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 10, 2018

Canadian Tire Has Increased Sales

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited had an increase in consolidated retail sales of $147 million, or 3.6 per cent, in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the same period last year. Excluding petroleum, consolidated retail sales were up 1.6 per cent year-over-year. Consolidated revenue, excluding petroleum, increased $27.2 million, or 0.9 per cent, in the quarter. Retail segment revenue increased $93.7 million or three per cent year-over-year. Excluding petroleum, retail segment revenue increased 0.5 per cent. Canadian Tire Retail saw retail sales increase 2.3 per cent and comparable sales were up 2.0 per cent.

Government Secures Lower Card Cost Agreements

The government of Canada has secured separate and voluntary commitments from three payment card networks that will lead to lower costs for small- and medium-sized businesses. As part of these commitments, Visa and Mastercard will reduce domestic consumer interchange fees to an annual average effective rate of 1.4 per cent for a period of five years; narrow the range of interchange rates (lowest versus highest fee) charged to businesses; and require annual verification by an independent third party. American Express says it will support the government’s objectives of greater fairness and transparency in the credit card market. American Express operates a unique business model with fees other than interchange fees. The reduction in interchange fees is expected to save small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada $250 million per year, based on credit card sales of roughly $250 billion per year. For a medium-sized business with credit sales of $5 million per year, a 10 basis point reduction in interchange fees could allow for savings of up to $25,000 over five years. For smaller businesses with credit sales of $1 million per year, a 15 basis point reduction in interchange fees could allow for savings of up to $7,500 over five years. Due to the narrowing in the range of interchange fees, it is expected that small businesses will receive a greater reduction in interchange fees than large businesses, under the new agreements.

Armstrong To Acquire Steel Ceilings

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (AWI) will acquire the business and assets of Steel Ceilings, Inc. (SCI), a manufacturer of standard and custom aluminum and stainless metal ceilings, including architectural, radiant heating and cooling, and security solutions. The acquisition will advance AWI’s strategy to aggressively penetrate the architectural specialties segment and provide additional capabilities to sell into more spaces and sell more into every space.

Vancouver Property Sales Plummet

Residential property sales in the greater Vancouver, BC, region totaled 2,070 in July, a 30.1 per cent decrease from sales recorded in July of 2017, says the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). The sales represent a 14.6 per cent decrease over sales in June of this year and July’s sales were 29.3 per cent below the 10-year July average. There were 4,770 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Metro Vancouver in July. This represents a 9.2 per cent decrease compared to the 5,256 homes listed in July 2017 and a 9.6 per cent decrease compared to June 2018 when 5,279 homes were listed. The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS system in Metro Vancouver is 12,137, a 32 per cent increase compared to July 2017 (9,194) and a 1.6 per cent increase compared to June 2018 (11,947). For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for July 2018 is 17.1 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 9.9 per cent for detached homes, 20.2 per cent for townhomes, and 27.3 per cent for condominiums.

Berezowski Receives Retail Secure Lifetime Award

Don Berezowski, director of environmental health and safety at Walmart Canada, is the recipient of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) ‘Retail Secure 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.’ He has worked in the loss prevention/health and safety industry for more than 30 years. The award will be presented at ‘RCC Retail Secure 2018’ on September 20. The event takes place in Mississauga, ON. For more information, visit Retail Secure

Rayonier Income Goes Up

Rayonier Inc. had second quarter net income of $36.3 million on revenues of $245.9 million compared to net income of $26.2 million on revenues of $201 million in the prior-year quarter. Second quarter operating income was $51.6 million versus $46.9 million in the prior-year period. Second quarter adjusted EBITDA was $111.3 million versus $86.8. The southern timber segment had sales of $48 million for the quarter, an increase of 35 per cent over the second quarter of 2017. The Pacific northwest timber segment had sales of $32.2 million, an 58 per cent increase year-over-year.

Income Turns Around For Resolute

Resolute Forest Products Inc. had net income of $72 million in the second quarter of 2018, an increase over a net loss of $74 million in the second quarter of 2017. Sales were $976 million in the quarter, an increase of $188 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, net income was $66 million compared to a net loss of $3 million last year. Operating income was $121 million compared to $48 million in the first quarter of 2018, with higher prices as one of the drivers behind the increase. The wood products segment operating income improved by $26 million to $79 million from the first quarter to the second quarter. This increase is almost entirely attributable to the rise in average transaction price, says the company.

August 9, 2018

Building Permits Decrease In June

In June, Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits, down 2.3 per cent from the previous month, says Statistics Canada. The decline was the result of lower construction intentions for residential buildings, following a strong May. In the residential sector, municipalities issued $5.2 billion worth of building permits in June, down 5.7 per cent from May. New Brunswick was the only province to post an increase. The value of multi-family dwelling permits dropped eight per cent to $2.8 billion in June. This followed a record high of $3.1 billion the previous month. The value of permits in the single-family dwelling component was down 2.9 per cent to $2.4 billion in June. Municipalities approved the construction of 19,111 new dwellings in June, down 10.5 per cent from May. The decline was mainly attributable to a 14.3 per cent drop in multi-family dwellings to 13,667 new units. The number of new single-family dwellings increased 0.8 per cent to 5,444 new units. The value of building permits in the non-residential sector rose 4.6 per cent in June to $2.9 billion. Increases in Alberta and Ontario more than offset the declines in six provinces.

Slight Increase In Montreal Home Sales

There was a total of 3,201 residential sales completed in the Montreal, QC, census metropolitan area (CMA) in July, says the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB). This represents a one per cent increase compared to July of last year and an eight-year high for this month of the year. As well, this is the 41st consecutive month in which residential sales have increased in the Montreal area. Geographically, three of the Montreal CMA's six main areas registered an increase in sales in July. The South Shore, Vaudreuil-Soulanges, and the North Shore had increases, while the Island of Montréal, Laval, and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu had decreases. For the 10th consecutive month, the property category that registered the largest increase in sales was that of condominiums. The number of condo sales rose by six per cent in July, while sales of plexes increased by two per cent and sales of single-family homes decreased by two per cent.

Dodge Momentum Index Increases in July

The Dodge Momentum Index moved 1.4 per cent higher in July to 169.8 from the revised June reading of 167.3. The index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for U.S. non-residential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. In July, the commercial component of the index grew by 3.3 per cent, while the institutional component fell 1.5 per cent. The index has risen steadily since its slippage during the third quarter of 2017. Stronger economic growth and the support from still-healthy real estate market fundamentals (occupancies and rents) have contributed to these gains for construction projects at the planning stage, which have yet to be restrained by the uncertainty arising from higher material costs and higher interest rates.

Salary, Benefits Key For Job Seekers

The two most important pieces of information that job seekers and workers hone in on when researching job ads are salaries and benefits, says a survey of U.S. job seekers by Glassdoor. Other key information includes location, commute time, and employee reviews. The survey concludes that offering attractive benefits and perks is a key factor for enticing prospective employees. Job seekers says a good work-life balance, a great company culture, and familiarity with the brand are other factors that would make them more likely to apply for a job. Glassdoor says quality candidates are typically well-researched and go beyond job ads and look for a richer set of background data that includes benefits and employee reviews, among other specific traits about an employer. This means that employers should make information available to job candidates proactively, or they risk missing out on quality candidates applying.

Construction To Drive U.S. Plumbing Fixture Demand

U.S. demand for plumbing fixtures is forecast to increase 3.3 per cent per year through 2021 to $5.9 billion, says a report by ResearchAndMarkets. Rising building construction activity will drive demand gains. In the residential market, design trends calling for homes to have larger kitchens and additional bathrooms will further boost gains. Spending on plumbing fitting-intensive buildings such as schools and healthcare facilities will drive growth in the commercial market. The residential improvement and repair market accounts for nearly half of total plumbing fittings demand in the U.S. Going forward, many homeowners are expected to undertake bathroom and kitchen renovation projects to make their properties more luxurious while increasing property value. This will drive demand for a variety of fittings used including kitchen sinks, lavatories, bathtubs, and showers. Further demand gains will occur in the new residential market due to the construction of new homes built with larger kitchens and additional bathrooms in accordance with consumer tastes.

Frieson Joins Lowe’s

Donald E. Frieson is executive vice-president, supply chain, with Lowe’s Companies, Inc. He has more than 30 years of experience in operations and supply chain. Most recently, he served as chief operating officer of Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart.

Robust Sales For Weyerhaeuser

Weyerhaeuser Company had net earnings of $317 million on net sales of $2.1 billion for the second quarter of 2018. This compares to earnings of $24 million on net sales of $1.8 billion for the second quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $637 million compared with $506 million for the year-ago period. Average sales realizations for lumber and oriented strand board improved significantly compared with the first quarter and engineered wood products realizations increased modestly. Sales volumes rose seasonally for all product lines.

Foreign Currency Benefits Simpson Manufacturing

Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. had consolidated net sales of $308 million for the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 17.1 per cent compared to net sales of $263 million in the second quarter of 2017. North America net sales of $259.8 million increased 20.4 per cent from $215.7 million in the year-ago period. Canada's net sales were positively affected by foreign currency translation. Consolidated gross profit of $141.5 million increased 14.5 per cent from $123.5 million. Gross profit margin decreased to 45.9 per cent from 47 per cent mostly due to increased material costs. North America gross profit margin decreased to 47.6 per cent from 49.4 per cent. Consolidated net income was $44.1 million compared to net income of $28.2 million.

August 8, 2018

Toronto Home Sales Growth Strong

Residential sales in the Greater Toronto, ON, Area for July amounted to 6,961 – up 18.6 per cent compared to July 2017, says the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). New listings in July were down by 1.8 per cent year-over-year. Preliminary seasonal adjustment pointed to strong month-over-month increases of 6.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent for sales. TREB says seasonally adjusted sales were at the highest level for 2018. “We have certainly experienced an increase in demand for ownership housing so far this summer,” says Jason Mercer, director of market analysis. “It appears that some people who initially moved to the sidelines due to the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan and changes to mortgage lending guidelines have re-entered the market.”

Canadian Tire Partners With Petco

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited has partnered with Petco, a global pet specialty retailer. Canadian Tire now offers a variety of pet products, including Petco's assortment of food, treats, and accessories online and in stores. This partnership marks the retailer’s entry into the pet category. Petco sells products and services online and in 1,500 stores across the U.S. and Mexico.

Giant Tiger Opens Winnipeg Store

Giant Tiger has opened a store in Winnipeg, MB. The 18,304-square-foot store, located on Ellice Avenue, will offer home and family fashions, groceries, and everyday necessities.

LG Opens Artificial Intelligence Lab In Canada

LG Electronics Inc. (LG) has established an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab in Canada in partnership with the University of Toronto. The lab will be an extension of LG’s newly expanded LG Silicon Valley AI Lab in Santa Clara, CA. Supporting LG's vision of AI as a key future growth engine, the North American labs further enhance LG's global research capabilities, which include AI labs in South Korea, India, and Russia. Under its five-year, multi-million-dollar research partnership with the University of Toronto, LG will build on its Open Platform-Open Partnership-Open Connectivity strategy to expand the AI ecosystem. The lab will capitalize on the expertise of researchers at the University of Toronto who will now have the opportunity to work collaboratively with LG's growing U.S. and Canadian AI research and development teams. Complementing this work, LG intends to collaborate with and invest in North American start-ups.

Honeywell Spins Off Homes Business

Honeywell’s homes and ADI Global Distribution business will be spun off into an independent, publicly-traded company called Resideo. Under a long-term licensing agreement, the new company will market products bearing the Honeywell brand. When Resideo launches as a publicly traded, standalone company later this year, it will be a $4.5 billion enterprise. It will include a products division of professionally installed, do-it-yourself and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) technology solutions designed to make homeowners feel safe, secure, and comfortable, together with the low-voltage product distribution business, ADI Global Distribution.

Derek Miller Leads IHA

Derek Miller will be president of the International Housewares Association (IHA), effective October 1. Currently, he is vice-president, global marketing. He joined IHA in December 1999 as director, international business development, and was named vice-president, international services, in 2001. He succeeds Phil Brandl, who will retire at the end of the year.

Masco Has Sales Growth

Masco Corporation had net sales of $2.3 billion for the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 11 per cent compared to net sales of $2.1 billion in the second quarter of 2017. North American sales increased 12 per cent year-over-year. Operating profit decreased four per cent to $358 million and net income was $224 million for the quarter compared to $176 million in the same period a year ago. Plumbing products net sales increased nine per cent while decorative architectural products net sales increased 22 per cent due to the acquisition of Kichler and growth in paints and other coatings products and builders’ hardware. Cabinetry products net sales increased seven per cent due to strong growth in the repair and remodel business and windows and other specialty products net sales decreased seven per cent.

Sales Rise At Lumber Liquidators

Lumber Liquidators had net sales of $283.5 million for the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 7.6 per cent compared to net sales of $263.5 million in the second quarter of 2017. Net sales in comparable stores increased $12.3 million, or 4.7 per cent, driven by a 4.6 per cent increase in the average sale and by a 0.1 per cent increase in the number of customers invoiced. Gross profit increased four per cent in the quarter to $101.3 million from $97.5 million in the comparable period in 2017. Gross margin decreased to 35.7 per cent from 37 per cent. The company had an operating loss of $900,000, compared to operating income of $5.1 million. Net loss was $1.5 million compared to net income of $4.5 million.

Trex Sales Soar

Trex Company, Inc. had consolidated net sales of $207 million for the second quarter of 2018, a 31 per cent increase over net sales in the second quarter of 2017. Residential products net sales were up 20 per cent to $189 million and commercial products contributed an additional $17 million. Consolidated gross margin for the quarter was 44.1 per cent. Gross margin for residential products expanded 30 basis points to 45.9 per cent while gross margin for commercial products showed significant sequential improvement to 24.6 per cent. Net income for the quarter was $43 million, up 49 per cent from the net income of $29 million in the year-ago period.

August 7, 2018

U.S. Millennials Lead Remodeling Initiatives

Eighty per cent of U.S. homeowners plan to stay in their existing homes rather than move and, as a result, are planning to spend more on home improvement projects this year, says HomeAdvisor’s ‘True Cost Report.’ It shows that half of respondents are considering a remodel. Millennials are more likely than any other generation to remodel any part of their homes and they’re twice as likely as Baby Boomers to complete bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects. Millennials have also completed the most home projects in the past 12 months ‒ 72 per cent more, 42 per cent more, and 18 per cent more projects than the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, respectively. Five in six Millennials plan to spend as much or more on home improvements in the coming 12 months as they did last year, with more than half of Millennials expecting to spend more. Overall, homeowners spent an average of $6,649 on home improvements per household in the last 12 months. The majority of homeowners say they’re planning to spend as much or more on home improvements in the coming year with a heavy focus on cosmetic enhancements such as painting, landscaping, and remodeling.

Strong Quarter For Asphalt Shingle Shipments

Shipments of asphalt shingles in Canada increased 22.2 per cent in the second quarter to 4.5 million from 3.6 million in the second quarter of 2017, says the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA). The inaugural report, called the ‘ARMA Quarterly Product Shipment Report,’ shows year-to-date shipments increased 4.2 per cent compared to the same period last year. The data is collected from participating manufacturers by an independent third party, Association Research Inc., and aggregated to create the report.

RPM Acquires Mean Green Brand

RPM International Inc.’s subsidiary, the Rust-Oleum group, has acquired the Mean Green branded line of specialty cleaning products and the exclusive North American licensing for Roto-Rooter branded drain care products from CR Brands. Mean Green is a cleaner with a broad array of products for mould, mildew, bacteria, grease, and other uses. Roto-Rooter is a plumbing services brand with a line of drain care products that include hair clog remover, gel clog remover, build up remover, and septic tank treatment.

Stephenson Joins Fluidmaster

John Stephenson is sales director for Canada for Fluidmaster and will oversee its Mississauga, ON, distribution centre. He is responsible for all aspects of the Canadian business in both the retail and wholesale distribution channels. Prior to joining the company, he was director for Char-Broil in Canada.

CanWel Has Strong Revenues

CanWel Building Materials Group Ltd. had revenues of $382.1 million for the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 19.4 per cent compared to revenues of $320 million in the second quarter of 2017. Gross margin dollars increased by 45.8 per cent to $57.9 million, compared to $39.7 million during the corresponding period in 2017. Gross margin percentage increased to 15.1 per cent of revenues versus 12.4 per cent. EBITDA was $27.5 million for the quarter, up by 45.5 per cent from $18.9 million in the year-ago period. The company says sales increased largely due to the inclusion of the results from the Honsador acquisition, an upward trend in construction material pricing, and a continuing focus on product mix strategies and target customer base.

Architectural Specialty Segment Drives Armstrong Sales

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. had net sales of $248.6 million for the second quarter of 2018, an increase of 10.2 per cent over net sales of $225.6 million in the second quarter of 2017. Operating income was $66 million for the quarter, down 4.6 per cent over operating income of $69.2 million in the year-ago period. Earnings from continuing operations were up 8.9 per cent year-over-year. The company says consolidated net sales were driven by higher volumes in the mineral fibre and architectural specialties segments. Adjusted EBITDA was $95 million, up 12.2 per cent from $85 million last year. Net income was up 15.8 per cent year-over-year.

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