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


January 3, 2019

Businesses Confident About 2019

Most businesses do not predict a recession in 2019, says a survey from Express Employment Professionals. At the end of 2018, businesses showed confidence in the economy, with many predicting continued growth and tight labour markets. Only one per cent of Canadian businesses surveyed said they expect a recession in the next three months, while eight per cent expect one in three to six months. Less than one quarter (24 per cent) believe a recession will arrive anytime in 2019. Express says last year, companies added shifts and grew their workforces, which are positive indicators of growth. These hiring trends are expected to continue into 2019. The biggest challenge for this year will be attracting and retaining top talent. Other concerns for the new year include the downturn in the oil and gas industry and the impact from economic and trade instability south of the border. Looking at the big picture, the Canadian economy will be on a strong footing, says Bill Stoller, CEO of Express.

CPCA Lobbies For TiO2

The European Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its intention to proceed with a number of regulatory actions including the proposal to classify titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a ‘Category 2 Carcinogen’ under the EU’s ‘Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation.’ If allowed to proceed, this regulation will cause significant global trade disruptions that will impact Canadian industries including paint and coatings. The Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA) has been engaged on this issue through its membership in the International Paint and Print Ink Council (IPPIC) and its member associations in Europe. The WTO notification allows for non-European countries to engage on the issue as it is a Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT). CPCA is now engaging with Canadian trade authorities regarding the significant and unwarranted socio-economic and trade impacts that would result from the proposed classification, which would provide no benefits for the protection of human health. CPCA says TiO2 is an inert inorganic compound that is used as a white pigment in applications such as the manufacture of paints, coatings, printing inks, and wallcoverings. The pigment plays a critical role in providing essential product properties including whiteness, covering power, brightness, stability, and durability of colour that cannot be achieved with other raw materials. Titanium dioxide is also used in many other consumer products. The powder form of titanium dioxide presents zero risk to consumers when incorporated in a finished product such as paint. Consumers and professionals using paint or ink products cannot be exposed to the powder form of TiO2, once it is embedded in a paint or printing ink.

Christmas Less Expensive Than In Good Old Days

The ‘goods’ in a ‘Christmas basket’ cost about half as much today as they did in 1984 when their cost is measured in hours of work, shows a publication by MEI. For example, for a 20-inch cathode-ray tube colour television, a worker had to work 49 hours in 1984, or more than a full workweek. In 2018, a worker could buy a 20-inch flat screen colour television by spending just nine hours on the job, barely more than a single day of work, says David Descôteaux, public policy analyst at the MEI and author of the publication. He also gives the example of a cordless telephone for the home, which required almost 10 hours of work in 1984. Yet in 2018, just two hours and a quarter would suffice for a similar, but superior, product. Even for consumption goods without a significant technological component, today's shopper stands to save, if somewhat less spectacularly. For instance, the hours of work needed to buy a circular saw (4.5 hours in 1984 versus 2.5 hours in 2018) or an iron (3.5 hours in 1984 versus two hours in 2018) have also fallen. “By reconstructing a basket of goods that could be found underneath a family's Christmas tree, we can see that the goods in the 2018 basket cost around half of what those from 1984 cost, measured in hours of work — the average difference being 47 per cent.”

PPG To Acquire Whitford Worldwide

PPG will acquire Whitford Worldwide Company, a global manufacturer that specializes in low-friction and non-stick coatings for industrial applications and consumer products. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter 2019. PPG says the acquisition will further drive value for its customers and shareholders by enhancing its range of product offerings, research, and development capabilities as well as its global market reach in the growing industrial coatings sector.

Shirk CIO At Masonite

Dan Shirk is senior vice-president and chief information officer at Masonite International Corporation. He has more than 25 years of IT, operations, and general management experience, most recently as vice-president, information systems and project management office (PMO), for Ascena Retail Group.

January 2, 2019

New U.S. Construction Starts Slip In November

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $789.3 billion, new construction starts in November decreased seven per cent from October’s elevated amount, says Dodge Data & Analytics. Most of the total construction decline in the latest month was the result of non-residential building pulling back 15 per cent after its 43 per cent surge in October. The other two major construction sectors witnessed slightly reduced activity in November, with residential building down one per cent and non-building construction down two per cent. November’s data produced a reading of 167 for the index, down from a revised 179 for October and returning the index to a level closer to the 166 average for the full year 2017. With regard to residential building, multi-family housing has seen renewed growth in 2018 after its loss of momentum in 2017, but single family housing has essentially plateaued following the advances registered at the outset of 2018. Residential building in November was $327.5 billion (annual rate), down one per cent from October.

Castle Staff Helps Mississauga Food Bank

Staff from Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. took part in sorting and packaging close to 5,000 pounds of food donations at the local Mississauga, ON, food bank. This total was the equivalent of almost 6,000 meals for local residents in need. Castle staff also made a donation of $1,200 which was collected over the past year through weekly staff contributions.

Therma-Tru Launches Installer Training Program

Therma-Tru Corp. has partnered with OSI brand to create the ‘Certified Door System Installer Training Program’ to better serve trade professionals by educating them on the best practices for sealing and installing its door systems. Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive a certificate and credential card. The online-based program is free of charge and includes step-by-step videos featuring experts from Therma-Tru and OSI that guide the user through new or replacement door system installation. The videos cover a variety of topics including identifying necessary tools, correct removal of an existing door, the best way to seal an opening and install a new door, adding finishing touches, and more. The training program also offers a lesson from OSI on building science and wall barriers. And, program participants have access to supplemental video content and job aids for quick reference on the jobsite, including instructions that can be viewed digitally or as print.

Loyalty Based On Returns

Much like everything else, consumers want choice and convenience when it comes to returning items purchased online, says supply chain solutions provider Voxware. A study by the company shows that 88 per cent of consumers want to have the option to return products to a physical store or through a pre-paid shipping method. As well, 95 per cent of consumers say how well retailers handle returns influences their decision to order from them again. As many as 30 per cent of consumers have returned items purchased online due to some sort of online error “and that is just unacceptable,” says Keith Phillips, president and CEO of Voxware. “Retailers need to evaluate their existing distribution operations processes and technology to ensure they have the capabilities to deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time.” This is important because one-third of customers will abandon shopping with a retailer altogether if they receive a single incorrect item from that retailer. Those who don’t abandon shopping with the retailer want the error fixed immediately. Yet, 40 per cent of consumers report receiving an incorrect item after returning the first incorrect item.

Growth In Wood Adhesives Promising

Growth opportunities in the global wood adhesives market look promising over the next six years, says Frost & Sullivan in its report, ‘Global Wood Adhesives Market, Forecast to 2024.’ The market is expected to witness significant growth rates due to rising volume demand for wood adhesive applications in the furniture and building and construction industries. The market is forecast to reach $33.68 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7.2 per cent between 2017 and 2024. “While regulatory requirements are pushing high demand for resin chemistries, there is a growing need for adhesive technologies with niche applications,” says Ganesh Dabholkar, senior research analyst, visionary science at Frost & Sullivan. He says manufacturers who focus on developing zero and ultra-low formaldehyde- and volatile organic compounds (VOC)-emitting resin chemistries will secure preferential customer purchase and lucrative revenue prospects. Manufacturers should focus on brand equity, customer loyalty, technical support, and global sales and distribution networks.

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