Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


November 1, 2018

AQMAT Launches 'Well Made Here' Platform

The 'Bien fait ici/Well Made Here' organization has been officially launched in Montréal, QC. As of spring 2019, thousands of hardware products and building materials bearing the Bien fait ici/Well Made Here label will be found in over 2,500 hardware stores and home improvement centres owned by or affiliated to the 10 banners ‒ Ace, BMR, Castle, Home Hardware, Lowe's Canada, Patrick Morin, Réno Dépôt, RONA, Timber Mart, and Unimat. The organization's raison d'être is to provide comprehensive information to consumers on local, quality products, where to buy them with confidence, and who to turn to for worry-free renovation work carried out by professionals. "When it comes to building materials and hardware products, homeowners want to use the best products on the market, provided that the price is justified," says Richard Darveau, president and chief executive officer of the Quebec Hardware and Building Supply Association (AQMAT), who initiated the project. "Yet, how can two similar products, which sometimes have a considerable price difference, be compared fairly?" That is why the program requires that manufacturers provide accurate information about their products' characteristics such as place of manufacture, origin of components, use instructions, use limitations, warranty, designations, and compliance to various codes and standards, etc. The qualified products will stand out from imported and low added-value products through the provision of technical information and through promotional offers directed at DIYers and building contractors.

STANLEY Partners With Home Depot

STANLEY in the U.S. has made an exclusive deal with the Home Depot so the retailer will now be the exclusive home improvement retailer in the U.S. for its hand tools and storage product portfolio, both in-store and online, beginning in 2019. In addition, The Home Depot will also garner exclusivity across the STANLEY FATMAX product line. The Canadian marketing and sales executive teams are currently working out details regarding this transaction and should have more details in the coming year.

Canadian Tire Installs Pick-up Towers

Canadian Tire has installed automated, 16-foot self-serve pick-up towers at five locations across the country in Vancouver, BC; Calgary, AB; Saskatoon, SK; and Toronto, ON. Customers at these locations can now collect their online purchases via the towers. The Ottawa, ON, area will also see two new ways to pick-up online purchases. The retailer will introduce a fleet of self-serve lockers and automated check-in terminals. To use the check-in terminals, customers can enter a unique PIN code on the in-store tablet, prompting store staff to bring their order directly to them. These new in-store options are designed to make the online order pick-up faster and more convenient.

CertainTeed Calls For Submissions

CertainTeed is calling for project submissions for consideration in the '5th CertainTeed Gypsum National Trophy Awards,' recognizing outstanding work using its gypsum products. The award ceremony, to be held November 7 to 9 in Phoenix, AZ, will celebrate those projects selected by a panel of industry experts to be honoured in front of their peers as the best in the business. The trophy honours craftsmen and craftswomen who use CertainTeed solutions in sustainability, comfort, safety, aesthetics, and modularity to build a better world, the company says. The competition judges building professionals for their gypsum-related skills in residential and non-residential categories. Drywall and finishing contractors across Canada are welcomed to submit their most innovative drywall projects for consideration. The deadline to submit projects in May 1, 2019. For information, visit CertainTeed Trophy

Ingersoll Rand Has Double Digit Increase

Ingersoll Rand had net revenues of $4,031 million in the third quarter of 2018, an increase of 10 per cent over net revenues of $3,671 million in the third quarter of 2017. Operating income for the quarter was $587 million, an increase of 16 per cent over operating income of $506 million in the year-ago period. Operating margin increased to 14.6 per cent from 13.8 per cent year-over-year. The climate segment had net revenues of $3,239 million for the third quarter, an increase of 10 per cent over net revenues of $2,939 million last year. The industrial segment has net revenues of $792 million compared to $731 million, an increase of eight per cent.

Weyerhaeuser Sales Flat

Weyerhaeuser Company had net earnings of $255 million for the third quarter of 2018, an increase over earnings of $130 million in the third quarter of 2017. Net sales for the quarter were $1.9 billion, even with sales in the same period a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA was $505 million versus $569 million. The timberlands segment had net sales of $653 million and EBITDA of $206 million for the quarter. Wood products had sales of $1,346 million and EBITDA of 250 million.

October 31, 2018

BMR Expands In Ontario

Two Ontario Unimat stores are now displaying the BMR Express banner. The switch of the St-Isadore and St-Albert Unimat stores to the banner is part of BMR Group's goal to increase brand awareness in Ontario. The stores will offer an improved product line to consumers and allow them to take advantage of the banner's promotions and pricing.

Lowe's Canada Expands CRAFTSMAN Line

Lowe’s Canada has expanded its selection of CRAFTSMAN products at all of its banners. The selection of tools available at Lowe's, RONA, Reno-Depot, and Ace Canada now includes power tools, hand tools, and a select assortment of outdoor power equipment, including snow throwers and leaf blowers. The retailer says it will be adding more products over the next few months. The full range of CRAFTSMAN products will be available in-store and online in the spring. Once the roll-out is complete, consumers will have access to hundreds of CRAFTSMAN items.

Pivotal Payments Rebrands As Nuvei

Global payment process solution provider Pivotal Payments will now operate under the new brand name of Nuvei. The rebrand merges the company’s corporate arm with its GlobalOnePay division. The integration of both teams better meets the strategic needs of businesses, delivering greater value, cost synergies, and a combined technology stack. The business model is built on enhancing the company's ability to provide a payment technology network where each and every employee contributes to the growth of its partners.

U.S. Consumers Holiday Spend To Rise 4.1 Per Cent

U.S. consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 per cent from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year, says a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Although tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China took effect last month, NRF says that retailers imported record volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs and any effect on pricing during the holiday season is expected to be minimal. NRF’s annual holiday spending forecast estimates that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 4.3 per cent and 4.8 per cent over 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion. This year, more consumers will utilize ‘buy online, pick-up in store’ (BOPIS), free shipping, expedited shipping, and same-day delivery. For the 12th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 60 per cent of those surveyed.

Dugger Joins Coast Distributors

Will Dugger is part of the outside sales team at Coast Distributors (Kelowna) Ltd. He will be responsible for the central British Columbia region. He has many years of experience in sales and management positions, including 20 years with Sherwin-Williams.

Income Doubles For PFB

PFB Corporation had consolidated net income of $3.3 million for the third quarter of 2018, compared to consolidated net income of $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2017. Consolidated sales were $39.4 million in the quarter compared to sales of $28.6 million in the year-ago period. Gross margin for the period was 24.5 per cent compared to 23.2 per cent last year. EBITDA was $5.6 million compared to $3.2 million.

October 30, 2018

Orgill Makes Executive Changes

Ron Beal, president and chief executive officer of Orgill, Inc., will drop the president title but remain as CEO, effective January 2019. Boyden Moore will assume the position of president. He was general manager of retail and president of the company's subsidiary, Tyndale Advisors. Bret Hammers will become executive vice-president of worldwide sales and supply chain. He will be responsible for all sales and product sourcing in support of its U.S., Canadian, and international customer base. Eric Divelbiss will be executive vice-president of finance and administration in addition to his current role as chief financial officer.

U.S. Construction Starts To Hold Steady

Total U.S. construction starts for 2019 are forecast to be $808 billion, staying essentially even with the $807 billion estimated for 2018, says the ‘2019 Dodge Construction Outlook’ by Dodge Data & Analytics. “Over the past three years, the expansion for the U.S. construction industry has shown deceleration in its rate of growth, a pattern that typically takes place as an expansion matures,” says Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “After advancing 11 per cent to 14 per cent each year from 2012 through 2015, total construction starts climbed seven per cent in both 2016 and 2017 and a three per cent increase is estimated for 2018. There are, of course, mounting headwinds affecting construction, namely rising interest rates and higher material costs but, for now, these have been balanced by the stronger growth for the U.S. economy, some easing of bank lending standards, still healthy market fundamentals for commercial real estate, and greater state financing for school construction and enhanced federal funding for public works.” For 2019, it’s expected that growth for the U.S. economy won’t be quite as strong as what’s taking place in 2018, as the benefits of tax cuts begin to wane. Short-term interest rates will rise, as will long-term interest rates, reflecting higher inflationary expectations by the financial markets. At the same time, any erosion in market fundamentals for commercial real estate will stay modest.

Resolute Investing In Ontario Operations

Resolute Forest Products Inc. will invest $40 million into its northwestern Ontario operations, in addition to $13.5 million in major maintenance and the creation of 25 new jobs. The investment plan includes the Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill to improve energy efficiency and capacity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and costs, and maintain assets. The company will also modernize the planer line at the Thunder Bay sawmill and optimize the Atikokan and Ignace sawmills. These initiatives are expected to increase the annual production capacity of the facilities by a combined 50 million board feet of lumber. More than half of project expenditures are slated for the last quarter of 2018.

Leon’s Chooses Shopify

Leon's Furniture Limited has selected eCommerce company Shopify to power all of its online stores on the Shopify Plus platform. In addition, Leon’s is working on the development of dedicated apps that will significantly improve customers' online shopping experience. Some of these enhancements include intelligent room planners, virtual decorating, and augmented reality capabilities where shoppers can place items from the online store against a backdrop of their own rooms. Additional features that will be offered to online customers include instant deferred payment options and enhanced delivery features.

Beacon Roofing Expands Digital Capabilities

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. has introduced enhancements to its eCommerce platform, Beacon Pro+. Features include automated order workflows, delivery notifications, and a strategic integration with project management software JobNimbus. These enhancements give customers 24/7 access to the functionality and information that enables them to work smarter and faster in today’s competitive environment, says the company. The integration of JobNimbus software will provide customers access to live pricing and the ability to send material orders directly to their Beacon Roofing Supply location from the JobNimbus platform. Launching in the first quarter of the company's fiscal 2019 year, the partnership combines the project management capabilities of JobNimbus and Beacon’s set of digital tools.

Security Top Priority For SMBs

Nearly half (47 per cent) of Canadian online small- to medium-sized businesses worry that the move to frictionless payments, such as transactions that take place behind the scenes in apps, is leaving them more open to fraud and will negatively impact revenues, says a report from Paysafe. This concern is heightened by the fact that 73 per cent feel they are being more aggressively targeted by fraudsters now compared to a year ago and 42 per cent consider credit card fraud an increasing challenge. These concerns mean Canadian SMBs now view security as the most important factor when considering their eCommerce setup. Security (65 per cent) ranks above reliability (45 per cent), cost (49 per cent), and ease of transactions including refunds (45 per cent). SMBs are also wary that these concerns may hamper the buyer journey for consumers. Over half (67 per cent) believe that longer verification processes during the payment stage – which could potentially combat these issues – runs the risk of losing consumers and 62 per cent admit they don't know how to balance security with an acceptable customer experience, highlighting the trade-off faced by online merchants. Offline merchants are also pushing to accept contactless transactions and are further ahead in their adoption than their U.S. counterparts, says the report. Sixty-nine per cent expect to offer it over the next couple of years compared to 49 per cent at present. The U.S. should see usage increase to 62 per cent, Just 37 per cent offer it currently. These findings may be symptomatic of a fragmenting payments landscape, with 28 per cent of Canadian merchants reporting a decrease in cash payments in the past year.

Sherwin-Williams Posts Gains

The Sherwin-Williams Company had consolidated net sales of $4.73 billion for the third quarter of 2018, an increase of five per cent over consolidated net sales in the third quarter of 2017. Net sales in the Americas group increased five per cent to $2.67 billion year-over-year while net sales in the consumer brands group increased 6.5 per cent to $770.5 million. The performance coatings group's net sales increased 4.2 per cent to $1.29 billion in the quarter. Overall net income from the quarter was $354 million, up 11.8 per cent compared to $317 million in the year-ago period. Adjusted EBITDA was $822 million versus $704 million.

October 29, 2018

New Home Market Sees Increases

Ontario's Greater Toronto Area (GTA) new home market saw increases in September over the previous month, both in terms of new project openings and in terms of new home sales, particularly sales of condominium apartments, says the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). There were 1,747 new homes sold in September, a sizeable increase over August's 974 new home sales. Condominium apartments in low, medium, and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses, and loft units accounted for 1,494 new home sales in September, down 20 per cent from September 2017 and down 20 per cent from the 10-year average. Single-family home sales, with 253 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were down 28 per cent from last September and down 77 per cent from the 10-year average. With 10 condominium apartment projects and seven single-family home projects opening in September ‒ a significant increase from August's two project openings ‒ remaining inventory increased to 13,952 units, comprised of 8,820 condo apartment units and 5,132 single family units. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings.

Value Suppliers Like Partners

A strong supplier relationship can be one of the most significant competitive opportunities for growth, says Ken Jenkins, president of Castle Building Centres Group. Writing on his blog, 'Insights,' he says, "As businesses, each of us is dependent on our suppliers. Developing strong supplier relationships can be as important as relationships with consumers or contractors." Retailers need the vendors as much as vendors need retailers. However, "good and reliable suppliers can be hard to find, especially in an economy like the one we are currently experiencing. Building a strong relationship can be a lynchpin to your future success." Suppliers can provide more than just goods and services; they are a rich source of information on the market and even on competitive products and services. Jenkins recommends building those relationships stronger and closer by "looking through the lens of your supplier from time to time and consider what mutually benefits both you and them." He also suggests getting personal, building two-way and timely communications, and being fair and respectful. "We have a habit of only acknowledging when things go wrong," he says. So, it's important to be grateful when things are going right.

Clover Launched In Canada

First Data, a provider of commerce-enabling technology, has launched Clover in Canada. This platform brings to business owners a modern approach to manage the demands of their enterprises including smart, flexible point-of-sale hardware, intuitive software, and a set of tools to run operations. It is a POS device which offers access to a third-party app market, connecting merchants with applications designed to simplify daily business tasks and support functions which are critical to business owners. The apps can sync with popular accounting programs offer multiple communication modalities (IP, Wi-Fi, LTE) all in one device, and give consumers the choice of receiving their receipts in paper, text, or eMail format.

AMG Global Changes Name

North American home hardware supplier and distributor AMG Global LLC has changed its name to AMG JV LLC. There has been no change to management and the company will continue to offer the same products and service. AMG, a subsidiary of Enchante Accessories, specializes in the kitchen and bath faucets, shower systems, bathroom vanities, lighting solutions, furniture, bath accessories, door locks, and storage solutions categories.

Lewis Named COO

Randal D. Lewis is senior vice-president and chief operating officer, a newly-created position at Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. He joined the company 13 years ago and served most recently as president, consumer products group.

Mohawk Earnings Rise

Mohawk Industries, Inc. had net earnings of $227 million for the third quarter of 2018, a decrease compared to $270 million in the third quarter of 2017. Adjusted net earnings were $246 million compared to $281 million last year. Net sales for the quarter were $2.5 billion, up four per cent from net sales of $2.4 billion in the year-ago period. The global ceramic segment sales decreased one per cent year-over-year, while the flooring North America segment sales increased two per cent. The flooring rest of the world segment sales increased 17 per cent year-over-year.

October 26, 2018

Canadian Tire, Home Hardware Rank In CR Top 10

Canadian Tire ranks second and Home Hardware 10th when it comes to corporate responsibility (CR), says a survey from the Reputation Institute, in partnership with Argyle Public Relationships. Canadian Tire was behind only MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op). "This year's results mark a shift, as Canadians expect companies to go beyond what we normally consider ‘social responsibility;’ they must be seen as responsible on multiple dimensions ‒ fiscal, social, environmental, and as employers," says Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer at Reputation Institute. The survey reflects public perceptions of corporate performance across three key dimensions of corporate reputation: citizenship, workplace, and governance. The results show which companies Canadians admire most for their positive societal influence, environmental friendliness, openness and transparency, ethical behaviour, and concern for their employees' well-being. "This study is a powerful reminder that reputation isn't just about communication: it's about the connection between what you say and what you do," says Daniel Tisch, CEO of Argyle Public Relationships. "That's how some companies build emotional bonds with their stakeholders, driving supportive behaviours such as intent to purchase, likelihood to recommend, willingness to invest, and giving the company the benefit of the doubt in a crisis."

Bank Of Canada Increases Rates

The Bank of Canada (BOC) has increased its target for the overnight rate to 1¾ per cent. It says the global economic outlook remains solid and the U.S. economy is especially robust, although it is expected to moderate over the projection horizon. As well, the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will reduce trade policy uncertainty in North America, which has been an important curb on business confidence and investment. BOC will continue to monitor the extent to which the USMCA leads to more confidence and business investment in Canada. It also says the Canadian economy continues to operate close to its potential and that the composition of growth is more balanced. Despite some quarterly fluctuations, growth is expected to average about two per cent over the second half of 2018. Real GDP is projected to grow by 2.1 per cent this year and next before slowing to 1.9 per cent in 2020. Household spending is expected to continue growing at a healthy pace, underpinned by solid employment income growth, even though they are adjusting their spending as expected in response to higher interest rates and housing market policies. In this context, household credit growth continues to moderate and housing activity across Canada is stabilizing. As a result, household vulnerabilities are edging lower in a number of respects, although they remain elevated.

Falls Hardware Joins Castle

Nestor Falls, ON-based Falls Hardware has joined Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. Falls Hardware was founded in 1955 by Alex Pope. His son Bill and daughter-in-law Nancy took over the store in 1978. The location supplies its community with building materials offering a full-service retail store and lumberyard. With the move to Castle, the store will add new products to its assortment of hardware, key building materials, and community-specific products.

Smart Reno Now In Lowe’s Stores

Smart Reno has signed a long-term agreement with Lowe’s Canada. Its software platform is now in all Lowe’s Canada corporate stores operating under the Lowe’s, RONA, and Reno-Depot banners, as well as in some RONA affiliated dealer stores. The software manages requests for installation services in a more seamless manner, both in-store and online.

Building Materials Could Soon Harvest Solar Energy

Researchers at Saudi Arabia-based KAUST Solar Center have developed a material that could soon deliver windows or roof tiles that harvest solar energy. They developed a photovoltaic organic material ‒ a non-fullerene acceptor, known as EHIDTBR ‒ that captures light efficiently and that potentially could be coated on building materials. “Traditional roof-mounted solar panels are made from slabs of silicon, but organic molecules can also capture energy from sunlight,” says researcher Derya Baran. “These molecules could be formulated as inexpensive printable inks that are applied to regular building components such as windows. Turning sunlight into electricity is a multistep process and the key to developing high-performance organic photovoltaic materials has been to find organic molecules that are good at every step.” Scaling up the technology is the team’s next step. “We have a spin-out company from KAUST Solar Center and through this company we want to make photovoltaic windows for electricity generation.”

Consumers Using Social Media For Holiday Shopping

Canadian consumers will turn to the convenience of digital shopping options for their gift purchases and opt to spend their money at Canadian retailers this holiday season, says the ‘2018 Holiday Shopping Survey’ from Accenture. Now in its seventh year, the survey shows a major increase in Canadian shoppers' use of Instagram and other social media when planning or making shopping decisions. The percentage of shoppers who say they plan to use Instagram alone for their online shopping almost doubled since last year, from 25 per cent to 46 per cent, with more than half of shoppers saying they would use YouTube to make shopping decisions or purchases. The use of social media in general is increasing, with 37 per cent of shoppers saying social media will make their shopping easier when buying for people not normally on their list, up from 30 per cent in 2017. The survey also finds that shoppers intend to make their gift purchases at Canadian retailers rather than travel to the U.S. or shop with U.S. online retailers, with 41 per cent opting to keep their dollars north of the border – up from 31 per cent from last year. This could change, however, with the recent U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the threshold for duty-free items raised to $150 from $20 for online shopping.

USG Sales Rise Seven Per Cent

USG Corporation had net sales of $851 million for the third quarter of 2018, an increase of seven per cent over net sales of $795 million in the third quarter of 2017. Operating profit for the quarter was $69 million down 24 per cent from operating profit of $91 million in the year-ago period. Net income was $59 million, down 11 per cent over net income of $66 million last year. Adjusted operating profit decreased 15 per cent to $90 million in the third quarter, while adjusted net income decreased four per cent to $65 million. Sales for the U.S. wallboard and surfaces segment increased five per cent year-over-year. Sales of the U.S. performance materials segment increased 10 per cent while sales for the U.S. ceilings segment increased 14 per cent year-over-year.

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