Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


June 13, 2018

Payment Systems To Drive Online Spending

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

Knauf, USG Reach Agreement

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

Armstrong World Industries Acquires Plasterform, Inc.

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

Pien Joins LIXIL Americas

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

June 12, 2018

Retail ‘Shrink’ Shrinks Over Last Year

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

Structural Plywood, OSB Exempt From Ruling

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

RONA Dealer Walking To Fight ALS

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

Generac Closes Selmec Acquisition

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

Energizer, Spectrum File For Merger Review

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

Odom Has New Role

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

June 11, 2018

May Housing Starts Dip

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

RONA Hope Opens New Store

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

IKEA To Eliminate Single-use Plastics

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

Flexiti Acquires TDFS Portfolio

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

Kohltech Named Best Managed

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

IoT Events Takes Over Dx3

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

Michel To Lead JELD-WEN

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

June 8, 2018

Small Increase In Montreal Residential Sales

A total of 5,303 residential sales were concluded in the Montreal, QC, census metropolitan area (CMA) in May, a one per cent increase compared to May of 2017, says the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB). This was the 39th consecutive increase in residential sales in the Montréal area. Geographically, the South Shore led the way with a 12 per cent jump in sales. This was followed by Laval, where the number of transactions rose by four per cent. On the North Shore (zero per cent), on the Island of Montreal (-1 per cent), and in Vaudreuil-Soulanges (-1 per cent) sales levels were similar to those registered in May of last year. The only area to post a significant decrease in sales was that of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, at -28 per cent. Once again, condominiums set the tone for the market as the number of transactions increased by 14 per cent. Plexes also performed well, as sales rose by four per cent compared to May of last year. Sales of single-family homes decreased six per cent. The median price of single-family homes across the Montreal CMA stood at $325,000 in May, up three per cent year-over-year.

May Dodge Momentum Index Inches Up

The Dodge Momentum Index eked out a small gain in May, moving 1.8 per cent higher to 167.8 from the revised April reading of 164.9. The index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for non-residential building projects in planning in the U.S., which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. May’s gain was the result of a 4.7 per cent increase by the commercial component of the index, while the institutional component fell 2.4 per cent. The index has posted solid gains through the first five months of 2018, rising 19 per cent from the same period of 2017 and reaching a level not seen since mid-2008. However, the upturn to this point shows that the current expansion has been more drawn out than what occurred during the previous cyclical expansion.

Western Entrepreneurs With Disabilities Get Support

Western Economic Diversification Canada's ‘Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program,’ a government of Canada initiative, is teaming up with organizations who are actively working to remove barriers faced by western Canadians with disabilities. This includes assisting entrepreneurs with disabilities in reaching their full business potential. The program provides access to a network of professionals who provide business information, training and development, mentoring, and one-on-one counseling services. It was launched during ‘National AccessAbility Week’ as part of the government’s commitment to providing all Canadians an equal opportunity to contribute to, and prosper from, a strong and growing economy. For more information, visit WEDC

Giant Tiger Opens Rouyn-Noranda Store

Giant Tiger has opened a store in Rouyn-Noranda, QC. The 21,000-square-foot store will be stocked with home and family fashions, groceries, and everyday necessities.

FCL Makes Moves

Patrick Smith is vice-president, retail operations, with Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL). He was previously associate vice-president retail operations, a position he has held since 2013. He succeeds Gerard Muyres, who has retired. Ron Healey is vice-president, ag and consumer business, effective July 3. He has been with the company since 2012, most recently as associate vice-president, ag and home. He succeeds Brad Bauml, who is also retiring.

First Quarter Sales Rise At Dollarama

Dollarama Inc. had sales of $756.1 million for the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 7.3 per cent over sales of $704.9 million in the first quarter of 2017. Comparable store sales grew 2.6 per cent for the quarter, over and above 4.6 per cent growth the previous year. Gross margin was unchanged at 37.6 per cent of sales. The company had EBITDA of $170.2 million, up 9.2 per cent on EBITDA of $155.8 in the year-ago period. EBITDA was 22.5 per cent of sales versus 22.1 per cent. Net earnings increased to $101.6 million compared to $94.7 million a year ago.

June 7, 2018

Building Value Declines

Municipalities issued $7.8 billion worth of building permits in April, down 4.6 per cent from March, say Statistics Canada. Declines were reported in every component except commercial buildings. In the residential sector, the value of permits issued by municipalities fell 4.3 per cent to $5.1 billion in April. Five provinces posted declines led by British Columbia. In the multi-family dwelling component, municipalities issued $2.7 billion worth of building permits in April, down 5.2 per cent from March. Four provinces contributed to the drop, with British Columbia and Alberta recording the largest decreases. The value of single-family permits fell 3.3 per cent to $2.3 billion, a fourth consecutive monthly decline. Eight provinces registered declines, led by Ontario and British Columbia. Conversely, Alberta recorded the largest gain, up $46 million from March. Municipalities approved the construction of 19,372 new dwellings in April, up 3.6 per cent from the previous month. The value of industrial permits fell 22.6 per cent in April to $510 million. The decline stemmed from lower construction intentions for agricultural buildings, utilities buildings, and transportation terminals.

Masonite Acquires Assa Abloy Wood Door Division

Masonite International Corporation has completed the acquisition of the operating assets of the wood door companies of AADG, Inc., part of ASSA ABLOY, which includes the brands Graham Manufacturing Corporation and the Maiman Company. Graham provides the non-residential construction industry with a full range of architectural premium and custom-grade flush wood doors. Maiman is a manufacturer of architectural stile and rail wood doors, thermal fused flush wood doors, and wood door frames. The acquisition of these assets marks Masonite’s ninth acquisition in the last four years.

Retailers Need To Address Consumer Values

Retailers need to address the shift in consumer values and try to see where things are heading, says Chris Ross, research director at Gartner. Speaking on the topic of success through marketing at the ‘Gartner Digital Marketing Conference,’ he said due to polarization in government and big corporate culture, consumers are seeking serenity, security, and inclusion. “Consider how your brand could be addressing these shifts in values. Do you have a narrative about how your product or service can make people’s lives more serene, safe, and secure? Are you doing anything to advance the culture?” He added that small, local businesses already have an edge, as Gartner Iconoculture data shows that consumers overwhelmingly trust their local businesses (93 per cent) and small businesses (90 per cent). However, a marketing narrative has to be backed by products, services, and customer experiences that are consistent with brand positioning.

Steady Growth For Weather Resistant Barriers Through 2020

Total demand for weather resistant barriers in North America was valued at $4 billion in 2017 and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent through 2020 to reach almost $4.4 billion, says a report by Principia Consulting. Residential construction, led by roofing applications, accounts for the majority of market demand. For the residential market, although housewrap remains the dominant material for wall applications, other materials have made inroads. In roof applications, synthetic roofing underlayment has increased its share of the market significantly since 2010. The primary channel to market varies significantly depending on whether the application is for roof or wall. For roofing underlayment, one‐step distribution is the primary method with more than 50 per cent market share. Traditional distributors with a focus on roofing and siding products generally account for most of one‐step distribution sales of weather resistant barriers.

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