Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


July 17, 2017

Canadians Prefer Bricks-and-mortar Shopping

The majority of shoppers prefer to begin and end their shopping experience in a physical store, especially Canadians, finds a global survey by Salesforce and SapientRazorfish. Even the Gen Z cohort (age 18 to 24) say they prefer physical shopping to online by 59 per cent to 41 per cent. When asked when they ‘start their hunt’ for retail products, digital channels are the overwhelming choice for global shoppers; 60 per cent say websites, apps, online marketplaces, social media, and search engines are their first stop. However, Canadian shoppers index high on physical retail as a starting point – 42 per cent say they start in-store, the highest of any geographical group. The second-most popular starting channel for Canadians is search engines at 17 per cent of respondents and another 17 per cent say retailer and brand websites and apps kick things off. The study also says physical locations are a preferred location to pick-up products ordered online. Among the age groups studied, only those over the age of 55 say they are only ‘somewhat’ or ‘not at all’ interested in in-store pickup of online purchases. The majority of the other demographics (even those 18 to 24 years-old) are ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ interested in in-store pickup.

Giant Tiger Opens Two Locations

Giant Tiger has opened two locations – one in Charlottetown, PE, and one in Prince Albert, SK. The Charlottetown store offers 24,930 square-feet of on-trend home and family fashions, brand-name groceries, and everyday necessities at low prices. It is owned by Shane Demmings. The Prince Albert location is 22,000 square feet. It is owned by the North West Company under a master franchise agreement. This is the second Giant Tiger store in Prince Albert.

Luxury Properties Lead Montreal Home Sales

There were 13,764 residential home sales in the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA) in the second quarter of 2017, an eight per cent increase compared to the second quarter of 2016 and a new second-quarter sales record, says the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB). Condominiums registered the largest sales increase (+17 per cent), with 4,487 transactions. This was a record number of sales for this property category for a second consecutive quarter. Sales of single-family homes and plexes (two to five dwellings) also registered significant increases of four per cent and nine per cent, respectively. All five main areas of the Montréal CMA posted sales increases. Demand for high-end properties remained strong with sales of properties valued at $500,000 or more jumping by 31 per cent compared to the second quarter of last year, and sales of properties valued $700,000 or more increasing by 40 per cent.

KNIPEX Tools Moves

KNIPEX Tools LP has moved its headquarters to Buffalo Grove, IL, from its previous headquarters in Arlington Heights, IL. The renovated 53,200 square foot building has a 10,200 square foot office space and will better accommodate KNIPEX’s internal growth and provide improved customer service in all departments. The company also moved its warehouse operations to the larger 43,000 square foot warehouse, which features an SAP warehouse management system that will increase efficiency and organization and improve lead times on shipments.

Dodge Momentum Index Moves Higher

The Dodge Momentum Index took another step forward in June, increasing 1.1 per cent to 141.1 from its revised May reading of 139.6. The index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for non-residential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. June’s lift was due to a 4.8 per cent advance by the institutional component, while the commercial component fell 1.3 per cent. The index has exhibited substantial strength since mid-2016, with the institutional and commercial components trading off as the driver of growth almost on a month-to-month basis. Although the commercial component declined in the latest month, it is 11.8 per cent higher than it was in June 2016, while the institutional component is 9.5 per cent above a year ago. The overall rising trend for both sectors continues to suggest that construction activity will remain healthy through the end of the year.

U.S. Demand For Toilets To Remain Steady

U.S. demand for toilet fixtures, including water closet bowls, flush tanks, and urinals, is expected to rise 3.8 per cent annually through 2021 to $1.2 billion, says a study by the Freedonia Group. Rising building construction activity will fuel demand growth. Drivers of demand include design trends calling for homes to have more bathrooms, replacement of less efficient toilets with newer products, and construction of bathroom-intensive commercial structures such as hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, and office buildings. Through 2021, demand for plumbing fixtures overall is forecast to increase five per cent per year to $7.6 billion. Rising construction expenditures will drive gains, especially in the residential market. Sustained growth in housing completions and rising improvement and repair spending will boost demand for a wide range of plumbing fixtures. Design trends calling for more bathrooms and larger kitchens will drive demand for such fixtures as water closet bowls, flush tanks, and vanities. Additionally, many builders and homeowners will opt for more attractive – and expensive – products such as acrylic bathtubs and cast-iron sinks.

July 14, 2017

Bank Of Canada Raises Interest Rate

The Bank of Canada’s has raised the interest rate for the first time in seven years. The overnight lending rate was raised to 0.75 per cent from 0.50 per cent; the bank rate is correspondingly one per cent and the deposit rate is 0.5 per cent. In response, banks have raised their prime rates which will have an impact on mortgages, loans, and lines-of-credit. In a statement, the Bank of Canada says it acknowledges recent softness in inflation, but judges this to be temporary. It recognizes the lag between monetary policy actions and future inflation, so it considered it appropriate to raise its overnight rate target at this time.

Canada Housing Market Moderates

Canada's residential real estate market posted strong home price gains in the second quarter of 2017, with the majority of metropolitan markets across Canada displaying expansionary trends, says a survey by Royal LePage. The ‘Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast’ shows that the significant Greater Vancouver, BC, housing correction that began in August 2016 turned a corner in the second quarter of 2017. Home prices in British Columbia's lower mainland are now poised to resume an upward trajectory nearly a year after provincial regulatory intervention bruised consumer confidence and depressed sales activity. In Alberta, the economic rebound continued as Calgary posted its strongest year-over-year home price gains since the downturn in the price of oil. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario saw moderating sales activity, as the combination of eroding affordability and government legislation has pushed many buyers to the sidelines – at least temporarily bringing balance to the country's largest market and slowing home price appreciation within the region. Nationally, the price of a home increased 13.8 per cent year-over-year to $609,144 in the second quarter.

Churchill’s Home Hardware Building Centre Expands

Churchill’s Home Hardware Building Centre has converted from the Home Building Centre banner and has expanded to a larger location in Bay Roberts, NL. The store has expanded from 3,000 to 10,000 square feet and now offers houseware, home expressions, and seasonal departments. Dealer-owners David and Donna Churchill are fourth generation owners in the hardware business. The Churchill family has been in the lumber business for more than 100 years in the Bay Roberts area, joining the Home Hardware banner in 2005 with a Home Building Centre location.

Trust Fundamental To Future Consumer Generations

Trust, influence, and personalization will be the fundamental principles shaping tomorrow’s consumer packaged goods and retail industries, finds the ‘2017 Global Future Consumer Study’ by A.T. Kearney. A.T. Kearney predicts the death of the scale economy that focuses on catering to affluence, in favour of one driven by the influence of industry stakeholders, particularly by the hyper-connectivity of the younger generations. For the first time in history, 2027 will see six generations making up the consumer market for branded goods and other retail offerings and this will create a dramatic upheaval across brands and retailers. Gen Z will be the largest of these generations and will spearhead the wave of change that has been building for decades. The study highlights changes in the drivers of consumer behaviour away from ownership, status, and brand loyalty and toward trust, influence, and personalization. The study findings include a major loss of trust in large corporations and brands. North American and EU consumers, in particular, are demanding that brands have clearly defined values and that those values are transparent and consistently demonstrated in everything branders do and in every product or service they bring to market.

U.S. Demand For Plastic Windows To Rise

Demand for plastic windows in the U.S. is forecast to rise 5.5 per cent per year to $6.5 billion in 2021, outpacing wood and metal windows and accounting for half of total sales, says The Freedonia Group. Home and business owners will continue to specify vinyl windows for their energy efficiency, low cost, and low maintenance. Specialty plastic windows are projected to see above average gains, spurred by increased demand for skylights, roof windows, and customized shapes. Fiberglass and wood-plastic composite products are expected to gain share, although vinyl will continue to represent over 90 per cent of sales. Plastic windows saw much faster penetration of residential (versus commercial) markets through 2016, primarily displacing wood products. Through 2021, the residential market for plastic windows is projected to advance 5.7 per cent per year to $5.8 billion, outpacing 4.0 per cent yearly gains in the commercial segment.

Céragrès President Named Entrepreneurial Finalist

Guy Gervais, president of Céragrès, has been named a finalist in the EY ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ competition in the business-to-consumer products and services category. The competition is organized in more than 145 cities and territories in over 60 countries and aims to encourage entrepreneurial potential as well as acknowledge leaders who inspire their communities with their vision and success. For the past 26 years, Gervais has succeeded in making Céragrès a distinctive and avant-garde brand, recognized by architects, designers, and consumers alike in Quebec, the Maritimes, and Ontario. The company imports and sells ceramic tiles, natural stone, high-end plumbing fixtures, and technical products. It comprises more than 200 employees, nine workshops and boutiques, and 60 tile shops.

July 13, 2017

Housing Starts Trend Highest In Five Years

The trend in housing starts was 215,459 units in June 2017, compared to 214,570 units in May 2017, its highest in almost five years, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). So far this year, all regions are on pace to surpass construction levels from 2016 except for British Columbia, where starts have declined year-to-date after reaching near-record levels last summer. Prince Edward Island and Quebec both had housing starts trend up, while the Toronto central metropolitan area (CMA) remained virtually unchanged. Vancouver CMA housing starts trended downwards in June.

Castle Member Adds 10th Location

Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. member Notre Dame Agencies has purchased its 10th retail location – the former Warr’s Castle in Springdale, NL. Warr’s was established in the early 1900s as a logging and sawmill operation. In mid-century, the business expanded into hardware and building supplies. Since then, it has grown into a full-service lumber, building materials, and hardware retailer. Cluny Sheppard owns the store, along with nine other Castle locations in Newfoundland.

eCommerce To Drive Home Improvement Sales

The U.S. home improvement market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.01 per cent during 2017 and 2021, says Research and Markets. It says the latest trend gaining momentum is growing online DIY sales. Leading retailers in the market such as Home Depot, Lowe's, and Walmart have started sales of DIY products in their online portals. In the U.S., a huge segment of the consumer base prefers to shop online due to convenience and the availability of multiple payment options. Also, the distribution network in the U.S. is smooth making delivery to customers efficient. Vendors have also increased their level of innovation and product assortment to combat stiff competition from rivals. For instance, one of the leading vendors in the market, Home Depot, is operational with multiple brands named as HDX, Husky, Hampton Bay, Home Decorators Collection, Glacier Bay, and Vigoro. This leads to better visibility of products and their assortment under different brands and results in increasing customer traction.

Icynene Launches Faster Product

Icynene has launched a high-performance closed-cell spray foam insulation product for the Canadian market. Icynene ProSeal LE offers the opportunity to achieve an R-31 insulation value in minutes to reduce the time and cost of installation. A low exotherm innovation, an initial five-inch pass of the product can be sprayed in a combination two-inch/two-inch/one-inch lifts to achieve R-31 in mere minutes versus hours. Icynene ProSeal LE features an initial LTTR 2.4 (m²·K)/W at 50mm (R14 at two inches) and an LTTR RSI of 2.02 (m²·K)/W (R6 at one inch) and performs as an air barrier with an air permeance of 0.0005 L/s.m² at 35 mm (1.37 inches).

Lumenpulse Makes Executive Appointments

Tim Berman is president and chief operating officer at Lumenpulse Group Inc. Previously, he was president of Fluxwerx Illumination Inc., which he co-founded in 2011 and which became part of the Lumenpulse family in 2016. Lance Howitt is chief marketing officer. He previously served as the vice-president, sales and marketing, of Fluxwerx Illumination Inc., which he also co-founded.

Sales Strong For Fastenal

Fastenal Company had net sales of $1,121.5 million for the second quarter of 2017, a 10.6 per cent increase over net sales of $1,104.3 million for the second quarter of 2016. Gross profit for the second quarter was $558.5 million, up 11.3 per cent over gross profit of $501.6 million for the prior-year period. EBITDA was $235.4 million, up 13.3 per cent over EBITDA of $207.8 million. Net earnings for the quarter was $148.9 million versus $131.5 million, an increase of 13.2 per cent.

July 12, 2017

Orange Door Project Campaign Raises $1.3 Million

The Home Depot Canada Foundation's ‘Orange Door Project’ campaign raised nearly $1.3 million through in-store and online donations between June 1 and July 2. This is the highest amount the campaign has raised since its inception in 2007. Every dollar donated to the campaign supports organizations that provide safe, stable housing and life skills development programs for homeless and at-risk youth. The Home Depot Canada covers the campaign's administrative costs and will match the donations raised at its top 10 stores.

Lowe’s Campaign To Help BC Fire Victims

Lowe’s Canada – along with its network banners, RONA, Réno-Dépôt, Marcil, Dick’s Lumber, and Ace stores across the country – has launched a national campaign with the Canadian Red Cross to aid victims of the wildfires in British Columbia. Customers will be invited to make a donation to the ‘British Columbia Fires Fund’ established by the Red Cross. Funds raised will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross, which will use them to provide immediate relief such as camp beds and blankets, facilitate the reunification of families, and provide financial assistance to disaster victims to allow them to purchase food and clothing and look after their personal needs.

ROCKWOOL To Build Insulation Facility In West Virginia

ROCKWOOL will build a multi-million-dollar manufacturing facility in West Virginia to produce its stone wool insulation. Construction is expected to begin in October with production anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2020. The facility will cover 43,000 square metres on a 130-acre site in the city of Ranson. It will add to the ROCKWOOL Group’s already strong presence in North America, where the company has existing manufacturing sites in Marshall County, MS; Milton, ON; and Grand Forks, BC. In addition, production recently began for ROCKWOOL’s acoustic ceiling tile subsidiary Rockfon, of a new production line also in Mississippi.

Wiltshire Takes On U.S. Sales

Mark Wiltshire has been promoted to vice-president of sales for the U.S., in addition to his current responsibilities for Canada, international, and Encore, with Palliser Furniture. He joined Palliser in 2015 after holding senior executive positions withNatuzzi, Furniture Brands International, and La-Z-Boy.

Consumers Looking For Multi-functional Comfort

Multi-function, comfort, and high-performance will dominate outdoor trends for 2017 and 2018, says spoga+gafa, the garden trade fair. Balconies and other outdoor spaces must be elegant as well as practical and space-saving. Furniture must be multi-functional, providing comfort and ergonomic features along with practicality. Outdoor spaces also continue to become more elaborate, whether it is a complete outdoor kitchen in a yard, or a small herb and vegetable garden oasis on a balcony. The area must be optimally utilized. Comfort goes beyond ergonomics with technology and design that makes life easier. That includes garden tools and equipment; consumers want to design and maintain their gardens, but it shouldn’t be too laborious. Thus, products that facilitate their work are becoming increasingly popular. These include robot lawn mowers and battery-powered devices, as well as raised flowerbeds and window boxes with convenience features like a water reservoir. spoga+gafa takes place September 3 to 5 in Cologne, Germany. For more information, visit

July 11, 2017

Canada Seeking Input On Retail Payment Framework

The government of Canada has released a consultation paper that invites comments from anyone interested in helping shape the new oversight framework for retail payments. This framework is necessary to ensure that payment services remain reliable and safe, while supporting the payment ecosystem to continue to develop faster, cheaper, and more convenient methods of payment. The financial technology (fintech) industry, banks, and other financial institutions are using innovative technologies to make financial transactions more convenient and efficient for millions of Canadians. In fact, innovation is transforming all segments of the financial sector, and retail payments are at the forefront of this transformation. The evolving nature and complexity of retail payments requires a dialogue between the government and stakeholders to make sure the oversight framework fosters innovation and competition while protecting the users of the services. The paper, ‘A New Retail Payments Oversight Framework: A Consultation Paper, is available here

Montréal Has Strong Home Sales In June

Residential home sales in the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Quebec increased 10 per cent in June compared to June of 2016. A total of 3,952 residential sales were concluded, almost reaching the record set in June 2009 of 4,163 transactions, says the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB). “The residential real estate market in the Montréal area is showing solid momentum, as we just registered the 25th increase in sales in the past 26 months,” says Mathieu Cousineau, president of the GMREB Board of Directors. For a second consecutive month, the area of Vaudreuil-Soulanges and the Island of Montréal clearly stood out with sales increases of 29 and 17 per cent. Laval also registered a solid performance with a 13 per cent increase in sales compared to June of last year. Only the North Shore posted a decrease in the number of residential sales, as transactions fell by five per cent compared to June 2016. Condominiums were the leading property category, showing a 20 per cent increase. Plex sales were also strong with a 12 per cent increase. Single-family homes increased four per cent, but remained the property category with the most transactions. The median price of a single-family home grew by nine per cent over last June and reached $328,000.

Home Depot To Purchase Equipment Rental Company

The Home Depot plans to purchase Compact Power Equipment, Inc., a national provider of equipment rental and maintenance services with more than 1,000 stores across Canada and the U.S. The company also provides maintenance services to a range of customers including Home Depot. Home Depot says this acquisition is part of its strategy to invest in capabilities that uniquely serve its core customers, particularly contractors, and will strengthen its existing tool and equipment rental services. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the company's fiscal second quarter.


IKEA Canada will open a 340,000 square-foot customer distribution centre in Richmond, BC, with a projected opening date of April 2018. The new location will fulfil orders for the four existing British Columbia and Alberta stores, as well as eCommerce purchases. The centre will further enable the company to have products in the right location, closer to customers, which not only creates a more positive shopping experience, but also contributes towards its sustainability goals in its ‘People & Planet Positive’ strategy

Roles Change At Home Hardware

Doug Shantz is director, lumber and building materials, with Home Hardware Stores Limited. Previously, he was merchandise manager, LBM – Ontario. Mark Pardue is merchandise manager, LBM – Ontario. Previously, he was regional LBM coordinator.

Maintenance Products Drive WD-40 Sales

WD-40 Company had total net sales of $98.2 million for the third quarter of its fiscal 2017 year, a two per cent increase over total net sales in the third quarter of 2016. Net income for the third quarter was $14.4 million, an increase of 14 per cent compared to the prior year quarter. Gross margin was 55.3 percent compared to 56.8 per cent. Net sales of maintenance products increased three per cent for the quarter when compared to the prior year period. Net sales of homecare and cleaning products decreased six per cent for the quarter.

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