Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


May 12, 2017

Canadian Tire Earnings Strong

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited delivered strong earnings performance in its financial services and retail segments and saw particular “strong revenue growth at Canadian Tire Retail.” Consolidated retail sales increased $95 million or 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same quarter in 2016. Excluding petroleum, consolidated retail sales were up 1.4 per cent. Consolidated revenue increased $194.1 million, or 7.6 per cent, for the quarter, which includes a $62.4 million increase in petroleum revenue. Excluding petroleum, consolidated revenue increased $131.7 million, or six per cent in the quarter. The retail segment revenue increased 8.5 per cent in the first quarter compared to last year. Excluding petroleum, retail segment revenue increased 6.8 per cent. Canadian Tire Retail saw retail sales increase two per cent and same store sales were up 0.5 per cent compared to the prior year.

Canadian Business Leaders Remain Optimistic

Economic confidence among business leaders in Canada rose significantly in the first quarter of this year, as the ‘YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index’ for Canada climbed 3.7 points to 62.1, its highest level since October 2014, says YPO, a chief executive leadership organization. This latest increase continues an overall upward trend in economic sentiment among Canadian business leaders over the last year, following a rebound in commodity prices and relatively stable economic conditions in the country. Canadian business leaders were particularly confident about the immediate prospects for their own organizations, which is reflected in the three key indicators of the index: sales, hiring, and fixed investment. The ‘YPO Sales Confidence Index’ for Canada surged 3.6 points from 63.7 to 67.3, its highest level since October 2014. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of chief executives expected to increase revenues in the next 12 months, while only five per cent predicted a decline in turnover. Furthermore, more than one-third (40 per cent) of business leaders expected to boost staff numbers in the coming year, versus only two per cent who predicted cuts in headcount, and almost half of all respondents (47 per cent) expected to increase investment levels over the next year, compared to only five per cent who predicted reduced investment spend.

Lowe’s Canada Sponsors C2 Montreal

Lowe’s Canada will sponsor the sixth edition of ‘C2 Montréal,’ an event that will bring together 5,000 decision makers across continents and industries in a collaborative environment designed to provoke collisions and spark new ideas. Lowe’s Canada’s participation includes speaker Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, a masterclass called ‘Mobilizing the Next Moonshot Through Story,’ and a workshop called ‘Hacking Success Using Applied Neuroscience.’ The events will take place May 24 and 25 at the Arsenal art gallery in Montréal, QC. For more information, visit C2

Festool Roadshow Comes To Canada

Festool’s second annual product tour schedule, the Festool Roadshow, which is powered by a 48-foot truck, will make numerous stops throughout the United States and Canada in 2017. The tour has been designed to give craftsmen across North America a first-hand look at everything that's currently available ‒ and upcoming ‒ from Festool. It will showcase recent product introductions and future product previews as well as a broad range of its award-winning product line. For more information, visit Roadshow

Boral Completes Headwaters Acquisition

Boral Limited has completed its acquisition of Headwaters Incorporated, a building products manufacturer and fly ash marketer in North America. With the closing of the acquisition, Headwaters is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boral Limited and no longer a publicly traded company. The two companies combined have formed a new division called Boral North America.

Quarter Slow For Griffon

Griffon Corporation had revenue of $495.8 million in the second quarter of 2017, a decrease of one per cent from the second quarter of 2016. The company had adjusted EBITDA of $51.3 million, an increase of six per cent over the prior-year quarter, and net income was $5 million compared to $6.1 million. The home and building products (HBP) segment’s revenue increased two per cent, while the Telephonics Corporation segment and Clopay Plastic Products Company segment decreased seven per cent and three per cent, respectively, compared to the prior-year quarter. HBP had adjusted EBITDA of $27.6 million, up five per cent over the previous year.

Trex Company Has 10 Per Cent Sales Increase

Trex Company, Inc. had net sales for the first quarter of 2017 of $144.8 million, an increase of 10 per cent over net sales of $131.7 million in the first quarter of 2016. Gross margin was 45 per cent, a 120 basis point increase over gross margin of 43.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2016. Net income for the quarter was $27.9 million, an increase of 18 per cent over income of $23.7 million for the year-ago period. This year, the company will expand its marketing and advertising campaigns that emphasize advantages and benefits of composite decking.

May 11, 2017

Construction Price Indices Rise

The Apartment Building Construction Price Index (ABCPI) rose 1.2 per cent in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter. This was the largest quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2011, says Statistics Canada. All seven census metropolitan areas surveyed showed quarterly gains. Vancouver, BC, (+2.4 per cent) reported the largest quarterly increase, while Edmonton, AB, (+0.2 per cent) reported the smallest quarterly gain. Year over year, the ABCPI was up 3.1 per cent. The largest increases were in Vancouver (+6.6 per cent) and Toronto, ON, (+3 per cent). Edmonton (-1.0 per cent) and Calgary, AB, (-0.4 per cent) reported year-over-year decreases in the quarter. The Non-residential Building Construction Price Index (NRBCPI) was up 0.9 per cent in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter. The increase reflected higher prices for construction of industrial (+0.9 per cent), institutional (+0.9 per cent), and commercial structures (+0.8 per cent). Contractors reported quarterly increases in six of the seven census metropolitan areas covered by the survey, with Vancouver leading the way.

U.S. Renovation Spend Remains Strong

First-time home buyers and Millennials spent more than ever on home renovation projects, says the sixth annual Houzz & Home survey. In one of the largest increases seen this year, renovators who bought their first home in 2016 spent $33,800 on average, 22 per cent more than in 2015. Baby Boomers and older generations (55+) continue to spend roughly three times more than Millennial homeowners (25 to 34), however Millennials invested an average of $26,200 in 2016, seven per cent more than they spent in 2015. Investment in home renovation overall remained strong as homeowners spent $60,400 on average on 2016 renovations, in line with 2015 ($59,800 on average). The survey finds both first time and repeat buyers were taking on large scope projects, remodeling nearly four rooms at the same time, on average. Scope was slightly smaller for long-time homeowners, who averaged 2.5 rooms during renovation and/or addition projects. Kitchens and bathrooms, which continued to command the lion's share of renovation spend, were significantly more likely to be renovated than any other room of the home. In 2016, finally having the time and finally having the financial means were the top reasons why homeowners start renovations (37 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively). Wanting to customize a recently purchased home drove over a quarter of homeowners (27 per cent), while just over one in 10 was motivated by preparing their home for resale (12 per cent).

Ace Opens In Saint Louis Du Ha Ha!

Distributions Rioux Ace Building Centre has celebrated its grand opening in Saint Louis Du Ha!, QC. Owners Guy Rioux and Marie-Francine Pelletier purchased the original 1,800 square-foot location two years ago with the goal to increase the store size and add a drive-through for materials. Now the 4,800 square-foot location features an 8,000 square-foot drive-through and a 25,000 square-foot lumberyard. Key product offerings include paint, lawn and garden, hardware, electrical, plumbing, and lumber and building materials.

Home Hardware Celebrates Grand Openings

Yantzi Home Building Centre is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a grand re-opening that will feature gift bags, children’s events, a BBQ, and cake. The Tavistock, ON, retailer recently joined the Home Hardware Stores Limited banner and has expanded its kitchen and bath departments and décor area. Fines Home Hardware in Cornwall, ON, is showcasing its completed renovation. It has renovated 100 per cent of its interior, offering a new front entrance and façade. The store has also added more than 5,000 products and expanded the garden centre.

Canadian Tire Acquiring Kitchenware Brand

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) plans to acquire Padinox Inc., the company which owns the Canadian rights to the Paderno kitchenware brand. CTC says the brand will play a central role in its new cooking innovations and expanded kitchen assortment. As part of the transaction, the manufacturing and wholesale distribution operations of Padinox Inc., based in PEI, are being sold to cookware distributor Meyer Canada.

Canadian Retail Sales: New Numbers, Same Story

Statistics Canada has changed their retail sales figures which are now being calculated based on a new sample and using updated methodology, says Ed Strapagiel, a retail consultant. Revisions go back to 2009 and one result is that Canadian retail sales are higher than previously reported, particularly in more recent periods. Total 2016 sales are now $550.8 billion, up 3.5 per cent or $18.6 billion more than under the previous system. However, Strapagiel says that even though methods have been updated, overall trends are much the same as before. For the three months ending February, total Canadian retail sales were up 4.7 per cent year-over-year. This would normally be a good result, he says, until you look under the hood and realize that gasoline station sales are driving up the stats. Thanks to pump prices, gas station retail sales were up 20.7 per cent on a last three-months basis, while all other retail sales were up only three per cent during this period, the lowest such result in almost three years. Meanwhile, the January-February 2017 eCommerce results provide an indication of growth rate. Canadian eCommerce sales were up 33.7 per cent from the same two months a year ago, a gain which is about 10 times higher than for retail in general.

Continental Sales Up

Continental Building Products, Inc. had net sales of $120.6 million for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 8.2 per cent compared to $111.5 million in the prior year quarter. Operating income for the quarter was $21.7 million, compared to $22.6 million in the prior year quarter. Net income was $12.2 million compared to $12.5 million and adjusted net income was $12.7 million compared to $12.5 million. Wallboard volumes increased to 650 million square feet (MMSF) for the first quarter 2017, compared to 617 MMSF in the prior year quarter.

Beacon Roofing Sales Improve

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. had total sales of $870.7 million in the second quarter of 2017, an increase of 5.7 per cent over total sales of $823.5 million in the second quarter of 2016. Residential roofing product sales increased 11.8 per cent, non-residential roofing product sales declined 9.4 per cent, and complementary product sales increased 17.6 per cent over the prior year. The company had a net loss of $9.4 million for the quarter, compared to a net loss of $5.7 million in 2016.

May 10, 2017

Accounting Changes Will Impact All Industries

Within the next five years, most Canadian companies across all sectors will be required to comply with the biggest accounting changes in almost a decade, says advisory firm, KPMG. While the long project timelines of the new International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) have caused many companies to postpone implementation deadlines, the current phase of IFRS implementation may be more challenging than the initial Canadian IFRS implementation in 2011. For this reason, it is critical for companies to start preparing now as they may be required to implement all four standards over a relatively short period of time. The new standards will have dramatically different implications and requirements across industries. Retailers may be impacted by ‘IFRS 16 – Leases,’ which will ensure companies are recognizing operating leases on balance sheets – a major change to a data and calculation-heavy standard. KPMG has released a report, ‘Ready? Or Not. The next phase of the International Financial Reporting Standards,’ which outlines the major impacts of the changes made by the International Accounting Standards Board, an independent not-for-profit organization that regulates global accounting standards.

Building Permits Continue Decline

The value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities fell 5.8 per cent to $7 billion in March, marking a second consecutive monthly decrease, says Statistics Canada. Nationally, the decline was mainly the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, particularly in British Columbia and Ontario. All provinces and territories, except Ontario and Quebec, registered decreases in the total value of building permits in March. Municipalities issued $4.6 billion worth of residential building permits in March, down 8.4 per cent from February. A notable decrease in the multi-family component more than offset higher construction intentions for single-family dwellings. Eight provinces reported declines in the residential sector in March, led by British Columbia and Ontario. Conversely, single-family construction intentions rose three per cent to $2.7 billion in March, with Ontario and Alberta leading the four provinces that posted gains. Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 16,821 new dwellings (-14.7 per cent compared with February), consisting of 10,745 multi-family units (-19.4 per cent) and 6,076 single units (-4.8 per cent). The value of building permits for non-residential structures edged down 0.5 per cent to $2.4 billion in March, a second consecutive monthly decline. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings led the drop, moderated by gains in the institutional and industrial components. Seven provinces registered decreases in the value of non-residential permits in March, led by Saskatchewan. Ontario and Yukon reported increases in all three non-residential building components.

CHBA Launches Net Zero Home Program

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has launched the ‘Net Zero Home Labelling Program.’ The program provides the industry and consumers with a clearly defined and rigorous two-tiered technical requirement that recognizes Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes, and identifies the builders and renovators who provide them. A pilot version of the Net Zero Home Labelling Program ran from September 2015 to December 2016 to validate technical and administrative details. Net Zero training has been developed for CHBA members who want to be part of the program. This training will help get the necessary knowledge into the hands of key stakeholders and accelerate the industry’s capacity to achieve Net Zero.

Condominiums Lead Montreal Home Sales

A total of 4,798 residential sales were concluded in April in the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), says the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB). The real estate brokers' Centris provincial database shows sales in April increased one per cent over sales in April 2016. This was the most active month of April since 2012. Condominiums were the only property category to register an increase in sales in April, as the number of condo transactions rose by nine per cent. Sales of single-family homes (-3 per cent) and plexes (-1 per cent) posted slight decreases. The downward trend in the supply of properties for sale continued in April, as the number of residential properties listed on the Centris system (29,519) fell by 14 per cent compared to April of last year.

U.S. Ceiling Product Demand Sees Growth

U.S. demand for ceiling products is forecast to reach $2.4 billion on annual growth of 4.1 per cent through 2021, driven by office and commercial construction spending as well as a shift toward higher quality products in the non-residential market, says a report by the Freedonia Group. Residential demand for ceiling products is projected to advance 3.8 per cent per annum through 2021, representing a continuing rebound from the overall contraction suffered between 2006 and 2016 because of the housing crisis. The new residential market will lead advances as housing completions rise from their 2016 levels. Area demand in the residential market for ceilings will remain flat over the forecast period as drywall remains the dominant ceiling covering in this market. While single-family homes account for most residential demand, as they make up the majority of housing space in the U.S., ceiling products are used somewhat more intensively in multifamily dwellings, as they are often installed in common areas.

Lightspeed Launches Data Analytics Technology

Lightspeed, a company that provides cloud-based point-of-sale solutions, has launched Lightspeed Analytics. The technology is designed to provide retailers with deep insights and recommendations into their sales, inventory, employee performance, and customer behaviours. It gathers data, making it accessible, understandable, and actionable for business owners and store managers. It can help independent retailers decide which products to order, which to discontinue, and which to mark down; learn how often best customers shop; and decide on the right number of employees at any given time.

Simpson Manufacturing Has Increased Sales

Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. had net sales of $219.9 million for the first quarter of 2017, a 10 per cent increase over net sales of $199.5 million in the first quarter of 2016. Net sales to lumber dealers, dealer distributors, and home centres increased, primarily due to increased home construction activity, while net sales to contractor distributors decreased. Gross profit for the first quarter increased to $100.2 million from $92.5 million in the prior-year period. Gross profit margin was 46 per cent in both quarters. Net income was $23.1 million for the quarter compared to $16.3 million, a five per cent increase.

CEMEX Income Increases Tenfold

Global building materials company CEMEX had net income of $336 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to net income of $35 million in the first quarter of 2016, close to a tenfold increase, partly due to a decrease of $470 million of debt. Consolidated net sales were $3.1 billion, a six per cent increase over net sales for the comparable period in 2016. Operating EBITDA was $559 million for the quarter, a two per cent increase.

May 9, 2017

Canadian Housing Starts Trend Upwards

Housing starts trended higher at 213,768 units in April 2017, compared to 210,702 units in March 2017, 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 standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 214,098 units in April, down from 252,305 units in March. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 15.3 per cent in April to 199,485 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 16.7 per cent to 134,314 units in April and single-detached urban starts decreased by 12.1 per cent, to 65,171 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,613 units.

Lowe’s Helps Flood Victims

Lowe's Canada has implemented a nationwide campaign to support the efforts of the Canadian Red Cross to help spring flooding victims. Starting today, customers from Lowe’s Canada’s network ‒ including all Lowe's, RONA, Réno-Dépôt, Marcil, and Ace stores ‒ will be invited to make a donation in the amount of their choice towards the Quebec Flood 2017 and Canada Flood 2017 funds to help their fellow citizens. The Canadian Red Cross will use the funds raised by the Lowe’s Canada network to meet the recovery needs of flood-affected residents across the country. Flood victims will benefit from the funds raised within their province.

Amazon Gains Share In Power Tools

The online dollar share for power tools has increased steadily over the past 10 years. This year, the power tool online category in the first quarter experienced two per cent growth over last year, while also grew its share of the category by two per cent, says TraQline’s ‘Quarter 1 2017’ data. The study, of 70,000 Canadian consumers, also shows Canadian Tire’s brick-and-mortar unit share of the power tool category fell by three per cent for the quarter over the past year. In major appliances, Home Depot Canada had draw rate growth of seven per cent for the first quarter over the same quarter in 2016, while Lowe’s Canada had draw rate growth of four per cent for the same period. In its U.S. data, TraQline found that is gaining market share across all categories in home improvement regardless of current share level, especially in small appliances and power tools.

Foundation Building Materials Closes Acquisitions

Foundation Building Materials, Inc. (FBM) has closed the acquisition of Trident Distribution, Inc.’s GA-branch location, two Wallboard, Inc. locations, and WA-based Gypsum Wallboard Supply, Inc. The acquisitions allow the company to expand its product offering, customer base, and supplier relationships. FBM is a specialty distributor of wallboard and suspended ceiling systems in the United States and Canada.

Sales Improve For Lumber Liquidators

Lumber Liquidators had net sales of $248.4 million in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 6.4 per cent from $334 million in the first quarter of 2016. Comparable store net sales increased 4.7 per cent. Gross margin was 34.9 per cent in the quarter, compared with 32.6 per cent in the prior-year period. Gross profit for the quarter was $86.8 million, compared to $76.1 million. Net loss for the quarter was $26.4 million as compared to a net loss of $32.4 million in the year-ago period.

Wesfarmers Has Strong Home Improvement Sales

Wesfarmers Limited, parent company of Bunnings and Homebase home improvement chains, had sales of A$3,193 million for its home improvement sector in the third quarter of its fiscal 2017 years. This is a 23.1 per cent increase over sales of $2,594 million for the sector in the third quarter of 2016. Total sales for Bunnings Australia and New Zealand in the quarter were $2.8 billion, up 7.7 per cent on the previous corresponding period. Total sales for Bunnings United Kingdom and Ireland in the quarter were £245 million, an increase of 2.2 per cent.

May 8, 2017

BMR Store Completes Major Renovation

Groupe BMR store, BMR Matco, has invested $1.8 million to expand its warehouse and build a shelter for building materials. The warehouse is now connected to the store and allows the company to offer a wider selection of products. Improvements were also made to the retail store, which now offers a BBQ Québec zone, a decoration service, an estimation service for both big and small projects, a boom truck delivery service, and a new layout for some departments for an optimal ‘ready for business’ approach. The Beloeil, QC, retailer is holding a sale to celebrate the grand opening.

Wolseley Opens NB Consolidated Location

Wolseley Canada has opened a consolidated plumbing and HVAC/R branch in Saint John, NB. The renovated branch features the company’s complete line up of plumbing and HVAC/R products and is laid out in the company’s newest store concept. Al Travis is branch manager. He has been with the company for 2½ years. The branch is part of a broader initiative to open consolidated Wolseley branches in communities across Canada. Wolseley has recently opened new locations in Antigonish, NS; Lachine and Laval, QC; and Concord, ON.

White River Home Hardware Expands

White River Home Hardware Building Centre has redesigned its store layout to offer expanded inventory. Based in White River, ON, it now also offers high-technology painting equipment for precise colour matching. Dealer-owners Gideon and Hatie Tigere are holding a grand opening on May 9.

LP Launches ‘Architect’s Corner’

LP Building Products has launched ‘Architect’s Corner’ on, a resource for architects, engineers, and specifiers in the design and building industry (AEC). The Architect’s Corner was designed to provide the specifications, advice, and background that will help AEC members determine the most appropriate building solutions. As the AEC community has greater involvement in multifamily and light commercial projects, Architect’s Corner currently leverages products most applicable to these types of construction, such as its LP FlameBlock Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing and LP SmartSide Trim & Siding. As both technology and the building industry evolve, LP plans to include additional products, resources, and design updates.

Vicwest Meets Efficiency Goals

Vicwest Building Products, a division of the Kingspan Group of Companies, has completed the ‘Renewable Energy Certificate’ through American Wind and reduced electricity usage through LED and power factor correction. This project is part of Kingspan’s bigger initiative where it has surpassed its target of generating at least half its aggregate energy use from renewable resources by 2016. Kingspan’s aggregate renewable energy use was 57 per cent of its total energy use in 2016, meaning the company is firmly on track to hit its goal, set in 2011, of operating at Net Zero Energy (NZE) by 2020. The company has taken a three-pronged approach to reducing its energy foot print: save more energy, generate more renewable energy, and buy more renewable energy.

Southern Named LP CEO

Brad Southern is CEO of Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) effective July 1. He has been executive vice-president and chief operating officer since November 2016. He has been with the company since 1999. He replaces Curt Stevens, who is retiring.

Spectrum Brands Sales Drop

Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. had net sales of $1.17 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2017, a decrease of 3.3 per cent compared to $1.21 billion in the second quarter of 2016. Net income was $58.8 million in the second quarter, a decrease compared to net income of $92.6 million in fiscal 2016. Operating income margin of 12.3 per cent in the second quarter was unchanged compared to the prior year. Gross profit and gross profit margin were $455.2 million and 38.9 per cent, respectively, compared to $462.8 million and 38.3 per cent, respectively, last year. Net sales in the global small appliances product category declined $14.7 million or 10.6 per cent while net sales in the hardware and home improvement (HHI) segment increased to $313.7 million from $301.7 million.

Sales Rise For Tembec

Tembec Inc. had consolidated sales of $387 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared to consolidated sales of $380 million in the second quarter of 2016. Net earnings for the quarter were $24 million compared to $27 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $54 million compared to $36 million a year ago. The specialty cellulose pulp segment had adjusted EBITDA of $28 million on sales of $120 million for the quarter. The forest products segment generated adjusted EBITDA of $10 million on sales of $110 million.

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