Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


May 15, 2019

Billions Hidden Behind Consumer Expectation Gap

Billions of dollars in customer spending in the Canadian retail industry could be unlocked if brands address the 24 per cent gap in expectations versus current experience along the customer journey, finds the ninth annual ‘Loyalty Report’ by Bond Brand Loyalty in partnership with Visa. The report shows that, while loyalty continues to deliver positive outcomes for brands, by re-tooling programs and closing the gap to better meet consumer expectations, there’s a potential to unlock $18 billion of consumer spending in the retail category alone. Top programs differentiate and lead by prioritizing the program experience over the end reward itself. Bond says brands should reconsider gamification because it is a driver of program enjoyment. Programs with gamification see an almost two-fold (1.8x) lift in enjoyment. Personalization is also important with 80 per cent of program members wanting more of their data to be used to improve personalization. Yet, for example, while 96 per cent of programs collect first names, only 57 per cent use them. Brands should also focus on partnerships. Program members have the capacity to be actively involved in only eight of the 13 programs in which they are members. This represents an opportunity for brands to come together in a partnership when program participants have similar traits or buying patterns.

Castle Launches New Mobile App

Castle Building Centres Group has launched a mobile app for Apple and Android devices. The app was designed as an extension of the group’s website and includes features such as a store locator, Castle vendor partner listing, a newsfeed, and the ability to enter contests online using online entry codes picked up at participating Castle locations. This is the first phase of the platform, which will be upgraded over time with more features and functions.

Home Hardware Realigns Hardlines Merchant Responsibilities

Home Hardware Stores Limited has realigned merchant responsibilities for its hardlines categories. Effective May 27, Dave Martin is director, merchandise hardlines; Mike Morin is merchandise manager, plumbing core; Marg Raycraft and Krista Hacker are associates, plumbing core; Cathy Shulist and Jason Wick are associates, hand tools/sporting goods; Shelley Wagner and Dick Tibben are associates, plumbing – fashion; Richard Sweeney is merchandise manager, power tools/outdoor power equipment; Leeanne Wilson, Greg Goetz, and Rob Kowalik are associates, power tools/outdoor power equipment; Jason Schierholtz is merchandise manager, hardware; Heather Babcock, Nicole Woeschka, and Ben Parkhouse are associates, hardware; Jim Solomon is merchandise manager, cleaning/organization/paper products; Leah Miller and Lauren Campbell are associates, cleaning/organization/paper products; Brian Straus is director, merchandise hardlines; Mike Zuk is merchandise manager, seasonal; Jacqui Friedmann, Danielle Zmija, and Thomas Todd are associates, seasonal; Doug Psutka is merchandise manager, furniture; Tammy Porter is associate, furniture; Sandy Jordan is merchandise manager, paint; Anita Desjardins, Adam Clark, and Ann Metzger are associates, paint; Mike McClennan is merchandise manager, lawn and garden; Lisa Jordan and Ryan Harrington are associates, lawn and garden; Tammy Wallace is merchandise manager, housewares; Krista McKay and Carly Ruhl are associates, housewares; Karen Bender and Perrin Smith are merchandise associates – floaters; Derril Linseman is merchandise manager, electrical; Marg Herron and Barb Smith are associates, electrical; Jason Boshart is merchandise manager, HVAC/automotive; Trish Fawcett and Landon Hall are associates, HVAC/automotive; Sharon Huver is merchandise manager, appliances; Jaime Wick and Cynthia George are associates, appliances; Todd Cressman is merchandise manager, general merchandise; Krista Gromeder and Brenda Poole are associates, general merchandise.

Giant Tiger Opens North Battleford Store

Giant Tiger opened a store in North Battleford, SK, on May 11. The 15,785-square-foot store will be stocked with home and family fashions, brand-name groceries, and everyday necessities.

May 14, 2019

Loyalty Investment Shows Strong Growth

The loyalty industry is growing, with 69 per cent of top executives saying they’ve increased loyalty investment in the past two years and more than half (55 per cent) saying their investments will continue to grow over the next two years, says a research report by LoyaltyOne. ‘Loyalty Big Picture’ shows companies are recognizing the value of using customer data for everything from product development and pricing optimization to real estate planning and even media. More than half of companies (61 per cent) say they use loyalty data across at least three different departments and a mere two per cent of companies say that loyalty data is used strictly by traditional departments like marketing and public relations. Loyalty matters more than ever to companies across industries, especially in highly consumer-driven areas such as retail, financial services, and hospitality. Facing increasing competition and shrinking budgets, they’re relying on loyalty’s data collection, insights, and rewards to unify end-to-end customer management and all the ways to activate customers and shape their behaviour. The research also shows that loyalty program members contribute to almost half (43 per cent) of companies’ annual sales. Ninety-five per cent of companies say that members spend more than non-members annually – as much as two to three times more. In fact, the ROI is so valuable that vendors and other third parties are often willing to pay for participation in programs.

RONA Bradford Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Lowe’s Canada is celebrating the 100th anniversary of RONA Bradford, a 6,000-square-foot store in Bradford, ON. Originally named Spence Lumber, the store was founded by James Spence in 1919 and operated as a lumberyard until the trend of home renovation and DIY repairs inspired a move and expansion several decades later. In 1990, the business moved to its current site where it sits on a four-acre lumberyard. Soon after, it became a building supply centre to better cater to the changing needs of the marketplace. In 2008, Dennis Doidge and his business partner Ted Minty bought the business. They eventually went on to create Doidge Building Centres in 2017 by bringing together other home improvement businesses they acquired in Ontario over the last two decades. Soon after, Doidge Building Centres became RONA affiliate dealers. Today, the Doidge Group remains an independent, family-run business featuring six locations in Ontario.

BMR Opens St-Hubert Express Store

BMR Group has opened a new store, Quincaillerie Stéphane Baril, under the BMR Express banner, in St-Hubert, QC. Last November, the owners, Stéphane Baril and Annie-Claude Hamelin, decided to join BMR after evolving under another banner since the opening of the store 30 years ago. The BMR Express banner is a variation of the traditional BMR banner developed for smaller stores.

Report Reveals True Cost Of U.S. Homeownership

The average U.S. homeowner spends $2,676 on maintenance and repairs, $6,649 on home improvements, $2,600 on property taxes, and $1,228 on homeowners insurance every year, says Clever Real Estate. Its reports reveal that a quarter of homeowners have less than $500 saved for home repairs. As well, in spite of costs, 65 per cent of homeowners say they’ve never felt home buyers remorse. Seventy-five per cent of homeowners are planning renovations in the next five years, with Millennials planning 50 per cent more than Baby Boomers. The most popular renovations being planned include landscaping, new flooring, bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels, and new decks. The research also shows that Millennials are feeling the pressure of homeownership more than any generation; they are twice as likely to be stressed about it than Baby Boomers. They are also three times as likely to use a personal loan and twice as likely to use a credit card to finance their renovations. Forty-three per cent of Millennials say they were surprised by the cost of maintaining their homes.

Winston Heads BB&B

Mary Winston is interim chief executive officer of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. She was recently appointed board member and has many years of experience in finance and accounting including at Family Dollar Stores Inc. and Giant Eagle, Inc.

Acquisitions Help HDI Sales

Hardwoods Distribution Inc. (HDI) had sales of $287 million in the first quarter of 2019, an increase over sales of $271 million in the first quarter of 2018. Sales in Canada were $34 million versus $36 million and sales in the U.S. were $190 million versus $186 million. Acquisitions contributed to the U.S. sales. Gross profit for the quarter was $51 million or 17.8 per cent versus $49 million and 18 per cent. EBITDA was $16.7 million compared to $18.4 million in the year-ago period. Profit for the period was $6 million compared to profit of $8 million last year.

May 13, 2019

B.C. Leads Building Permit Gains

Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits in March, up 2.1 per cent from February. The increase was attributable to higher construction intentions in western Canada, says Statistics Canada. Four provinces reported increases for the month, led by British Columbia with an increase of 12.8 per cent. Meanwhile, all provinces east of Manitoba reported declines. The largest decrease was in Ontario, down 1.4 per cent due to lower construction intentions in the residential sector. The national value of permits for non-residential buildings rose 7.9 per cent in March, due to higher construction intentions for both institutional and commercial buildings. Gains in both of these components stemmed from Quebec. In the industrial component, the value of permits declined 15.6 per cent in March, largely the result of lower construction intentions in Quebec. Municipalities issued $4.8 billion worth of residential permits in March, down 1.5 per cent from February. The value of single-family dwelling permits was down five per cent from the previous month, while the value of multi-family dwelling permits increased 1.3 per cent.

Walnut Grove To Get Ace Store

The owners of the Ace Canada store in Port Coquitlam, BC, will open a second store in Walnut Grove, BC. Michael Trentalance and Al Tsuchiya plan to open the 5,000-square-foot store this summer, the very first hardware store in Walnut Grove. The store will feature 12,000 products with more available on the Ace website. It will also feature a click-and-collect online shopping service, where customers can shop online and pick up their purchases in-store.

Consumers Demanding More Tech

Canadian consumers are demanding far more from their favourite retail brands and engaging more with smart tech, finds PwC Canada’s latest consumer insights survey. Half of Canadian consumers are interested in a seamless experience, but only a third want quick and easy payment solutions. As well, the adoption of smart technology, including voice-enabled technology, continues to grow and evolve. Approximately half (52 per cent) of respondents use smart technology to access information (current affairs and weather) and about one-third (31 per cent) to control smart home devices. This rise in adoption provides many opportunities for retailers to drive personalized offerings and also change retail marketing by considering voice search (not just about a mobile-friendly website anymore). The report highlights a list of imperatives for companies to improve ROX (return-on-experience), including understanding customers, treating data respectfully, and fusing customer experience with employee experience.

GOJO Launches PURELL Pro To Canadian Market

GOJO, the inventor of the PURELL hand sanitizer, has launched its Professional Multi-Surface Sanitizing and Disinfecting products to the Canadian market. This line of products kills germs, can be used on many surfaces, and is fragrance-free. The products are available through GOJO distributors.

Home And Garden Drives Spectrum Brands Sales

Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. had net sales of $906.7 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 2.7 per cent over net sales of $882.6 million in the first quarter of 2018. The growth was led by a 14 per cent increase in home and garden and growth of four per cent in the hardware and home improvement segment. Gross profit margin decreased 100 basis points for the quarter and operating margin expanded 100 basis points. Adjusted EBITDA was $115.6 million for the quarter, essentially unchanged over the year-ago quarter. Net loss from continuing operations was $1.06 million compared to a net loss of $1 million. The company says sales were strong in the U.S. residential security, plumbing, and builders' hardware categories.

LP Sales Slide

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) had net sales of $582 million for the first quarter of 2019, down from net sales of $691 million in the first quarter of 2018. Net income was $27 million compared to $91 million. Adjusted income from continuing operations was $17 million for the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $58 million compared to $159 million. The siding segment had net sales of $236 million in the first quarter, an increase of $9 million from $227 million in the year-ago period. The oriented strand board (OSB) segment had net sales of $208 million, a decrease of $105 million from $313 million last year. The engineered wood products (EWP) segment had net sales of $90 million, a decrease of $15 million from $106 million last year.

May 10, 2019

Canadian Tire Retail Sales Strong

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) had consolidated retail sales of $2.83 billion in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 3.3 per cent compared to consolidated retail sales of $2.74 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Excluding petroleum, consolidated retail sales increased 6.3 per cent year-over-year. Excluding petroleum, consolidated revenue increased $128 million or 5.4 per cent in the quarter. The retail segment revenue, excluding petroleum, increased 5.2 per cent, while retail sales increased 7.4 per cent year-over-year. Comparable sales for Canadian Tire stores were up 7.1 per cent. Net income was $97.4 million versus $99.1 million, a decrease of 1.7 per cent.

Home Hardware Among Most Trusted Brands

Home Hardware Stores Limited has been named as one of the ‘Top 10 Most Trusted Brands in Canada’ by the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. The retailer jumped 18 spots from 2018, ranking fourth on this year’s list. The accolade highlights how shared values, relationship management, and customer experience influence consumer trust. The Gustavson Brand Trust Index is completed by an academic institution and investigates consumer trust, the factors that affect it, and the brands that succeed at it. The index also measures the relationships between brand performance, social equity, trust, and advocacy for brands in Canada. It was established in 2015 with an aim to raise awareness on the role that trust plays in the minds of consumers when making purchasing decisions.

Abbotsford Hangs Ace Banner

Fraser Valley Building Supplies’ Abbotsford, BC, location now displays the Ace Canada banner. Operated by Fraser Valley Building Supplies since 2016, the store features 10,000 square feet of retail sales area as well as a four-acre drive-through lumberyard. The store was upgraded for its conversion to the Ace banner and now offers an enhanced product mix including tools and accessories from the CRAFTSMAN brand. Customers also have access to the Ace Canada eCommerce site.

CanSave Holds Annual EXPO

CanSave held its ‘EXPO 2019’ at its facility in Barrie, ON, on May 9, with vendors and suppliers on hand to display and sell their latest products and innovations in the building material, door, and kitchen industries. This was the 28th year for the event and the company celebrated with a dinner and entertainment by Celtic warrior band, Mudmen. The event featured vendor exhibitions, seminars, additions and upgrades to the CanSave showroom, the release of Cabinetsmith’s new colour style – Dove Grey, and Doorsmith’s new lineup of exterior doors.

Home And Building Lead Griffon Revenue

Griffon Corporation had consolidated revenue of $549.6 million for the second quarter of 2019, an increase of 15 per cent over consolidated revenue in the second quarter of 2018. The home and building products (HBP) segment revenue increased 20 per cent year-over-year, while the telephonics segment’s revenue decreased nine per cent. Income from continuing operations was $6.5 million compared to $2 million in the prior year quarter. Segment adjusted EBITDA was $53.7 million, an increase of 23 per cent from the prior-year quarter, primarily driven by HBP revenue growth. Revenue was $474.5 million, an increase of 20 per cent over last year. Clopay Building Products Company, Inc. benefited from the acquisition of CornellCookson in June 2018, while AMES Companies, Inc. benefited from favourable weather conditions which drove increases in U.S. lawn and garden products.

Newell Brands Has Weak Quarter

Newell Brands had net sales from continuing operations of $1.7 billion for the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of 5.5 per cent compared with $1.8 billion in the prior-year period. Core sales from continuing operations declined 2.4 per cent from the prior-year period. Operating margin was 0.9 per cent compared to negative 1.5 per cent while gross margin was 31.8 per cent compared to 33.4 per cent. The company had a net loss of $151 million for the quarter compared with net earnings of $53 million a year ago. The food and appliances segment had a core sales decline of 2.7 per cent year-over-year and home and outdoor living had a core sales decline of 2.9 per cent.

May 9, 2019

Housing Starts Trend Upwards

The trend in housing starts was 206,103 units in April, compared to 202,420 units in March, 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 increase is a result of higher-trending multi-unit starts which offset a continued decline in the trend for single starts in urban areas. The increase in the trend of multi-unit starts reflects a strong recovery in multi-unit SAAR activity in March and April from consecutive declines at the end of 2018 and the first months of 2019, says CMHC. Housing starts continued to trend higher in the Vancouver, BC, census metropolitan area (CMA), while the Winnipeg, MB, CMA starts trended higher compared to the previous month. In the Toronto, ON, CMA, housing starts trended slightly lower and the Calgary, AB, CMA trended slightly higher. New Brunswick's total housing starts increased in April compared to the same month last year. The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 235,460 units in April, up 22.6 per cent from 191,981 units in March.

RONA Deslongchamps Completes Renovation

Lowe's Canada is celebrating the end of the renovation work at the RONA Deslongchamps store, located in Rivière-Rouge, QC. The dealer-owner has completely redesigned the ground floor of the two-storey building in order to introduce an appliance department, improve the shopping experience, and enhance the showroom. In total, 300 additional products are now available in-store. Appliance brands offered include GE and Samsung and special orders are also available. The new showroom also allows customers to see and feel more product demonstrations, including outdoor furniture and barbecues.

Saniflo Canada Partners With Sales Agency For Ontario

Centon Sales Corp. is now the sales agency partner for Ontario for SANIFLO Canada, a division of Group SFA. Centon Sales provides sales and service to the wholesale channel for the Ontario region, Saniflo’s largest market. Based in Mississauga, ON, Centon Sales provides pre-construction and renovation planning support for plumbing brands by offering product training, technical support, and sales service. Each of the company’s agents focuses on a specific market or region, offering specialized support to meet the needs of Saniflo’s wholesale partners, including segments of plumbing contractors, plumbing wholesalers, residential builders and contractors, and engineers.

Home Improvement Retailers Among RCC Award Finalists

Canadian Tire, Federated Co-operatives Limited, Home Depot of Canada, Ltd., IKEA Canada, Kitchen Stuff Plus, Lowe's Canada, and Walmart Canada Corp. are among the finalists for Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) ‘2019 Excellence in Retailing (ERA) Awards.’ The awards identify and celebrate the best retail innovation in eCommerce experience; environmental leadership; health, safety, and wellness; in-store experience and design; in-store merchandising; loss prevention; omnichannel; philanthropic leadership; pop-up experience and design; retail marketing; and talent development. The 2019 winners will be announced at the ‘Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala’ on May 28, which falls on the first day of ‘STORE 2019,’ RCC’s annual retail industry event.

Home Hardware Makes Changes

Chris Parsons is director, eCommerce marketing, at Home Hardware Stores Limited. He has 15 years of digital marketing experience. Michael Gawtrey is director, loyalty and CRM – pro and consumer. He was previously senior director, consulting for Relation1. Brian Straus is director, merchandise hardlines. He was previously group merchandise manager. Dave Martin is also director, merchandise hardlines. He was also previously group merchandise manager. Richard Sweeney is merchandise manager. He has over 10 years of industry experience, most recently at Canadian Tire. Mike Morin is also merchandise manager. He has more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement retailing industry, most recently at Home Depot. Gino Gualtieri is vice-president, information technology, effective May 27. He has over 25 years of experience in the information technology field across a number of retail organizations.

Lifestyle Products Drive Clorox Sales

The Clorox Company had sales growth of two per cent for the third quarter of its 2019 fiscal year compared to the same period in its 2018 year. Gross margin for the quarter increased by 60 basis points to 43.4 per cent from 42.8 per cent in the year-ago period. Earnings from continuing operations were $187 million compared to $181 million. The cleaning segment had a one per cent sales decrease year-over-year as did the household segment, while lifestyle had a 23 per cent sales increase.

Sales Increase At Continental

Continental Building Products, Inc. had net sales of $122 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 4.5 per cent over net sales of $116.8 million in the first quarter of 2018. Wallboard sales volumes increased 5.5 per cent to 649 million square feet during the quarter. Net income was $15.9 million, up 16.7 per cent year-over-year, with adjusted net income up 8.1 per cent to $14.8 million. Adjusted EBITDA increased 2.5 per cent to $32.1 million in the quarter from $31.3 million in the year-ago period.

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