliate RONA dealer Doidge Building Centres in Ontario, will take part in the annual ‘Durham Region WALK FOR ALS’ with his family to raise funds for the ALS Society of Canada. den Hollander and his team, Smit’s Dragonflyers – named in honour of his father-in-law, Gerrit Smit, who passed away nine years ago after battling ALS – have been taking part in the ‘WALK FOR ALS’ since 2009. They have raised a total of $75,000 since then. This year, to mark their 10th ‘walk-o-thon,’ 17 adults and six children will be part of the team and will walk together. Their goal is to raise $25,000 and hit the $100,000 mark. For more information, visit Smit’s Dragonflyers

Generac Closes Selmec Acquisition

Generac Holdings Inc., a global designer and manufacturer of generators and other engine powered products, has completed its acquisition of Mexico-based Selmec Equipos Industriales, S.A. de C.V. Selmec is a designer and manufacturer of industrial generators from 10 kW to 2,750 kW and other electric systems. The agreement includes the power generator product and after-sale support services of the business.

Energizer, Spectrum File For Merger Review

Energizer Holdings, Inc. and Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. intend to file for merger review with the European Commission regarding Energizer’s proposed acquisition of Spectrum Brands' battery and portable lighting business. Both companies are working with the commission and other regulators around the world, to obtain the necessary approvals to complete the transaction. Both parties continue to expect the transaction to close in the second half of calendar 2018.

Odom Has New Role

Phil Odom is business director for structural products with forest products company Roseburg. He joined the company from BlueLinx Corporation in January as business manager for plywood and lumber. Kevin Smith is sales manager, plywood and lumber. Gary Hayes is business manager, distribution. Blake Keitzman is sales lead, plywood and lumber.

June 11, 2018

May Housing Starts Dip

The trend in housing starts was 216,362 units in May, compared to 225,481 units in April, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. The decline followed several months of stability, which reflects a decline in multi-unit urban starts in May that leaves them close to their 10-year average following several months of historically elevated levels. An elevated pace of new home construction continued in the Vancouver, BC, census metropolitan area (CMA) while metro Victoria, BC, had an uptick in condo construction. Housing starts trended lower in May in Toronto, ON, primarily driven by lower trending apartment and townhome starts.

RONA Hope Opens New Store

Lowe’s Canada celebrated the grand opening of a RONA affiliate store in Hope, BC. The 7,500-square-foot and drive-through lumber yard is owned by RONA affiliate dealer Fraser Valley Building Supplies (FVBS). The store was relocated to a larger building to provide local customers an enhanced product selection. The store offers 15,000 products including a wide selection of lumber and building materials and services such as online shopping with click-and-collect or parcel delivery options and the RONAdvantage program.

IKEA To Eliminate Single-use Plastics

IKEA will eliminate all single-use plastic products from its home furnishing range globally by 2020. This includes straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, garbage bags, and plastic-coated paper plates and cups. The company will also phase out single-use plastic items offered in customer and co-worker restaurants, bistros, and cafes by the end of 2019 across its 29 retail markets including all IKEA Canada locations. Single-use plastic items pollute ecosystems such as oceans and waterways, and harm wildlife if not disposed of responsibly. To drastically reduce plastic pollution, policymakers, businesses, and consumers, must all work together to contribute to the change. IKEA says it is determined to play a part and take responsibility in the areas where it can make a difference. It has also implemented sustainability initiatives in product development, materials sourcing, supply chain, and logistics.

Flexiti Acquires TDFS Portfolio

Point-of-sale provider Flexiti has acquired TD Financing Services' (TDFS) Canadian private label credit card portfolio. This is a transaction in the consumer lending space, making Flexiti stronger in the private label credit card issuer space. The acquisition adds more than one million new credit card customers and 900 new merchant locations currently offering TDFS credit card financing at their locations to Flexiti's client base.

Kohltech Named Best Managed

Kohltech Windows & Entrance Systems received a ‘Canada’s Best Managed Companies’ designation for 2018. The winners were recognized for overall business performance and sustained growth. They have to be Canadian-owned and managed with revenues over $15 million and demonstrating strategy, capability, and commitment to achieve sustainable growth.

IoT Events Takes Over Dx3

Toronto, ON-based IoT Events is the new home of the Canadian Dx3, an annual digital marketing and retail event. After seven years, the team at Dx3 hopes to be introduced to some fresh ideas, new energy, direction, and passion, says Duncan Payne, chief executive officer. “We have been searching for the right company that shares our passion for Canada’s digital future and has the same values and commitment to this community. We are delighted to have found such a partner.” He says the changeover will not compromise Dx3’s customer service or event delivery.

Michel To Lead JELD-WEN

Gary S. Michel has been selected as president and chief executive officer of JELD-WEN Holding, Inc., effective June 18. He joins the company from Honeywell’s Home and Building Technologies strategic business group. Kirk S. Hachigian, chairman of the board of directors and acting chief executive officer, will continue to serve as chairman.

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