Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


August 11, 2017

Canadian Tire Sales Up

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited had consolidated retail sales of $4.1 billion for the second quarter of 2017, a three per cent increase over consolidated retail sales of $3.98 billion in the second quarter of 2016. Excluding petroleum, consolidated retail sales increased 2.5 per cent year over year. Consolidated revenue for the quarter was $3.41 billion, an increase of 1.8 per cent over consolidated revenue of $3.35 billion in the year-ago period. Canadian Tire stores had retail sales growth of 2.2 per cent versus 4.2 per cent a year ago. Same store sales growth was 1.4 per cent versus 2.9 per cent. EBITDA for Canadian Tire stores was $270.4 million for the second quarter, a 5.6 per cent increase over EBITDA of $256.1 million in the year-ago period.

Housing Starts Trend Upwards

The trend in housing starts was 217,550 units in July 2017, compared to 215,175 units in June 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. In July, Canada's pace in housing construction ramped up for a seventh consecutive month. British Columbia and Alberta were the main contributors to the higher trend. The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 222,324 units in July, up from 212,948 units in June. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 5.5 per cent in July to 206,122 units. Multiple urban starts increased by 10.4 per cent to 141,950 units in July and single-detached urban starts decreased by 3.9 per cent, to 64,172 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,202 units.

Tax Reforms Will Have Impact On Business Owners

Proposed changes to the Income Tax Act (Canada) could be one of the most significant reforms to Canada’s tax system for business income in decades – and will significantly impact tax planning for all business owners, says an article at the Home Improvement Retailing website by Carolle Fernando, associate, and Eric Feunekes, articled clerk, at McInnes Cooper. ‘Proposed Changes To Business Income Tax Rules: A Gamechanger For Private Business Owners’ says the proposed changes target three key areas the government perceives as abusive: income sprinkling ‒ the practice of splitting income within families to minimize the overall income tax payable; capital gains stripping – the conversion of after-tax corporate earnings into capital gains resulting in a reduced rate of applicable tax; and tax deferral ‒ the holding of an investment portfolio inside a private corporation that, due to overall lower corporate tax rates as compared to personal tax rates, currently results in a financial advantage for owners of private corporations engaged in active business. With the proposed changes starting to take effect as early as January 2018, the paper says business owners are well-advised to start now to determine how the new rules will impact their business structure, the planning steps they should take, and opportunities for restructuring. The federal government has released a consultation paper, ‘Tax Planning Using Private Corporations,’ which closes for comment on October 2.

Gerber Perks Up Reward Program

Plumbing fixture manufacturer Gerber has perked up its rewards program for plumbing professionals. After polling thousands of plumbers, builders, and other industry professionals throughout North America, Gerber has expanded the program to make it more robust and easier to access and use. The program now incorporates updated features and benefits into the platform and offers new elements including an updated online site with easy navigation, more prize options, a Visa gift card option for those preferring a cash equivalent, and a mobile option for easy receipt upload from the field. The program for plumbing professionals is free and available at

Crow Leads Builders FirstSource

Chad Crow will be chief executive officer of Builders FirstSource, Inc., effective January 2018. Currently, he is president and chief operating officer. He has been with the company for 18 years.

Residential Roofing Drives Beacon Sales

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. had total sales of $1.21 billion in the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 5.3 per cent over total sales in the third quarter of 2016. Residential roofing product sales increased 8.3 per cent, non-residential roofing product sales declined 4.7 per cent, and complementary product sales increased 15.7 per cent over the prior year. Net income for the third quarter was $44.7 million, compared to $41.1 million in 2016. Adjusted net income was $51.4 million in the quarter, compared to $46.6 million in 2016. Third quarter results were positively impacted by sustained strength in residential roofing, strong complementary products demand, and attractive operating cost leverage.

Income Down For Huttig

Huttig Building Products had net sales of $198.7 million in the second quarter of 2017, up slightly from net sales of $197.9 million in the second quarter of 2016. Net income for the quarter was $2.2 million, down from $10.4 million in the year-ago period. Operating expenses increased $5.9 million to $38.1 million in 2017, compared to $32.2 million in 2016.

TIMBER MART Sets Buying Show Dates

TIMBER MART has set the dates for its 2018 buying show. The ‘2018 TIMBER MART National Buying Show’ offers exclusive opportunities for TIMBER MART members with show deals, learning experiences, and networking opportunities. It takes place February 16 and 17, 2018, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, QC. For more information, visit

August 10, 2017

Multi-family Dwellings Drive Building Permits

Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits in June, up 2.5 per cent from May and the second highest value on record, says Statistics Canada. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings were mainly responsible for the national increase. All building components reported gains in June, except for single-family dwellings. The total value of building permits rose in six provinces in June, led by Quebec and Manitoba. Meanwhile, construction intentions were up in 14 of 36 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), led by Toronto, ON; Montréal, QC; and Winnipeg, MB. The value of residential building permits fell 0.9 per cent in June to $5 billion, the fourth decrease in five months. The decline was mainly the result of lower construction intentions in four provinces, notably Ontario. In June, the value of permits for single-family dwellings decreased 12.5 per cent to $2.4 billion.

Castle Welcomes New CBS Member

Crossroads C & I has joined Castle Building Centres Limited as a Commercial Building Supply (CBS) member. Crossroads’ Central & Eastern Divisions operate nine locations in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. The company’s regional head office is in Toronto, ON. Crossroads C & I specializes in the distribution of commercial and industrial insulation products and accessories. Established in 1963, it has supplied more than 50 million square feet of products to date to commercial contractors, architects, engineers, and project specifiers. Bob Fellows, regional director for central and eastern Canada, says the company looks forward to expanding its product assortment through the CBS division.

thisopenspace Offers Shopify To Pop-ups

thisopenspace, a marketplace for short-term retail space, now offers a way to make pop-up shops more accessible to brands and entrepreneurs. thisopenspace will combine its inventory of short-term retail spaces with Shopify's leading point-of-sale technology to deliver turnkey access for the commerce platform's hundreds of thousands of merchants while enabling thisopenspace's community of 20,000+ brands to power their next pop-up using Shopify. thisopenspace aims to provide brands with the resources they need through brick-and-mortar retail. Users will have access to a network of retail locations equipped with Shopify's Swipe Card Readers, as well as up to 20 high-traffic retail spaces that will be outfitted with a robust retail package including receipt printers, cash drawers, iPads and iPad stands, and barcode scanners.

Solid Growth Forecast For Grass Trimmer Market

The global grass trimmer market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than four per cent until 2021, finds a study by Technavio. This positive trend is influenced by growth in urbanization and increases in commercial construction activities, as well as a rising interest in do-it-yourself (DIY) activities and residential landscaping services. The three main types of grass trimmer are gas-based, electric, and cordless. Electric grass trimmers are the most commonly and widely used grass trimmers as they are simple to use and do not require constant charging like battery-operated grass trimmers.

Emerson Has Double-digit Increase

Emerson had net sales of $4 billion for the third quarter of 2017, a 10 per cent increase over net sales in the third quarter of 2016. Operating cash flow from continuing operations was $774 million for the quarter, a 23 per cent increase of the year-ago period. The automation solutions segment net sales increased 12 per cent for the third quarter compared to the corresponding period in 2016. The commercial and residential solutions segment net sales increased seven per cent year over year. Adjusted sales in North America for this segment increased six per cent, with continued strength in air conditioning and refrigeration markets and solid demand for tools including construction tools.

Sales Strong For LP

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) had net sales of $694 million for the second quarter of 2017, up from net sales of $582 million in the second quarter of 2016. Net income for the quarter was $95 million compared to $32 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $164 million compared to $99 million in the year-ago period. The siding segment had net sales of $231 million for the second quarter; the oriented strand board (OSB) segment had net sales of $325 million; and the engineered wood products segment (EWP) segment had net sales of $94 million.

Registration Open For ‘Buildings Show 2017’

Registration is open for ‘The Buildings Show 2017,’ a sourcing, networking, and educational event for North American design, architecture, construction, and real estate communities. Attendees will have access to exhibits, seminars, panels, roundtables, tours, meetings, and parties. The exposition made up of ‘Construct Canada,’ ‘HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo,’ ‘IIDEXCanada,’ ‘PM Expo,’ and ‘World of Concrete Pavilion.’ It takes place November 29 to December 1 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit Building Show

August 9, 2017

Mixed Economic Outlook Helped By Strong Construction Gains

Sherbrooke, QC, is forecast to post the fastest economic growth among Quebec's medium-sized metropolitan areas this year at two per cent, says the Conference Board of Canada. Trois-Rivières, QC, will be only slightly behind with a 1.7 per cent gain. On the other hand, Saguenay's economy is on track to grow by only 0.9 per cent in 2017, still a notable improvement over the 0.3 per cent increase recorded last year. Nationwide, the pace of economic growth in Abbotsford-Mission, BC, is anticipated to ease to 2.3 per cent this year and will manage a top-three performance among the 15 medium-sized Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) in the Conference Board of Canada's ‘Metropolitan Outlook: Summer 2017.’ Among the 15 cities covered in the report, Oshawa, ON, will have the fastest growing economy this year. Additionally, the manufacturing industry is anticipated to be the CMA's fastest-growing industry in 2017 thanks to a below-par Canadian dollar and a healthy U.S. economy. The metro areas’ construction sector output is also forecast to make healthy gains this year thanks to solid residential and non-residential building activity.

Cobra Anchors Invests In Montreal Plant

Cobra Anchors Co. Ltd, a privately held Quebec company of masonry and hollow wall anchors, has invested $8.2 million in its Montreal plant. The company expanded the plant by 29,000 square feet, so it now totals 117,000 square feet. It also invested in new machinery, automation, and robotics.

OnDeck Partners With Payment Source

Small business online lending provider OnDeck has partnered with Payment Source, a retail distribution network for prepaid products in Canada, to offer Payment Source's ‘Now Prepay’ customers access to the OnDeck online small business lending platform. The Now Prepay program provides prepaid mobile top ups, gift cards, and financial products and services to more than 15,000 retailers throughout Canada. The OnDeck lending solution will offer retail merchants a seamless experience and provide them with the opportunity to apply for capital required to fund core growth initiatives.

Moneris Launches iPad POS Solution

Moneris Solutions Corporation has introduced a range of complete iPad Point-of-Sale (POS) Solutions to help increase business efficiency for retail and restaurant businesses. Moneris iPad POS Solutions bundle software, hardware, and Moneris Installation Services to help businesses get their payment systems up and running quickly. Businesses purchasing an iPad POS Solution also get Moneris concierge services, a dedicated point of contact to help ensure a smooth transition to their new solution. Nearly 80 per cent of consumers own a smartphone, yet half of small business are sill using standard cash registers, says research by Moneris. Businesses can customize their Moneris iPad POS Solution with software that best suits their style of operations.

Twedt Has New Role

Jill Twedt is vice-president, legal and corporate secretary, with Boise Cascade Company. She joined the company as senior counsel in 2007 and leads the company’s compliance committee.

Armstrong Sales Up

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. had net sales of $330.8 million for the second quarter of 2017, a 5.2 per cent increase over net sales of $314.3 million for the second quarter of 2016. Operating income for the quarter was $78.4 million, an increase of 51.6 per cent versus operating income of $51.7 million a year ago. Net sales for the Americas segment were $225.6 million for the quarter, an increase of five per cent over net sales of $214.8 million. Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $88 million versus $80 million, a 9.4 per cent increase.

Lumber Liquidators In Black Again

Lumber Liquidators had net sales of $263.5 million for the second quarter of 2017, a 10.7 per cent increase over net sales of $238.1 million for the second quarter of 2016. Net sales in comparable stores increased 8.8 per cent for the quarter. Gross profit for the second quarter was $97.5 million, a 38.1 per cent increase over gross profit of $70.6 million in the year-ago period. Gross margin increased to 37 per cent from 29.7 per cent. Net income for the quarter was $4.5 million versus a net loss of $12.2 million in the corresponding period in 2016.

August 8, 2017

Residential Sales Strong In Montréal Area

There were 3,075 residential sales concluded in the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in July, a 16 per cent increase compared to July 2016, says the Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB). This was the most active month of July in eight years. All five main areas of the Montréal CMA registered an increase in sales in July, with the Island of Montréal (+21 per cent) and Vaudreuil-Soulanges (+19 per cent) leading the way. Condominium sales increased by 24 per cent across the CMA, with 1,071 transactions concluded. This was the third consecutive month that condo sales have increased by more than 20 per cent. Single-family homes also turned in an excellent performance, as sales of this property category grew by 13 per cent. Plex sales were also on the rise, increasing by two per cent compared to July of last year. The number of residential properties listed on the real estate brokers' Centris system (24,412) decreased by 15 per cent compared to July of last year.

Allan’s Celebrates 40 Years

Allan's Home Hardware Building Centre in Cochrane, ON, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The store is owned by Greg Shanks, who says, “Our biggest contribution to our community is one of service, caring, and getting involved in all issues that affects our community. We, as a store, pride ourselves in being able to laugh together and enjoy the Home Hardware family. That is our greatest joy. Thank you to all our staff and the community of Cochrane for over 40 years of enjoyment.” The retailer held a customer appreciation barbecue to celebrate on July 21.

Dollar Value Of U.S. Construction Slides

During the first half of 2017, eight of the top 10 metropolitan U.S. markets for commercial and multi-family construction starts ranked by dollar volume registered decreased activity compared to a year ago, says Dodge Data & Analytics. At the same time, metropolitan markets ranked 11 through 20 showed growth for nine of the 10 markets, as smaller geographic areas are picking up the slack from the deceleration underway in those cities that have led the commercial and multi-family upturn over the past several years. At the national level, the volume of commercial and multi-family construction starts during the first half of 2017 was $87.5 billion, down nine per cent from last year’s first half, although still a slight one per cent above what was reported during the first half of 2015. The New York, NY, metropolitan area maintained its number one ranking and comprised 12 per cent of the U.S. commercial and multi-family total, but was down 22 per cent from a year ago. Los Angeles, CA, was down 15 per cent; Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, was down 29 per cent; and Boston, MA, was down 27 per cent. For those markets ranked 11 through 20 in the first half of 2017, the only decline was reported for Denver, CO, down 16 per cent from a year ago.

Orgill Makes Sales Appointments

Erik Schlaud is vice-president of sales, Canada division, with Orgill. He has been with the company since 1998, most recently as district manager for Canada. Myron Boswell is vice-president of sales for mid-America and east divisions in the U.S. He was previously vice-president of sales for mid-America and Canada. He replaces Bobby Massingill, who retired after 26 years of service.

Trex Sales Up Eight Per Cent

Trex Company, Inc. had net sales of $157.9 million for the second quarter of 2017, an eight per cent increase over net sales of $246.5 per cent for the second quarter of 2016. Gross margin for the quarter was 45.6 per cent, a 370 basis-point expansion from the 41.9 per cent reported in the second quarter of 2016. Net income was $28.8 million, a 22 per cent increase over net income of $23.7 million a year ago.

Weyerhaeuser Sales Up

Weyerhaeuser Company had earnings from continuing operations of $24 million for the second quarter of 2017 versus earnings from continuing operations of $130 million for the second quarter of 2016. Net earnings were $212 million. Net sales were $1.8 billion for the quarter compared to net sales of $1.7 billion for the second quarter last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $506 million versus $413 million a year ago. Sales for the wood products segment were $1,293 million. The company says sales increased across all product lines in the second quarter, while sales volumes for lumber and engineered wood products were higher.

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