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March 6, 2018

Aqmat Recognizes Best In Quebec

Aqmat, Quebec’s hardware and building supply association, celebrated the best in the industry in Quebec last weekend at its ‘6th Gala Reconnaissance.’ The awards included the rising star to Karine Landry, manager, Centre du bricoleur RONA, Lachine; best manager to Marc-André Gagné, general manager, RONA Sorel; society award to RONA Centre du Bricoleur, Lachine; heritage award to the Audet family, RONA Matériaux Audet, Saint-Marc-des-Carrières; specialty award to RONA Matériaux Luc Doucet, Normandin; sales and customer service to the Canwel customer service team; years of service to Stéphane Rousseau at Isolofoam Group and Julie Bilodeau, sales manager, Émile Bilodeau & Fils (Timber Mart), Saint-Bernard; human resources to Martin Lecomte, vice-president retail, BMR Group; social and humanitarian commitment to SamaN; outstanding marketing to Potvin & Bouchard (BMR), Saguenay; business strategies to Ben-Mor Cables; business strategies to BMR Ostiguy & Brothers, Chambly; succession to Millette, Millette & Fils family; and invention of value to BBQ Québec. Every year, the gala recognizes the achievements of businesses and individuals in the hardware and LBM sector. Attributed by an independent jury composed of industry professionals, these awards honour the hardware and LBM industry’s best businesses, innovative products, and deserving employees. Of the 16 awards handed out during the evening, eight went to stores and their employees.


Demographic Groups Differ In Approach To Home Improvements

U.S. homeowners across generations are planning to make some type of home improvement in the next year, with 79 per cent of Millennials, 67 per cent of Gen Xers, and 49 per cent of Boomers indicating they will do so, says a survey by Valassis. The high percentage of Millennial home improvers is not a surprise, especially given that they are the largest segment of new homeowners today. However, when it comes to annual spending on home improvement projects, the Boomers lead the way at $2,799, followed by Gen Xers at $2,652, and Millennials at 2,412. Among homeowners who did or are planning home improvement projects, 71 per cent of Millennials took more than three months to research compared to 57 per cent of all homeowners. When it comes to advertising, 65 per cent of Millennials go to the retailer featured in a manufacturer’s advertisement to make a purchase compared to 53 per cent of all consumers. As well, 75 per cent of Millennials (versus 67 per cent of all consumers) are motivated to make a purchase due to a special deal or promotion.


Experienced Employees Improve Productivity

eCommerce companies looking to control costs and improve productivity should be doing more to reduce employee turnover and keep experienced workers on the job, shows research from the Wisconsin School of Business. In fact, experienced ‘pick-workers’ significantly reduce pick times and can improve productivity, says Peter Kerwin. In his article, ‘Experienced Employees Improve eCommerce Productivity,’ he discusses customer expectations and how companies can improve the bottom line. The article is available here on the Home Improvement Retailing website.


Mann Joins LP

Timothy Mann Jr. is executive vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP). Most recently, he was chief executive officer and president of Axiall Corp, where he initially served as general counsel.


RONA To Co-present Montreal Home Show

RONA, a banner of Lowe’s Canada, will be co-presenter of the ‘Montreal National Home Show.’ The company will occupy a 6,000-square-foot space in the centre of the venue and display products for summer, patio, barbecue, and outdoors. It will also have a dedicated section for installation services and a 2,000-square-foot section that will showcase appliances. Customers that present a RONA invoice for purchases carried out in the month before the show will be granted free admission on May 13. As well, Lowe’s Canada will be a major partner of the Maison Enfant Soleil built by Bonneville, which will be on display at the show. Starting April 6, Lowe’s Canada via its network of RONA and Reno-Depot stores throughout Quebec, will sell $10 tickets for the draw for the Maison Enfant Soleil. The winner will receive a prize worth $500,000 which includes a decorated and furnished Angeline house and a grant for the purchase of a lot in the city of their choice. The show takes place March 9 to 18 at Place Bonaventure in Montréal, QC. For more information, visit lowes.ca or https://salonnationalhabitation.com/en


Sales Rise At Foundation

Foundation Building Materials, Inc. had consolidated net sales of $516.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an 11.8 per cent increase over consolidated net sales of $462.2 for the fourth quarter of 2016. Consolidated gross profit for the quarter was $153.6 million compared to $132.3 million, representing an increase of 16.2 per cent. Gross margin was 29.7 per cent compared to 28.6 per cent year-over-year. This increase in gross margin was primarily due to an increase in margins in wallboard and suspended ceiling systems. Net income was $75.9 million compared to a net loss of $8.8 million a year ago. Specialty building products segment net sales increased 10.8 per cent year-over-year while mechanical insulation segment net sales increased 18.4 per cent.


March 5, 2018

Most Businesses Compromise Mobile Security

Organizations across numerous industries compromise data security because of speed-to-market priorities and lack of threat awareness, says a report by Verizon. It says as mobility becomes more integral to business operations in today’s digital economy – from supply chain management to IoT-enabled sensors to customer-facing mobile apps – protecting mobile platforms is critical. Nearly a third (32 per cent) of organizations admit they sacrifice mobile security to improve business performance even though 93 per cent of organizations agree that mobile devices present a serious and growing threat. Seventy-nine per cent of companies say that disruption of their business operations is an even greater threat than the theft of data. As well, 79 per cent of the organizations fear that employee misuse, either accidentally or intentionally, is a significant concern; 39 per cent of organizations that allow employees to use their own devices for business purposes ranked this as their top concern. Yet, less than one-third of organizations use mobile endpoint security and less than half use device encryption. Verizon says that securing mobile devices that connect to public and private networks and platforms is paramount for protecting corporate assets and brand integrity.


JELD-WEN Makes Acquisitions

JELD-WEN Holding, Inc. has acquired A&L Windows Pty Ltd. (A&L) and plans to acquire American Building Supply, Inc. (ABS). A&L is an Australian manufacturer of residential aluminum windows and patio doors. Founded in 1980, it has a network of manufacturing facilities and showrooms across the eastern seaboard of Australia. ABS supports distributors, dealers, and home centres with a broad product range of doors, frames, and hardware for both residential and commercial markets. Through its Doormerica division, ABS manufactures decorative, specialty, and architectural doors. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.


TIMBER MART Extends Hockey Canada Partnership

TIMBER MART has renewed its agreement with Hockey Canada as an international partner through 2022, retaining marketing and activation rights to the organization’s national championships, and select IIHF events on Canadian ice and around the world. They originally partnered in 2010 and at the IIHF World Junior Championship hosted in Toronto, ON, and Montreal, QC, TIMBER MART launched its ‘Sharp Shooter/FanPhoto’ contest to engage Canadians online and encourage them to show what hockey means to them through photos. Under the renewal, TIMBER MART will retain its status as an international partner for four more years and will engage with many of its vendor partners in its Hockey Canada promotions.


CertainTeed Products Available On HOVER

CertainTeed has partnered with HOVER, a platform that generates an interactive 3D model of a property, allowing contractors to get measurements. Contractors who work with CertainTeed roofing and siding products can now use HOVER’s design features to show homeowners what CertainTeed products and colours will look like on their home. HOVER works for nearly any home and generates wall measurements from a few photos taken with the app. The platform is available from the App or Google Play Store. First-time users can try out the platform for 30 days.


Voorhees Takes Over At Rust-Oleum

Edward J. Voorhees III is chief executive officer of Rust-Oleum North America, a division of RPM International Inc. He has served as president for the company for more than 12 years. He replaces Thomas E. Reed, who will assume the position of chairman when he retires in September.


UFPI Has Solid Earnings

Universal Forest Products, Inc. (UFPI) had EBITDA of $57 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 16 per cent over EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2016. Net sales for the quarter were $966.1 million, a 12 per cent increase over net sales of $859.6 million a year ago. Net earnings were $33.2 million compared to $22.2 million. Gross retail sales were $330.6 million for the quarter, up 20 per cent over the year-ago period. Gross sales for the construction segment were $305.8 million, a 10 per cent increase. The industrial segment gross sales increased nine per cent to $345.1 million.


GreenON To Host Tiny Home With Rebate Upgrades

The Green Ontario Fund (GreenON), is hosting the first-ever 'Rebate Homeshow' – a custom-built, tiny home that showcases how Ontarians can reduce their carbon footprint in their own homes, through green upgrades and money saving rebates. The Rebate Homeshow will pop-up from March 2 to 4 at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, before moving to the National Home Show from March 9 to 18. The National Home Show takes place at the Exhibition Centre in Toronto. For more information, visit nationalhomeshow.com or www.greenon.ca


March 2, 2018

Retail Sales Correction May Be Underway

Total Canadian location-based retail sales were up 6.7 per cent in 2017 versus the previous year ‒ the best result since 1997 and a 20-year high. However, a correction may already be underway, says Ed Strapagiel, a retail consultant. If eCommerce sales by non-store retailers were also included in retail sales, it would add about 1.5 per cent to the 2017 growth rate. Strapagiel says that over the last five years, the automotive and related sector clearly contributed the most to overall sales growth, with the food and drug sector a clear disappointment. At the same, the store merchandise sector had strong results. The yearly growth trend strengthened for almost two years and then flattened out in mid-2017. This may be more of a correction rather than a collapse, he says. He notes that the two biggest “winners” in 2017 were electronics and appliance stores with retail sales up 12.8 per cent and building material and garden equipment/supplies dealers close behind with an increase of 12.7 per cent.


Lowe's Collaborates With Habitat For Humanity Canada

Lowe's Canada is collaborating with Habitat for Humanity Canada by donating close to $1 million in products and building materials to Habitat for Humanity ReStores while over 100 employees help build homes on the organization's construction sites. Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada has been building affordable homes that provide families with a solid foundation for better, healthier lives in Canada. Habitat homeowners volunteer up to 500 hours with Habitat and pay an interest-free, affordable mortgage – geared to their income – to buy their own home.


Transparency-One Updates Platform

Transparency-One has added new functionalities to its platform for partners in the supply chain – from raw material suppliers to consumer-facing brands. They can use the platform to simultaneously manage supply chain mapping, compliance, and sustainability data as well as batch and purchase order (PO) traceability information for increased accuracy. The company has expanded its data analytics to include product transactions such as batches, lots, and POs. This enables companies to integrate their existing ERP data with Transparency-One's supply chain mapping platform to increase visibility for their most critical supply chains. The platform supports GS1's GTIN, GPC, and GLN standards. Users can choose their desired level of granularity not just for each supply chain but for each individual component.


Hachigian To Lead JELD-WEN

Kirk S. Hachigian, chairman of the board with JELD-WEN Holding, Inc., will assume the duties of chief executive officer on an interim basis while the board of directors searches for a new CEO. He was formerly CEO of the company. Mark Beck, who was president and chief executive officer, has departed from the company by mutual agreement.


Lumber Liquidators Sales Up

Lumber Liquidators had net sales of $260 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 6.1 per cent over net sales in the fourth quarter of 2016. Comparable store net sales increased 4.5 per cent for the quarter. Gross margin was 35.4 per cent compared with 32.9 per cent in the prior-year period. Operating profit was $600,000 compared to an operating loss of $9.2 million and net income was $3 million compared to a net loss of $5.5 million.


Taiga Has Sales Gains

Taiga Building Products Ltd. had consolidated net sales of $329.8 million for the third quarter of its fiscal 2017 year, an increase of 18.9 per cent compared to consolidated net sales of $277.4 million for the third quarter of its 2016 fiscal year. The company says the increase was largely due to increased demand for products in all segments and higher commodity prices. Gross margin for the quarter increased to $27.4 million from $22.2 million year-over-year. Gross margin percentage increased to 8.3 per cent compared to eight per cent. The company had a net loss of $15.2 million compared to a net loss of $200,000 in the year-ago period.


March 1, 2018

Earnings Lower For Lowe’s

Lowe's Companies, Inc. had net earnings of $554 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, a decrease compared to net earnings of $663 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Sales were $15.5 billion for the quarter compared to sales of $15.8 billion in the year-ago period. Gross margin was 33.73 per cent from 34.41 per cent in the same period a year ago. Operating income was $1.1 billion versus 1.3 billion last year.


GTA Home Sales Dip

In January, sales of new single-family homes in the Greater Toronto, ON, Area (GTA) hit their lowest level for January since before 2000, says the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Single-family homes, including detached, link and semi-detached houses, and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), represented only 365 units out of the 1,251 new homes sold in January. Condominium apartments in low-, medium-, and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses, and loft units accounted for 70.8 per cent of new home sales, with 886 units sold. The new home market saw a very slight increase in supply in January, to 11,750 units, from 11,397 units in December. This is still well below what is considered a healthy level. A healthy new home market should have nine to 12 months' worth of inventory and right now inventory is at about three to four months, based on the pace of sales in the past 12 months.


DowDuPont Names Independent Companies

DowDuPont has announced the corporate brand names that each of its divisions will assume once they are separated as independent companies in 2019. While certain product names will change at separation, many products within each intended company will continue be sold under their current, widely known brand names. The specialty products company, which includes brands such as Tyvek, Styrofoam, and Corian, will become DuPont. The agriculture company will assume the name Corteva Agriscience. The materials science company will maintain the Dow name. The name changes are part of the strategy to create three, strong independent companies and brands that each have highly-differentiated products and solutions, the company says.


Arrow Increases Website Content

Arrow Fastener Company will launch dozens of videos to its website, including project tutorials by in-house Arrow experts, creative crafts by popular DIY bloggers, and maintenance videos on how to load or unjam a staple gun. The company says content like tutorials and DIY tips are continuously added to the site under the dedicated projects section so that there is always new information. The company also solicits help from DIY bloggers to demonstrate projects and crafts and the tools they use. As well, the site includes product information to help customers understand Arrow’s complete range of solutions, including technical data, videos, and project case studies.


La Coop fédérée Revenues Steady

La Coop fédérée had consolidated revenues of $6.3 billion for its fiscal 2017 year, even with consolidate revenues of $6.3 billion in its fiscal 2016 year. Earnings before patronage refunds and income taxes were $351 million compared to $275 million the previous year. Operating earnings were $319 million for the year versus operating earnings of $256 million. The company declares patronage funds of $88 million for the year, representing $33 million, or 60 per cent, more than the level declared in 2016. It also says the BMR division results improved both financially and operationally.


Top Talent Honoured At AQMAT Gala

Passion, talent, and hard work in the world of hardware and building materials will be rewarded at AQMAT’s ‘Gala Reconnaissance.’ AQMAT, Quebec’s hardware and building supply association, will also honour the best companies, the most innovative products, and top talent from across the province. It takes place March 3 at Château Frontenac in Quebec City, QC. For more information, visit http://gala.aqmat.org


February 28, 2018

Budget ‘Somewhat Less Harmful’

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the 2018 federal budget may be somewhat less harmful than originally expected, but will not improve the overall health or competitiveness of the nation's entrepreneurs. It commented onsections of the budget that cover taxing passive investments, competitiveness, and new costs and ongoing deficits. "While we compliment the government for rethinking its plans for taxing passive investments, it remains to be seen how significant this improvement will be," says Dan Kelly, CFIB president. "The new rules appear to be simpler and may improve things for some business owners from the earlier proposals, but others will lose the benefit of the lower small business rate due to past investments." The new plan ends the benefit of ‘grandfathering’ past investments from the earlier proposal. On competitiveness, it says the tax changes for small business remain a billion-dollar take-away from entrepreneurs at a time when entrepreneurs in the U.S. are seeing their tax bills drop considerably. As well, Kelly says, "It is important to keep in mind that Canada's SMEs are facing massive new cost pressures in the coming years, including five years of CPP/QPP hikes, five years of carbon tax/pricing increases, and higher minimum wages in several provinces. On top of that, entrepreneurs know that today's deficits are tomorrow's taxes. The lack of a plan to get Canada out of deficit spending is deeply troubling."


Single-homes Leads Strong Annual New Housing Investment

Nationally, investment in new housing construction totalled $57.3 billion in 2017, up 8.9 per cent or $4.7 billion compared with 2016, says Statistics Canada. This marked the largest annual increase since 2012, when investment in apartment building construction accounted for 54.9 per cent of the total increase in new housing construction. In comparison, growth in spending in apartment building construction represented 16.4 per cent of the total investment gains in 2017. Single home construction ($2.7 billion) led the total annual increase, followed by row home construction, which posted the second largest year-over-year total increase ($839.7 million). Investment in new housing construction rose in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. Conversely, Saskatchewan reported a year-over-year decline.


Spectrum Brands To Become Independent

Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. plans to combine with HRG Group, Inc., a holding company with shares of Spectrum Brands as its principal holding. As a result, HRG shareholders will effectively hold HRG’s interest in Spectrum Brands. Following the transaction, the current Spectrum Brands management team will lead the combined company. In addition, HRG’s board will be replaced by the Spectrum Brands board. The combined company will be named Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. and will be an independent company. The transaction, which is expected to close by the third quarter of 2018, will not have an impact on the previously announced plans for Spectrum Brands’ global battery and appliance businesses.


Uniboard Renews FSC Certification

Uniboard has renewed its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, reaffirming its leadership in sustainability and responsible procurement. Uniboard, in line with its values of environmental stewardship, says it was the first company in Canada to migrate successfully to the new FSC Controlled Wood Standard. It had to meet a new audit program, which included a new risk assessment.


Roseburg Makes Changes

Ashlee Cribb is vice-president of structural products with Roseburg Forest Products. Previously, she held several roles at Georgia-Pacific, most recently as vice-president of industrial packaging with profit and loss responsibility for the commercial organization as well as 11 manufacturing sites. Mark Avery is senior vice-president of industrial products and national accounts. Previously, he was vice-president, composites business, and logistics. He has been with the company since 2011.


Lumber Demand Drives Canfor Income

Canfor Corporation had operating income of $214.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase over operating income of $74 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Sales for the quarter were $1,182.2 million versus $1,043.5 million in the year-ago period. Net income was $152.6 million compared to $44.2 million and adjusted net income was $114.8 million versus $84.6 million. Adjusted operating income was $190.8 million versus $134.3 million. The company says North American lumber demand remained solid in the quarter.


Tax Legislation Helps Continental Income

Continental Building Products, Inc. had net sales of $131.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an 11.1 per cent increase over net sales of $118.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The company says higher wallboard volumes contributed to the gain. Net income was $24.2 million, an increase of 92.5 per cent compared to $12.6 million a year ago, due in part to recently enacted tax legislation. Adjusted net income increased 22.2 per cent to $15.4 million. EBITDA was $37.2 million, up 10.1 per cent over EBITDA of $33.8 million in the year-ago period.


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