Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


April 15, 2019

RESCON Pleased With Ontario Budget

The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is pleased with the Ontario provincial government’s focus on removing barriers to housing supply and the prioritization of skills within the education and post-secondary systems. RESCON has advocated for a reduction of development costs and streamlining of the lengthy development approvement process. Further, the budget builds on the government's strong promotion of the skilled trades in Ontario and RESCON shares the values reflected that allow for training and certification between trades through portable skills training. The residential construction industry is a major source of employment in the province and driver of the economy. RESCON appreciates the government's commitment to making it easier for young people, job seekers, and those starting a second career to enter the skilled trades.

Quebeckers Want To Buy Older Homes And Renovate

Despite tighter mortgage rules, rising interest rates, and rising property prices, 23 per cent of Quebec households intend to buy a residential property in the next five years, says a survey by Quebec’s association of professional homebuilders (APCHQ), the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB), and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ. Most plan to buy existing homes as these are perceived as more affordable than buying new construction. Of these, 65 per cent plan to renovate and spend an average of $14,500 on their upgrades. Of new homeowners who recently completed renovations, nearly one-third did so to improve the energy efficiency of the property. Single-family homes are the most popular type of housing with 65 per cent of Quebeckers who plan to buy looking at this type of property. That proportion is 69 per cent for Millennials.

WTO Makes Ruling On Softwood Tariffs Calculations

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has made a ruling that says the U.S. violated international trade rules with the method it used to calculate tariffs on Canadian imports of softwood lumber. However, the WTO also approved an outlawed U.S. trade policy that allows Washington to use ‘zeroing’ to calculate anti-dumping tariffs. In the past, the WTO condemned the process. Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrysia Freeland, says Canada may appeal the decision. Both countries have 60 days to appeal. The dispute over softwood lumber tariffs has been going on for more than 30 years.

Leviton Expands Control App

Leviton has launched an expanded version of the My Leviton app to consolidate control of the Leviton Load Center and Decora Smart Wi-Fi product lines. The app provides streamlined management of load centre and lighting operation. The interface enables users to schedule, monitor, and receive notifications in real time for residential electrical system management. Users can now also control load centre activities and home lighting from anywhere in the world using their smartphone or tablet. The app can also be linked to voice assistant partners including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Nest to create a smart home eco-system.

Aluminum Window Profile Market Poised For Growth

The global aluminum window profile market was valued at US$698.41 million in 2017 and is forecast to grow to $991.34 million by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2 per cent, says Coherent Market Insights. Aluminum windows are preferred in construction sector, owing to various benefits such as reduced heat effect, durability, lightweight nature, and smoother opening and closing of windows. However, use of aluminum windows causes heat loss and interior condensation which is expected to restrain growth of this market. Among window types, the single hung windows segment accounted for the largest market share in 2017. This type of window is used for commercial and residential applications. Key players in the global aluminum window profile market are focusing on product launches pertaining to single-hung windows, which is expected to boost growth of the segment.

April 12, 2019

MacNab To 'Build Out' Home Hardware

Strengthen in-stocks to make better availability of product, strengthen marketing to make it more profitable, and strengthen digital tools offered to dealer-owners are just some of the ways Kevin MacNab, president and chief executive officer of Home Hardware Stores Limited, wants to "build out" the business of Home Hardware. MacNab, who was appointed to the role in October of last year, has been a customer and fan of the retailer for years. In 2007, when he sat on the board of the Retail Council of Canada, he was impressed by Walter Hachborn, co-founder of Home Hardware, whom he met when Hachborn was awarded RCC's 'Lifetime Achievement Award.' "What I took away from that was tremendous inspiration from his journey of building Home Hardware. He was a great leader." Since that time, MacNab always believed there was significant opportunity to build the business out and strengthen the retail presentation. "A real strength of Home Hardware is the dealer-owner model. It's an incredible strength to have dealers who are owners and entrepreneurs in over 1,000 local communities across Canada. It's an incredible penetration across the country and the service model is excellent." MacNab adds that the retailer is growing and is currently hiring across a range of departments to add skillsets and increase support to the dealer-owners. He has more than 30 years of retail experience including, most recently, as president of international at Toys 'R' Us Inc.

Walmart Canada Joins Move To Reduce Emissions

Walmart Canada will join Project Gigaton, a Walmart effort to reduce emissions from global supply chains. First launched by Walmart Inc. in the U.S. in 2017, Project Gigaton seeks to reduce emissions by a gigaton – or one billion metric tonnes – by 2030. To date, more than 1,000 suppliers from 40 countries have formally signed on to the project. More than 200 of Walmart's Canadian suppliers – including Maple Leaf Foods, Spin Master Toys, Unilever Canada, and Agropur Cooperative – have already made Project Gigaton commitments. Removing one gigaton of emissions from global value chains is equivalent to the reduction of the emissions from 211 million average passenger vehicles in a year. That's more than five times the total number of vehicles registered in Canada in 2017.

Changing Social Norms Affect Home Design

Changing social norms will shape home décor and design in ways that could not have been imagined a decade ago. Legalization of cannabis, for example, will see accessories for using the herb move into the mainstream as decorative pieces, says Vicky Sanderson, publisher of the home and lifestyle website 'Around the House.' "For years, we've looked on stylish bar carts, cut-crystal glasses, and vintage cocktail shakers as décor. Now, you could just as easily see a beautiful grinder on the coffee-table." There are signs retailers are making the same bet; in the U.S., Barneys New York opened a luxury cannabis accessories shop in its Los Angeles location. In Canada, 48North Cannabis Corp. ‒ a licensed producer with facilities in Kirkland Lake and Brantford, ON ‒ is rolling out a line that includes brass grinders and ceramic porcelain pipes. But, while consumers become cool with cannabis use for both recreation and wellness, they're increasingly uneasy about buying home-related products made under questionable ethical standards. For some retailers ‒ even those with high standards ‒ the conversation with consumers may be a challenge, because there are so many ways to measure what's ethical, says Sanderson. "Consumers want to do what's right, to buy ethically-made products and to re-use and re-upholster when possible. The brands that respond to that will have the advantage in the house and home décor landscape."

CertainTeed Donates Insulation For Homes For Heroes

CertainTeed Canada has partnered with Darren Resch and his team at Total-R Inc. to provide the insulation that the Homes For Heroes Foundation needs to build a village of tiny homes for homeless military veterans in Calgary, AB. The Homes For Heroes Foundation is a program that assists with the re-integration of military veterans into civilian life through affordable housing and a support structure. CertainTeed R40 and R24 Sustainable Insulation will be installed in the attic and walls of each of the homes. Sustainable Batt Insulation acts as both thermal and acoustical insulation and is ideal for floors, walls, and ceilings. All CertainTeed insulation products improve building energy efficiency, helping to lower energy costs throughout the life of the structure. Homes for Heroes first development will open this summer. It will feature 16 tiny homes, a resource centre, councillors' office, family suite, community gardens, public park, and a memorial tribute to soldiers lost in Afghanistan. Homes for Heroes is community project with funding provided by Canadian businesses, individuals, charities, foundations, and associations.

nVent Launches Upgraded Heating Mat

nVent Electric plc (nVent), a global manufacturer of electrical connection and protection solutions, has launched an improved nVent RAYCHEM QuickNet heating mat. Combining existing innovations with updated features, the QuickNet mat is designed to shorten installation times and improve ease-of-use for installers, distributors, and end-users. The mat features an improved adhesive mesh that bonds to subfloors more securely and makes installation easier in irregularly shaped rooms. It can now also be used to provide heat for wood flooring, as well as tiles, parquet, and laminate. As well, the mats are now compatible with a greater range of thermostats and the upgraded packaging is more space-efficient.

April 11, 2019

Windsor Home Hardware Named Store of the Year

Windsor Home Hardware was awarded the annual ‘Walter J. Hachborn Store of the Year Award’ by Home Hardware Stores Limited. The award was presented to Jeff Redden, dealer-owner of Windsor Home Hardware, for epitomizing the values on which Home Hardware was co-founded by Walter J. Hachborn over 50 years ago – value, service, and dependability. Now in its 22nd year, the award pays tribute to the top store selected from close to 1,100 stores across Canada for achieving the highest standards in retailing, merchandising, staff performance, and overall quality and service. Six stores from the dealer network received the ‘Proud of My Home Award:’ Windsor Home Hardware – Windsor, NS, ‘Best Hardware Store Over 6,000-square-feet;’ Beausejour Home Hardware – Beausejour, MB, ‘Best Home Hardware Under 6,000-square-feet;’ Cobourg Home Hardware Building Centre – Cobourg, ON, ‘Best Home Hardware Building Centre Over 15,000-square-feet;’ Blind River Home Hardware Building Centre – Blind River, ON, ‘Best Home Hardware Building Centre Under 15,000-square-feet;’ GP Home Furniture – Chilliwack, BC, ‘Best Home Furniture Store’; Theo Bandstra, Smithers Home Hardware – Smithers, BC, ‘Best Young Retailer,’ and Pioneer Home Hardware Building Centre – Campbell River, BC, Paul Straus Public Relations Award.

RONA Rated Most Admired

RONA ranks as the number one most admired home improvement company in Quebec by Leger, a research and marketing firm, in its ‘2019 Leger Reputation Study – Most Admired Companies in Quebec.’ The banner also ranks among the 25 most admired companies in all industries in the province. To make its determination, the study assessed financial strength, social responsibility, honesty and transparency, quality of products/services, innovation, and attachment. A new component was added this year that considers the importance of the employer brand in a company's reputation and the ambassadorial role that employees play in terms of corporate culture. The results of the study are based on an electronic survey of more than 30,000 adult respondents conducted from December 2018 to February 2019. Leger measured the reputation of 319 companies from 31 sectors.

Modest Gain In Montreal Home Sales

There were a total of 5,710 residential sales in March in the Montreal, QC, census metropolitan area (CMA), a modest one per cent increase compared to March 2018, says the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB). Nevertheless, this was the 49th consecutive monthly increase in sales. Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the South Shore, the North Shore, and Vaudreuil-Soulanges all posted solid results with respective sales increases of 21, seven, five, and four per cent. In contrast, the Island of Montreal posted a six per cent drop in sales, while sales in Laval fell by one per cent. The number of single-family home transactions (3,203) in the Montreal CMA was unchanged compared to March of last year, while the number of condominium transactions (2,079) increased by five per cent and the number of plex transactions (422) fell by five per cent. In March, there were 22,430 active residential listings in the area, a 15 per cent drop compared to last year.

Eldorado Stone Adds Colour Palettes

Stone veneer manufacturer Eldorado Stone has launched two colour palettes for its Vintage Ranch profile – Dawnwood and Stratuswood. Dawnwood, which presents a whitewashed beige barn wood, and Stratuswood, a warm-toned and earthy gray, expand upon the colour offerings already available – doverwood, foxwood, parchwood, and saddlewood.

RIDGID Launches SeeSnake Camera Line

RIDGID has released a line of SeeSnake cameras powered by TruSense technology. TruSense establishes a two-way datalink path between the camera head and a connected RIDGID SeeSnake CSx series Wi-Fi enabled monitor. With TruSense, advanced sensors on the camera head convey information about the in-pipe environment. The cameras include a high dynamic range (HDR) image sensor that expands the visibility range and allows the user to see far down the pipe as well as the image just in front of the camera’s lights. The product also has TiltSense, an on-camera inclinometer that measures the angle. The SeeSnake cameras are available in self-leveling models and come with RIDGID’s full lifetime warranty.

Construction Drives Global Drywall Market

The global drywall market is forecast to reach a value of 15 billion square meters by 2024, says a report by EMR. The North American construction market, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of four to five per cent over the next few years, is one of the key drivers of the drywall market. In comparison with other wall materials like plaster and solid wood, gypsum boards are non-combustible, cheaper, and lighter. As a result, drywall is popular for constructing interior walls and ceilings of houses. It is used in the residential sector to improve the aesthetic appeal and manage interior temperature through thermal insulation, providing flexibility in creating and dividing spaces which enables quick and seamless interior customization options. Drywall is extensively used in the building industry across the commercial and residential sectors. A rising focus on incorporating sustainable green building materials which reduce overall expenses is also contributing to the market growth.

April 10, 2019

Residential Building Permits Decline

Canadian municipalities issued $7.8 billion worth of building permits in February, down 5.7 per cent from the previous month, says Statistics Canada. The decline was largely due to lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings. The value of permits for residential buildings declined 8.5 per cent to $4.9 billion, the lowest level since April 2017. The decrease was largely the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in Ontario and British Columbia. Despite the monthly decline, the value of multi-family permits has shown notable strength over the past year. Municipalities issued $2.9 billion worth of non-residential building permits in February, edging down 0.5 per cent from the previous month. The decline stemmed from lower values of commercial permits which dropped $114 million. These had posted sharp increases in November and December. The value of institutional permits rose 11.6 per cent, the first increase in five months.

Home Hardware Market Draws Thousands

Home Hardware Stores Limited’s ‘2019 Spring Market’ drew more than 10,000 visitors to St. Jacobs, ON, who came to see the latest products and trends and take part in show deals, tours, and presentations. This year marks the 56th year of the bi-annual markets. More than 3,000 dealer-owners and staff, representing close to 1,100 stores from across Canada, traveled thousands of kilometres to attend the market. The market houses exhibits and representatives from vendors to demonstrate products, introduce new products, and take orders. It also contained a full model store with the latest in store design, signage, display, and merchandising techniques. This was the first market since the appointment of Home Hardware’s new CEO, Kevin MacNab, who was on-hand to meet and speak with visitors.

Square Expands Online Store Platform

Payments and point-of-sale provider Square now offers its revamped Square Online Store that offers Canadian small business owners tools to start or grow an omnichannel business. The product is integrated with Weebly, a platform for building a website or online store. Square acquired Weebly last year. The store allows sellers to grow their business with an eCommerce website and integrated tools including shoppable Instagram galleries and in-store pickup. The platform allows users to customize layout for all channels.

Royal Building Products Adds To Cedar Renditions Line

Royal Building Products, a Westlake Company, has added a 4″ profile, three solid colours, and two woodgrain colours to the Cedar Renditions by Royal Design Series, its aluminum siding line for residential and light commercial projects. The 4″ profile has a flat face which features a seamless overlapping notch on each end, allowing coverage greater than 12 feet. The product will be offered in Cedar Renditions traditional colours: amberwood, charwood, and cedar bark, as well as the new solid colours: ironstone, charcoal, and gray. Timberline and riverwood are the two multi-tone woodgrain colours that have been added to the Design Series 6″ profile.

Digital Critical For Paint Brands

Although a majority of paint customers are making purchases in-store, Generations Y and Z are more likely to make their paint purchases online than Baby Boomers or Pre-Boomers, says a study by J.D. Power. The ‘2019 U.S. Paint Satisfaction Study’ also shows that satisfaction among those who purchase online is higher than those who went in-store for purchases. “Paint brands are challenged by the need to provide consultative experiences for in-store customers, while catering to the technologically reliant younger generations who want to buy paint online,” says Christina Cooley, director of the at-home practice at J.D. Power. “Channeling more resources into their websites ‒ while maintaining current in-store experiences ‒ will only help paint brands in the long run.”

WD-40 Sales Flat

WD-40 Company had total net sales of $101.3 million for the second quarter of 2019, relatively constant compared to net sales in the second quarter of 2018. Net income for the quarter was $15.9 million, an increase of seven per cent compared to the prior-year fiscal quarter. Gross margin was 55.4 per cent compared to 55.1 per cent. Net sales in the Americas decreased two per cent in the quarter primarily due to lower sales of maintenance products, which decreased one per cent year-over-year. Net sales of maintenance products and homecare and cleaning products remained relatively constant year-over-year.

Roberts To Lead Travis Perkins

Nick Roberts is chief executive officer of Travis Perkins, the parent company of British DIY chain Wickes, effective August 5. Previously, he was with Atkins, an engineering consultancy.

April 9, 2019

March Canadian Housing Starts Steady

The trend in housing starts was 202,279 units in March, compared to 202,039 units in February, 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 Vancouver, BC, census metropolitan area (CMA) housing starts trended higher in March, but were down 16 per cent for the quarter over last year. Row starts in Calgary, AB, were up 48 per cent for the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. The Toronto, ON, CMA total housing starts trend rose in March as higher trending condominium apartment starts offset the decline in low-rise starts. Meanwhile, just over 5,000 starts were enumerated in the Montreal, QC, CMA during the first quarter of 2019 ‒ a 10-year high. Starts in Halifax, NS, also continue to rapidly expand as construction on the multiples market recorded one of the strongest first quarters on record. The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 192,527 units in March, up 15.8 per cent from 166,290 units in February.

Lowe’s South Regina Recognized For Diversity

Lowe’s Canada banner store, Lowe’s South Regina was awarded the ‘Paragon Award’ in the diversity category from the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce. The store and its team were recognized for nurturing, through different activities and policies, a culture that encourages diversity in the workplace. “We are really proud to accept this award in recognition of our team’s positive attitude, openness, and acceptance,” says Cheryl Ginter, store manager. “We celebrate our employees’ diversity in everything we do, from our communications to our special activities, and even with our customer service. Because of our team’s diverse background, we have a better understanding of our customers’ different cultures and can more adequately meet their home improvement needs.” The award was presented at the Chamber’s 2019 gala held April 5.

LeafFilter Opens Fourth Canadian Office

LeafFilter North, LLC, a subsidiary of Leaf Home Solutions, has opened its fourth location in Canada, in Vancouver, BC. The location also marks LeafFilter’s 58th office opening in North America. As one of Leaf Home Solutions' two patented solutions subsidiaries, the other being sister company Leaf Home Safety Solutions, LeafFilter offers homeowners direct-to-consumer end-to-end gutter protection solutions. The LeafFilter system features a patented, surgical grade stainless steel micro filter to prevent gutters from clogging.

Henkel Adhesives Opens OEM Lab

Henkel Adhesive Technologies has opened its OEM Application Center in Rocky Hill, CT. The lab expands Henkel’s capabilities to deliver innovative solutions and design customized applications, technologies, and production processes to better serve its customers’ needs. The lab also incorporates audio visual and interactive telepresence systems, which enable more rapid collaboration and virtual demonstrations with OEM customers, distributors, and process operators. This helps to further bolster productivity and increase awareness and knowledge of new applications. The Rocky Hill facility is the third lab of its kind for Henkel, with two other labs located in western Europe and Asia-Pacific, and was modified to meet the diverse customer needs of the region.

Waterhouse Leads Grabber

Robert Waterhouse is president and chief executive officer of Grabber Construction Products, part of the Dot Family Holdings group of companies. With 33 years of experience, he comes to the company from L&W Supply, a distributor of gypsum wallboard and building materials.

RPM Growth Initiative On Target

RPM International Inc. had net sales of $1.14 billion for the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 3.4 per cent over net sales of $1.1 billion in the third quarter of 2018. Net income was $14.2 million versus $40.2 million in the year-ago period, while IBT was $4.5 million compared to $34.7 million year-over-year. EBIT was $26.3 million compared to $56.7 million and adjusted EBIT was $46.9 million. The industrial segment sales increased 2.1 per cent to $580.9 million from $569.2 million last year, with EBIT of $13.9 million compared to $23.3 million. The consumer segment sales increased six per cent to $385 million from $363.4 million last year, with EBIT of $23.3 million versus $29.3 million. The specialty segment had sales increased 2.7 per cent to $174.7 million from $170.1 million last year, with EBIT of $17 million compared to $22.7 million.

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