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

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Industry News

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May 30, 2008

Taiga Sales Drop

Taiga Building Products Ltd.’s sales for the quarter ended March 31 were $197.4 million, down 7.9 per cent from $213.1 million reported for the same quarter last year. This decline is primarily due to the weakness in pricing for lumber and panel products during the period. Net earnings before taxes for the quarter were $4.3 million compared to a net loss $1.6 million last year.

Income At Ace Declines

Ace Hardware Corporation had net income of $10.8 million for the first quarter of 2008, which was a decrease of $3.3 million, as compared to the $14.1 million for the first quarter of 2007. Total revenues for the first quarter of 2008 decreased $67.8 million, or 7.2 per cent, to $872.1 million. Total continuing merchandise sales in the first quarter of 2008 declined 6.4 per cent while retail service revenues declined 13.1 per cent. Merchandise sales to comparable domestic stores in the first quarter of 2008 accounted for $72.9 million of the sales decline.

MAAX Launches Pearl Baths Product Line

MAAX, a North American manufacturer of bathroom and spa products, has launched Pearl Baths, a new line of products in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. Pearl Baths products are designed for active women seeking personal balance, wellness, and a moment of reprieve from everyday stress. Pearl Baths products are equipped with high-performance massage systems including True Whirlpool, Aerofeel, Thermazone, and Chromatherapy as well as ergonomic seating positions.

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May 29, 2008

TIM-BR MART Announces Air Miles Contest

TIM-BR MART will soon launch the biggest in-store consumer contest in the company’s retailing history. From June 1 to July 31, customers shopping at the 225 TIM-BR MART stores across Canada offering AIR MILES will have a chance to win a grand prize of 50,000 AIR MILES reward miles. Every day from June 1 to July 31, shoppers earning a minimum of one qualifying reward mile will have their name automatically entered into the contest (one entry, per day, per collector). This contest is open to AIR MILES collectors and applies to contractor as well as the DIY customer.

MAAX Selling Spa Division

MAAX Corporation has entered into an agreement with Spa Logic Inc., also known under the brand name Arctic Spas, which will see Arctic purchase MAAX Spas (Arizona) Inc., its spa division. MAAX's strategic business plan is to grow its core business – the bathroom sector in North America.

Wal-Mart Achieves Detergent Goal

Wal-Mart Canada has achieved its goal to carry only concentrated products in the liquid laundry detergent category in every one of its 299 stores nationwide. Concentrated liquid laundry detergent is better for the environment because customers do not have to use as much and it requires less water and packaging. The switch in Canada alone will save an estimated 25 million gallons of water, six million pounds of plastic resin, eight million pounds of cardboard, 443,500 metric tonnes of carbon emissions, and take the equivalent of 1,220 trucks off the road over a three-year period. For water, this will save the equivalent amount required for six million showers.

Sears Revenues Increase

Sears Canada Inc. had total revenues for the 13-week period ended May 3 of $1.254 billion compared to $1.219 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 2.9 per cent. Same store sales decreased 1.9 per cent. Net earnings for the quarter were $34.8 million compared to $5 million for the first quarter last year.

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May 28, 2008

Sales Down In Ontario  

While there is strong economic growth in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, it’s not nearly enough to offset the declines in Ontario and Quebec, says Kubas Consultants’   ‘Retail Sales Outlook’ for the second quarter. It says the economy in central Canada is practically in a recession with sales down 0.3 per cent from a year ago. While its projections for total 2008 Canadian retail sales have been revised upward to 5.4 per cent versus five per cent, this is all due to gas prices. Practically all retailers other than gasoline stations are expected to see lower sales growth in 2008 versus last year. First quarter sales growth for building materials and other home improvement retailers softened markedly from previous rates and a slowing housing market implies this trend will continue.

Tax Reforms Needed To Support Small Business Growth

Reforming small business taxation would remove major incentives for firms to stay small, encourage their growth, and make the Canadian economy more competitive overall, says a C.D. Howe Institute commentary. Among the key recommendations in ‘Clearing Hurdles: Key Reforms to Make Small Business More Successful’ is a flat federal corporate income tax applicable to all business, regardless of size. It notes that as small businesses get bigger, they lose their small business benefits as their asset, employment, and income levels grow past certain thresholds. This can discourage growth – as businesses adjust their decisions to hold on to preferential treatment – or saddle growing businesses with increasing costs of operation as preferential treatment is lost.

Americans Grill Year-round

More Americans are using their grills year-round, says research from NPD Group. Its ‘Eating Patterns in America’ report says usage of outdoor grills is at an “all-time high” and nearly double what it was 20 years ago. By season, grill usage patterns are 37.2 per cent in 2007, up from 31.4 per cent in 1998 in the spring months of March through May; 49.3 per cent in the months of June through August 2007, up from 46.3 per cent in 1998; 39.9 per cent in 2007 from 30.3 per cent in 1998 during the fall period of September to November; and 26.5 per cent in 2007 from 18.7 per cent in 1998 in the winter months of December through February.

‘Store’ Starts Next Week

‘STORE 2008,’ Canada's annual retail conference takes place June 2 and 3 at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto, ON. The event is expected to attract more than 1,000 retail executives, suppliers, and vendors. Sessions this year will look at seeing the customer through the employees’ eyes. This session looks recruiting employees whose profiles fit the company's personality and developing growth strategies that anticipate employee needs and breeds employee and customer loyalty. For more information, visit http://www.storeconference.ca/

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May 27, 2008

Retailers Have Banner Year

Canadian retailers had a banner year in 2007, as the annual rate of growth in their sales was the second highest in five years, says Statistics Canada’s ‘Analysis in Brief’ series. Retailers sold an estimated $412 billion worth of goods and services in 2007, up 5.8 per cent. For the first time, employment in the retail trade industry reached parity with employment in manufacturing. Provincially, retail sales in Saskatchewan surged 13 per cent, twice the rate of growth in 2006. This was the largest increase in the nation for 2007 and Saskatchewan's fastest annual growth rate since the series first began in 1991. For every $100 consumers spent in retail stores in 2007, $18.70 went to new car dealers; $16 to supermarkets; $11.80 to general merchandise stores; $11.30 to gasoline stations; and $6.90 to pharmacies and personal care stores.

Bill C-52 Cause For Concern

When the prime minister, during a pre-Christmas visit to a Salvation Army toy depot, announced the ‘Canada Consumer Product Safety Action Plan,’ many assumed that it was directed at the safety of consumer products such as toys. However, its plan is so much more than that as evidenced by Bill C-52, says Douglas C. New, writing in Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s ‘Consumer Product Safety and Recall Management Bulletin.’ As defined in the CPSA, a “consumer product” is any product that can reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual for use for non-commercial purposes including domestic, recreational and sports purposes. If enacted in its current form, some manufacturers may be surprised to discover that the products they make are considered to be “consumer products” under the CCSPA. For example, products produced by commercial restaurant equipment manufacturers have gradually found their way into residential kitchens. With the enactment of the CCPSA, manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers will need to learn to be aware of where there products are ending up. Failure to comply with the legislation could lead to serious fines or even imprisonment.

Wal-Mart In Solar Experiment

The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) and Wal-Mart Canada are pursuing a project with Menova Energy that would provide up to $5.9 million to support the demonstration of the company's Power-Spar solar concentrator technology. The intention is to test and install the technology on the roof of a Wal-Mart store in Ontario, yet to be selected or constructed. This demonstration would be used to assess the potential benefits of the system as a candidate technology to help Wal-Mart Canada meet its long-term sustainability goal to be supplied by 100 per cent renewable energy.

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May 26, 2008

olds AB

Two Castle Stores Open

Castle Building Centres has announced the grand opening of two new stores. Warman Home Centre, in Warman, SK, has been with Castle since 1989. Store owner David Holst also won the Industry Achievement Award for his store. Leo’s Building Supplies in Olds, AB, (pictured) has been a member of Castle since 2006. The store, owned by Leo Visser, is 16,000 square feet.

Toro Earnings Decline

Toro’s second quarter earnings are 16.3 per cent lower than the same quarter last year.  The manufacturer of landscaping equipment reported net earnings of $62.8 million, down from $74.9 million last year. Net sales were $638.5 million, down seven per cent from $686.7 as reported last year.

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May 23, 2008

Average Renovation Costs $12,800

An estimated 1.5 million households in 10 major Canadian centres completed renovations last year that cost an average of more than $12,800, says the ‘Renovation and Home Purchase Survey’ by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Close to $19.7 billion was spent on renovations in 2007 across the 10 major centres surveyed, an increase of more than $2 billion compared to 2006. As well, when Canadian homeowners were asked about their plans for this year, 40 per cent indicated that they intend to spend $1,000 or more on renovations by the end of 2008.

Sales Remain Stable In March

After a decrease in February, retailers saw their sales remain relatively stable in March, edging up 0.1 per cent to an estimated $35.5 billion, says Statistics Canada. However, the strong rise in January led to a 1.8 per cent increase in retail sales in the first quarter of 2008, a growth rate similar to that of the previous quarter. Although retailers experienced moderate sales in the middle of 2007, retail sales have generally been rising at a rapid clip since 2004. The weather also seems to have had a dampening effect on sales by general merchandise stores that sell, among other things, clothing and lawn and garden products) and by building and outdoor home supplies stores.

Tembec Extends Shutdowns

Tembec has extended a series of shutdowns at its sawmills located in Elko and Canal Flats in British Columbia. The mills, with an annual capacity of 450 million board feet will shut down for the weeks of July 28 and August 4. These shutdowns could also have an impact on the its related finger joint facility in Cranbrook, BC. The company also indicated that, based on its view of present and foreseen market conditions, it will extend the indefinite idlings and reduced operations in place at a number of Ontario and Quebec sawmills.

Stanley Buys RFID Systems Maker

Stanley Works will purchase Xmark, the Canadian subsidiary of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems maker VeriChip. Xmark’s products include child security products as well as asset tracking systems for hospitals. Xmark had revenues of $30 million last year.

Investors Complain About Customer Service

Home Depot shareholders who also shop in the company's stores are questioning its commitment to customer service. They shared their poor experiences shopping at its stores at its annual meeting. They said some employees don't seem well-trained in the store's products; they also criticized the performance of people who do home installations for the company; and they complained about difficulty getting the attention of Home Depot workers.

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May 22, 2008

Show Sets Dates For 2009

The 2009 Canadian Home Improvement Show will be held in February 5 and February 6, 2009, at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto, ON. It says 2008 was a pivotal year for the show hosted by the Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario (LBMAO). More than 850 orders were placed. In a recent survey of retailer attendees, 95 per cent said they came to the show with the intention of buying and 100 per cent plan to attend next year. For more information, visit http://www.canadianhomeimprovementshow.com/

Leading Indicator Rose In April

The composite leading indicator rose 0.1 per cent in April after no change in March, says Statistics Canada. Only three of the 10 components declined, the fewest since the turmoil erupted in global financial markets last summer. Household demand was sustained by further gains in spending on durable goods. These offset a seventh straight decline for housing, notably as housing starts retreated sharply in April after a strong start to the year.

cooking ladies

Cooking Ladies Take To Road

The Cooking Ladies! – Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay – will hit the road this summer and travel 14,000 kilometres from Ontario to British Columbia and back again. Along the way, they will be making special appearances at Home Hardware stores.  


ponoka 

Bruce’s Celebrates New Home

Bruce’s True Value in Ponoka, AB, has reopened after it was destroyed by fire last year. The new location is down the street from the old store in the downtown area. It boasts 4,400 square feet of space and now includes a Garden Centre. It has also retained the unique categories and shopping niches that shoppers in the area have come to expect.

Four Réno-Dépôt Stores Renovated

Renovation work on four of RONA Inc.’s Réno-Dépôt stores in Quebec is complete. The Marché Central store in Montreal and stores in Brossard, Rosemère, and Quebec City have been overhauled and updated to reflect the new Réno-Dépôt concept. Emphasis is placed on the strengths that have made Réno-Dépôt such a big success with consumers: competitive prices, a vast array of products, detailed selections within each product category, and fast, efficient shopping. There are 16 stores in Quebec operating under the Réno-Dépôt banner.

Revenue Up At Liquidation World

Liquidation World Inc.’s revenue from continuing operations in the second quarter increased 0.6 per cent to $42.2 million from $42 million in the same period last year. Same store sales during the quarter decreased 4.2 per cent.

Hino Opens BC Store

Hino Motors Canada, LTD has opened a Hino Central in Langley, BC, serving the Fraser Valley. Jeff Polovick, dealer/principal of Hino Central in Edmonton, AB, was awarded the location.

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May 21, 2008

Home Depot Earnings Down 66 Per Cent

First quarter net earnings at Home Depot fell 66 per cent to $356 million from $1.05 billion in the same period last year. The significant drop in net earnings was due to a one-time charge of $543 million as a result of its decision to close 15 stores and not proceed on 50 previously planned new stores. Excluding the one-time charge, Home Depot had consolidated net earnings of $697 million. Net sales fell 3.4 per cent to $17.9 billion from $18.56 billion in the same period last year.

Act Concerns CHHMA

While the CHHMA does not have an issue with Bill C-52 (the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act), proposed legislation that protects the health and safety of Canadians from products imported into Canada by less than scrupulous individuals, it is concerned that the act carries a lot of "vague" and "general" statements. These statements could result in "broad sweeping" consequences that could lead to some serious interpretations and bureaucratic discretions down the road. The CHHMA is lobbying to make the act more specific and clear as well as to harmonize with other jurisdictions where there is overlap. It is planning on holding a member forum on June 2 to discuss the act.

Wholesaler Sales Rebound

Wholesalers reported a modest rebound in sales in March, helped by higher deliveries of building supplies, says Statistics Canada. However, the increase was not enough to prevent a second consecutive quarterly decline in sales. Sales increased by an estimated 0.6 per cent to $42.7 billion, recouping some of the 2.1 per cent decline reported in February.

Homeowners Planning Renovations

Three-quarters of Americans and Canadians are planning to carry out a renovation this year, despite the fact that only one in 10 homeowners plans to sell their homes in the next year, says a study for Masterchem Industries. The ‘Roller Report’ shows the majority of respondents (71 per cent) will complete a renovation with paint; 46 per cent will upgrade with an interior paint project; and 25 per cent with an exterior paint project. It also found homeowners uncertain about ‘green’ building products such as bamboo flooring and compact fluorescent bulbs. Forty per cent of homeowners perceive green building products to be too expensive or hard to find, while 79 per cent say they don't know what low VOC paint and primer is. While professionals are also still learning about green building products, nearly half (46 per cent) will use eco-friendly options at the request of a client.

Wal-Mart Using J. Walter Thompson

Wal-Mart Canada has hired J. Walter Thompson as its advertising agency of record for English Canada. This means J. Walter Thompson will assume full-range marketing responsibilities to promote Wal-Mart Canada's retail leadership and corporate citizenship. Wal-Mart Canada began operations in 1994. The company's advertising account was initially managed by SMW Advertising and transferred through agency acquisition to Publicis in 1999. Company advertising has focused on Wal-Mart's commitment to customers and the communities it serves.

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May 20, 2008

Lowe’s Earnings Down 18 Per Cent

Lowe's Cos is reporting a drop in first quarter earnings of nearly 18 per cent. Its net profit in the period ended May 2 fell 17.9 per cent to $607 million from a year earlier. Sales dropped to $12 billion from $12.2 billion a year ago. The home improvement sector has been hurt as consumers pulled back on renovation spending in the face of falling home values, tighter credit requirements, and higher prices for basic items such as food and gasoline. Comparable store sales declined 8.4 per cent.

TIM-BR Mart Adds Three Locations

TIM-BR Mart has added a new dealer as well as two locations in its coast-to-coast network. Pinnacle Building Materials Ltd., in Red Deer, AB, is a brand new operation owned by Barry Wunsch. It will open its doors for business in the coming months and anticipates a near-100 per cent contractor customer-base. North American Lumber Ltd. has opened a new location in Kerrobert, SK, bringing its total number of operations to 23. Consolidated Gypsum Supply Ltd., a TIM-BR Mart commercial dealer for more than 20 years, has added its seventh location. It is in Saskatoon, SK, and will open June 1.

Chevalier ‘Young Retailer Of Year’

Maurice Chevalier, owner of Morinville Home Hardware in Morinville, AB, has been named ‘Young Retailer of the Year’ in the over $2 million in sales category. The program, co-ordinated by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), recognizes outstanding achievement by hardware retailers age 35 and younger. In 2001, he and his wife, Elizabeth, took ownership of a Bumper to Bumper auto parts franchise his father had owned. He recognized that a hardware store would give him a better retail presence so he built a Home Hardware next to the existing auto parts store.

Sheffield Introduces Hardware Line

Sheffield, a brand of leading-edge knives, multi-tools, and accessories for the outdoor and DIY markets, has launched its first hardware line. This new line of approximately 60 items is comprised almost exclusively of toolbox staples and cutting tools to capitalize on its reputation for quality knives. Items within the new hardware line include chisels, planes, pliers, wrenches, hammers, levels, tape measures, and screwdrivers.

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May 16, 2008

Urban Outfitters Moves Into Lawn And Garden

Urban Outfitters Inc., best known as a clothing retailer, has launched a lawn and garden format called ‘Terrain.’ It has opened its first store in the Philadelphia, PA. The location, called Terrain at Styer’s, sells plants, indoor and outdoor furniture, pottery and antiques, and also offers a landscape design service. It replaces a local nursery called Styer’s that Urban Outfitters acquired in February.

Moore Managing HR

Estelle Moore is human resource manager at TruServ Canada Inc. She has more than 20 years experience in human resources, primarily in the financial services sector. The majority of her career has been with the Royal Bank of Canada and, most recently, she was with the Assiniboine Credit Union.

European Consumers Demand More Self-Service Options

Increasing numbers of European consumers use self-service in their everyday lives, says research from NCR Corporation. As well, an increasing percentage of individuals actually favour businesses that offer ‘do-it-myself’ options. The ‘2008 NCR Self-Service Consumer’ survey reveals that 67 per cent of consumers across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. are more likely to do business with a company that offers the flexibility to interact using self-service. Moreover, 56 per cent say their likelihood to use self-service has increased over the past year. In addition to being more likely to do business with enterprises offering self-service, 58 per cent of the survey respondents say the availability of self-service technologies creates a more positive perception of the deployer’s brand.

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May 15, 2008

Speculation Fails To Influence Canadians

Canadians overall are not influenced by the speculation that the Canadian economy will be negatively affected by the U.S. economic downturn, says a report by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). When it comes to choosing the best time to purchase, ‘Housing and Mortgage Market Trends in Canada’ found mixed results. One-third of respondents said now was a good time to buy a house, one-third said it was not a good time, and the final third were neutral. The most positive attitudes are in the Atlantic region, the survey showed, where 49 per cent of residents feel it is a good time to purchase a home. Meanwhile, in western Canada, consumers are making decisions based on rising housing prices and deteriorating affordability. For example, 70 per cent of Saskatchewan residents have reacted to the province’s current hot housing market and feet it is not an appropriate time to purchase a home.

Reynolds Earns Gold At NHS

Reynolds Consumer Products’ Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealer was the gold award winner at the first-ever Homewares Show Awards Ceremony at the 2008 National Hardware Show. The product was designed to improve freezer storage. LightWedge’s USB Flex Neck2 LED Light, a traveling lamp for laptops, earned the silver award. Davom Products, Inc.’s PROLOCK Propane Safety Cap, a child-resistant, tamper-resistant safety cap to prevent unwanted access to the propane tank valve, earned the bronze award.

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May 14, 2008

RONA Same-store Sales Down

Poor economic and weather conditions resulted in a 5.2 per cent drop in same-store sales at RONA inc. in the first quarter of 2008. While sales did increase 3.8 per cent from $878.5 million to $911.5 million for the quarter, net earnings stood at $1 million compared to $9 million in 2007. “The results for first quarter 2008 reflect the strong drop in consumer confidence in the country’s economic growth,” says Robert Dutton, president and CEO. “Results were also affected by weather conditions that were particularly unfavourable to construction and renovation activity in Ontario and Quebec, where we get nearly 70 per cent of our sales.”

Wal-Mart Profits Up In First Quarter

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s first quarter profits rose 6.9 per cent, but the retailer issued a cautious outlook for the current quarter and warned that the economy will be a "critical factor" in 2008. It cited improved inventory management and better customer service as the reasons for the increase.

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May 13, 2008

Cullen Takes Show On Road

This spring garden enthusiasts from across the country will have the chance to see Canadian gardening expert and television personality, Mark Cullen, as he delivers helpful lawn and gardening tips, tricks, and techniques. Home Hardware, in partnership with Cullen, will host events at four locations across Canada. Beginning on the west coast and heading east, he will offer the latest trends and products in lawn care and gardening, specific to each region's climate and soil type. A complete list of tour dates, locations, and additional information can be found at www.homehardware.ca

Reader Grills At Canadian Tire

Award-winning chef and food entertainer Ted Reader has partnered with Napoleon Gourmet Grills to introduce two grills that will be carried at Canadian Tire stores. His passion for creating ‘real food for real people’ has lead to a 25-year career as a chef, numerous television and radio appearances, dozens of award-winning cookbooks and food products, and hundreds of thousands of satisfied BBQ lovers. His Napoleon Gourmet Grills feature roll top lids, stainless steel temperature gauges, and cast-aluminum no-rust sides.

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May 12, 2008

Vermont American Wins NHS Award

Customer feedback enabled Vermont American to earn a Silver Hammer Award at the National Hardware Show (NHS). Buyers and merchandise managers of America’s top 500 home centre/building material dealers/retailers chose top suppliers that demonstrated overall support of the retailers’ sales, marketing, and partnership efforts in categories such as inventory management and quality control.

TIM-BR MARTS Designates ‘Green Buyer’

TIM-BR MARTS Ltd.’ has designated one of its current procurement team members as their ‘Green Buyer,’ a position with a mandate to become more knowledgeable on environmental products and alternatives. Phil Temple, its regional buyer for building materials, will begin to proactively research and source additional environmentally-friendly alternatives to augment its current ‘green’ product line-up from existing and new vendors. His immediate efforts will concentrate on products pertaining to a home’s envelope – roofing, insulation, siding, etc. – that help increase energy efficiency, which will also tie in with the EnerGrade initiative the company launched last year.

Brantford Home Hardware Celebrates Grand Opening

Brantford Home Hardware now has an 18,000-square-foot facility. The new store is housed in a former 15,000-square-foot grocery store. The expansion will mainly house a vast plumbing section to meet the needs of area contractors. It also adopted the ‘Build A Better Home Store’ design which offers a variety of highlighted service areas and departments such as Home Expressions, Paint & Decorating, and Customer Service.

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May 9, 2008

Remodeling Activity Steady

Remodeling activity in the U.S. remained steady during the first quarter of 2008, says the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index (RMI). The group’s market conditions indicator rose slightly to 41.8 from 40.9 in the previous quarter. An index measuring future expectations remained unchanged at 37.9. The Remodeling Market Index measures remodelers’ perceptions of market demand for current and future residential projects. Any number over 50 indicates that the majority of remodelers view the market conditions as improving. The index has been running below 50 since the final quarter of 2005. The amount of work committed for the next three months decreased to 29.63 from 33.15 in the fourth quarter, “demonstrating a decline in the backlog of remodeling jobs.”

Canadian Tire Adding Two Concepts

Canadian Tire Corp. will launch a new store concept this year in an effort to capture more business in smaller markets. As well, it will re-model bigger stores to focus on stronger categories such as sporting goods and hardware supplies. The new store concepts will start to be launched in the summer, with about 100 rural and underserved smaller markets already identified for the smaller stores. These will have about one-third the selling space of a regular Canadian Tire outlet. Other Canadian Tire stores will be converted to ‘smart’ stores which will focus on more productive categories such as sporting goods, pet care, and storage merchandise. The re-jigging will create 20 per cent more space for the expanded offerings.

Wal-Mart Plans More Stores

Wal-Mart Canada Corp. plans up to 27 new stores by the end of January 2009. Half of these projects will be new stores, primarily ‘supercentres,’ which sell a full range of groceries in addition to general merchandise. The rest will involve the expansion or relocation of existing stores. It will open its 300th store in Mississauga, ON, this spring.

Whitecourt Celebrates New Location

Whitecourt Home Hardware Building Centre in Whitecourt, AB, has relocated to a new 50,000 square foot facility. The new store includes a large lumberyard and a 10,000 square foot garden centre, as well as lighting and plumbing displays and a Home Expressions department. “Our business has grown exponentially since we first came to Whitecourt,” says Rob Wright, the dealer/owner who has been in the hardware industry for nearly 30 years. “The original store is a shadow of the new store. We’ve expanded all the departments, added more quality product lines in addition to adding spectacular lighting and plumbing displays – all to meet the growing demands of our customers.”

Trex Earnings Triple 

Earnings at composite decking manufacturer Trex more than tripled in the first quarter to $8.9 million from $2.73 million in the same period last year. Net sales were up 3.1 percent to $119.5 million from $115.9 million last year. The company credited expanding distribution for the earnings increase, as well as brand strength.

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May 8, 2008

Home Depot Holds Fall Showcase 

The Home Depot featured its new and exclusive lines available for Fall 2008 at its semi-annual product showcase. Held at the Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar in Toronto, ON, a new range of environmentally friendly EcoOptions products were on display from certified engineered flooring to approved stain removers and cleaners. Products reflected Fall/Winter 2008 themes and palettes, such as ‘Up Country,’ grey, and French/antique whites; intense ‘Fireside’ reds and yellows for pillows and rugs; and ‘New Artisan’ kitchens and baths fusing together deco and industrial looks.

Owens Cornings Suffers Loss

Owens Corning swung to a first quarter loss, hurt by weak demand and lower selling prices on some products amid a difficult housing environment. The quarterly loss totaled $15 million compared with a profit of $1 million last year. Revenue rose 20 per cent to $1.35 billion from $1.12 billion last year. Sales were helped by its acquisition of Saint-Gobain's reinforcements and composite fabrics business in November 2007.

 cathelle

Cathelle Moves Into New Facility

Cathelle Inc. has moved into its new 60,000 square foot facility in Sainte Anne de Bellevue, a suburb just west of Montreal, QC. An electrical category specialist, the company provides full service supply chain and merchandising solutions to the home centre, building material, hardware, and specialty retail segments.

AHMA Gears Up For Expo Nacional Ferretera 

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s Pavilion Program will take part in Expo Nacional Ferretera. AHMA will be uniting a powerful group of U.S.-based hardware/home improvement manufacturers under its AHMA/USA Pavilion to showcase American brands and products to the Latin American market. The show will be held September 12 to 14 at Expo Guadalajara in Mexico. It is the dominant and leading hardware/home improvement trade show for the Mexican/Latin American market, attracting more than 66,000 attendees in 2007. For more information, visit www.ahma.org/expo

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May 7, 2008

Housing Starts Drop On Alberta Pullback

A big pullback in Alberta sent the total value of building permits issued in Canada down by 4.5 per cent in March to $5.6 billion, says Statistics Canada. A sharp pullback of 32.9 per cent in building permits issued in Alberta was the reason for the drop in the national figures. Excluding Alberta, the value of building permits would have increased by 5.1 per cent instead of declining 4.5 per cent nationally. March’s decrease was the fourth decline in five months and residential construction intentions declined to their second-lowest value in 13 months as they retreated 5.7 per cent to $3.6 billion. The overall number of residential units approved has been on a downward trend since the summer of 2007.

 bruce shuh

Home Hardware Veteran Starts 35-day Ride

Bruce Shuh, retiring director of marketing of Home Hardware Stores Limited, has started a motorcycle trek across North America to support Special Olympics Canada. “As a member of the marketing team at Home Hardware, I was fortunate to be involved with the support and growth of Home’s strong relationship with Special Olympics Canada over the past nine years,” says Shuh. “I’m excited to carry on Home’s commitment to Special Olympics well into my retirement and to embark on this journey. With sunshine in the forecast and a helpful GPS system installed and functional, I’m ready to go!” The length of his 35-day motorcycle trip holds a special significance as he worked at Home Hardware for 35 years.

Planks Look Like Tropical Wood

A new line of composite materials, designed for outdoor living, is now available in Canada. TimberTech, distributed by Goodfellow, offers a line of deck and terrace shapes, and high-quality railing systems. The planks look like tropical wood and feel like real wood. They come in many different surfaces – semi-smooth, grooved, or brushed – and species including rosewood, walnut, and tropical teak.

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May 6, 2008

Homeowners Go Underground

A considerable number of Canadian homeowners are going underground, says a survey for Royal & SunAlliance (RSA). It found that a majority of homeowners are using their basements as living spaces. One-third of respondents who live in a home with a basement that they have access to reported having a home office in their basement, while one in four used the space as a work-out room. As well, the survey revealed that 21 per cent of basements contain a home theatre system.

Acclaimed Speakers At Garden Centre Symposium

Two of the most dynamic presenters of business, sales, and marketing in the nursery trades will headline Landscape Ontario’s speaker lineup for the Garden Centre Symposium. This education event for garden centre and nursery business professionals is scheduled for October 20 at the Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, ON. The two feature speakers are Anne Obarski and Roy Prevost.  Obarski is the executive director of Merchandise Concepts in St. Louis, MS, and author of ‘Applied Retail Mathematics’ and ‘Surprising Secrets of Mystery Shoppers.’ Prevost is a consultant and strategist with more than 25 years of experience in marketing, wholesale, retail, and manufacturing for the giftware industry. He forecasts consumer trends and his upcoming book ‘Competing with a 700 lb Gorilla’ focuses on the tools and techniques retailers need to thrive and prosper in the big box retail environment.

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May 5, 2008

Atlantic Show Shortened

The Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association’s ‘Atlantic Building Materials Show’ will be reduced to two days next year. The 2009 show marks its 55th year. As well, it will move from mid-March to February 19 and 20 in 2009.

 Weyerhaeuser Reports Loss

Weyerhaeuser Co. lost $148 million in the first three months of the year compared with a profit of $720 million, in the year-ago period. Sales fell 24 per cent to $3.39 billion from $4.5 billion a year ago. The company attributed the loss to a sagging housing market and low product prices.

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May 2, 2008

Home Depot Closing 15 Stores

The Home Depot plans to open 55 new stores, including 36 new stores in the U.S., this year. However, it also announced plans to close 15 U.S. stores. The number of new stores openings in the U.S. has also been scaled back from 50 to 36. Aggregate new store capital spending will be reduced by approximately $1 billion over the next three years. The 15 stores to be closed do not meet its targeted returns.   

CFIB Applauds Effort To Cut Red Tape

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) is applauding the federal government’s progress towards reducing red tape, but cautions more must be done. "Red tape is a $33 billion a year hidden tax. It is one of the most significant headaches business owners deal with day-in, day-out. We're making some good progress towards reducing it, but we have to keep pushing," says Garth Whyte, executive vice-president. The government has moved on several of CFIB specific recommendations to streamline red tape including simplifying the automobile expense deduction by allowing people to keep a logbook for a sample period of time instead of for a full year. The government is also introducing a passport that can be renewed every 10 years instead of every five years.

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May 1, 2008

Household Products Recognized

The National Hardware Show and HomeWorld Business are seeking exhibitors at the Homewares Show who truly standout in their product category. The Homewares Show was created in 2007 as a response to retailers’ increasing sales in the housewares product category. Now, products in these categories – which include cleaning supplies, storage and organization, small appliances, home health and safety, impulse, and kitchen gadgets – are competing to be named the ‘best in class’ at the Homewares Show Awards at the 2008 National Hardware Show, May 6 to 8 in Las Vegas, NV. Senior buyers from the largest specialty retailers in the country will be judging entries from exhibitors who have chosen to participate. Scores will be based on ‘sell through’ benefits such as aesthetics, uniqueness, consumer friendliness, value, and packaging. For more information, visit www.nationalhardwareshow.com  

Retailers Heroes During Disasters

Big box retailers consistently outperform the federal government when it comes to disaster relief, says a study by researchers at George Mason University. ‘Making Hurricane Response More Effective: Lessons from the Private Sector’ argues that big boxes are more adept at handling natural disasters because they’re familiar with local markets, they encourage individual decision-making and, at the end of the day, they’re out to make a profit. Companies such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart are first on the scene with truckloads of emergency supplies. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, the retailers had their stores reopened before the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived on the scene.

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April 30, 2008

RONA Partners With ‘Real Renos’ Host

RONA has announced a new association with Jim Caruk, master contractor and host of the popular TV show ‘Real Renos’ on HGTV. Through this association, Caruk will appear in RONA advertising, provide how-to tips, and will meet RONA customers at various stores across Canada. "I'm thrilled to be part of the RONA team and to help guide shoppers to a Canadian company that cares about its customers," says Jim Caruk.

Permacon Develops New Product Line

Permacon Group, a manufacturer of prefabricated concrete products for the landscaping and masonry industry, has developed a new ‘Natural’ category product line. The line looks and feels like real stone and delivers all of concrete’s recognized advantages. Since they are modular products, they need less trimming for easier installation and reduced waste.

Tubs Easy To Install For Builders

MAAX, a manufacturer of bathroom and spa products, has introduced Skyline, easy to install tubs for its builder series. Construction-friendly features such as an integrated tiling flange on three sides of the bathtub to prevent water infiltration and a 3.5 inch above-the-floor rough (AFR) to provide ample space to pipe directly under the bathtub without having to relocate the existing drain have been incorporated into the line.

 Second Quarter Best For Lawn And Garden

The lion’s share of lawn and garden sales occurs in the second quarter, says data from the NPD Group. It says 36 per cent of barbecue grills; 38.2 per cent of grass seed/repair; 38.5 per cent of long-handle tools; and a full 43.3 per cent of fertilizer/herbicide/pesticide are sold at this time of year. However, there has been some shifting of sales trends. Most notably, price appears to be playing more of a factor in consumer purchase decisions compared to last year. Warehouse home centres lead all channels in dollar share sales of fertilizer and barbecue grills. The story is very similar in long-handle tools and grass seed, where the big boxes also dominate. However mass merchants are making in-roads as price becomes a more important factor in the consumer’s decision-making process.

Masco Sales Fall

Net sales in the first quarter at Masco fell 13 per cent to $2.45 billion from $2.8 billion in the same period last year. Masco’s companies include Delta Faucet, KraftMaid cabinets, and Behr paints. The first quarter of 2008 results were adversely affected by significantly lower sales volume to the new home construction market and a continued decline in consumer spending for home improvement products, said the company.

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April 29, 2008

Ace Testing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

Ace Hardware Corporation is testing pallet trucks powered by zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cells at its Sacramento, CA, Retail Support Center. The initial test, which started in February 2008, consisted of replacing lead-acid batteries, which take about six hours to recharge using electric power, with hydrogen fuel cells – requiring less than three minutes to refill – for six out of the 41 pallet trucks and forklifts at the facility. A hydrogen fuel cell operates safely, cleanly, and efficiently, generating clean water as its by-product.

 Holmes Promotes BASF

BASF’s spray polyurethane insulation, WALLTITE BASF, will now carry the ‘Holmes Mark’ to identify it as a Mike Holmes approved product. For several years, Holmes has promoted it as the insulation of choice for homebuilders, contractors, and homeowners across Canada.

Wal-Mart Associates Get Record Bonus

Wal-Mart Canada store associates shared a record $45.4 million in bonus payments, based on company and store goals for 2007. This represents the company's greatest bonus payout in its 14-year history. It began a bonus program in 1994 when the retailer took over the country’s Woolco stores. This year, 242 of 299 stores nationwide paid bonuses to eligible part- and full-time associates under the program with the average reward nearly $1,000.

 Weyerhaeuser Closing Miramichi Plant

Weyerhaeuser will permanently close its Miramichi, NB, oriented strand board plant permanently, effective June 6. The facility has not operated since January 2007. It has tried to sell the facility since then. It cites a lack of buyer interest, the continuing poor state of the U.S. housing market, and the high cost of maintaining the idled site as reasons for the company’s decision to permanently close the facility.

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April 28, 2008

RONA Closing Two Stores

RONA will close two Home & Garden big box stores – one is Scarborough, ON, and the other in Richmond, BC. The Scarborough store was operating as a Building Box store when it was acquired as part of RONA’s acquisition of Réno-Dépôt in 2003. RONA had opened its own store within two blocks of the Building Box store when it was acquired. The Richmond store opened in 2005. Both stores will be closed by the end of August.

TruServ Announces ‘Be Earth Smart’ Program

TruServ Canada Inc. has launched a new ‘Be Earth Smart’ program that will assist stores when highlighting environmentally friendly products in their stores. “In response to the demand, our new Be Earth Smart program offers our retailers a competitive mix of appropriate environmentally friendly merchandise from many product categories,” says Greg Hollander, merchandise manager for TruServ Canada. “Retailers are responding. We have an opportunity to influence environmental change; we all have to do our part.” The program was launched at TruServ Canada’s Spring National Buying Show.

Overcoming Harmful Online Conduct At Work

Web 2.0 social networking sites – such as Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia, and blogs –are not only weakening productivity levels among businesses, but are damaging company reputations and exposing confidential information. As younger individuals in tune with technology enter the workforce, employers need to start taking proper action, said Michael Horvat, at an Ogilvy Renault Labour Law Group seminar. Employers can legally control harmful on-duty and off-duty conduct and have legal rights to discipline employees that impact business interests in negative ways. Companies can take action through electronic surveillance, software blockers, or by applying specific Internet policies to all employees.

Stanley Earnings Rise Slightly

Stanley Works had first quarter net earnings of $68 million, up 0.6 per cent from $67.6 million last year. Net sales were $1.09 billion, up 3.3 per cent from $1.06 billion last year. The company saw flat revenues in consumer tools and storage, as well as in its Bostitch business.

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April 25, 2008

Sears Plans More ‘Pop-up’ Stores

Sears Canada Inc. wants to open more ‘pop-up’ stores. A U.S. trend that is just starting to take hold in Canada, these are temporary outlets which showcase its products. Its stores would be located near colleges and universities to cater to students looking for school supplies and clothing. In the U.S., they are often used before holiday shopping seasons to catch consumers' attention in the hopes they will then later visit a retailer's permanent stores to buy more.

truserv plaque 

Winnipeg Honours TruServ

The Winnipeg Convention Centre and the city of Winnipeg honored TruServ Canada Inc. at its recent National Buying Show with induction into its prestigious Ambassador Plaque program. The dedication of this plaque is in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the planning and organization of their Spring and Fall National Buying Shows. The Winnipeg Convention Centre, in conjunction with the city, initiated the Ambassador Plaque Program in 1994 to recognize those individuals and groups whose efforts have been integral to bringing events, activities, conferences, and conventions to the city.

Black & Decker Earnings Down

The Black & Decker Corporation had net earnings of $67.4 million for the first quarter of 2008 versus $108.1 million for the first quarter of 2007. Sales decreased five per cent to $1.5 billion. Sales in the hardware and home improvement segment decreased 14 per cent. The U.S. housing downturn significantly reduced demand for locksets and faucets, resulting in rates of sales decline in the teens for both businesses. The faucet business was also affected by inventory reductions at key retailers.

 Home Hardware Recognizes Top Stores

Home Hardware recognized its top stores at a ceremony at its semi-annual Dealer Market by presenting them with the company’s Proud of My Home awards. Winning stores were selected from among more than 1,000 stores from coast to coast for achieving the highest standards in retailing, merchandise presentation, staff performance, and overall quality of the store. Winners are Home Hardware Building Centre – Merritt – Merritt, BC; Reitsma’s Home Hardware – Houston, BC; Osoyoos Home Hardware – Osoyoos, BC; Home Hardware Building Centre – Lloydminster – Lloydminster, AB; Hauser Home Hardware Building Centre – Camrose, AB; Selkirk Home Hardware Building Centre – Selkirk MB; Geerlinks Home Hardware Building Centre – St. Thomas, ON; Brantford Home Hardware – Brantford, ON; Bradford Home Hardware – Bradford, ON; United Lumber Home Hardware Building Centre – Oshawa, ON; Madoc Home Hardware – Madoc, ON; Perth Home Hardware Building Centre – Perth, ON; A & J Home Hardware – Sudbury, ON; Swanson’s Home Hardware Building Centre – Kitchener, ON; Centre de Renovation Home Hardware – Valleyfield – Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC; Quincaillerie Home Hardware – Rimouski – Rimouski, QC; Handyman Home Hardware – Conception Bay NL; Tracadie Home Hardware – Tracadie-Sheila, NB; and Buck’s Home Building Centre – Bridgewater, NS.

Tembec Shuts Sawmill

Tembec has will shutdown its Senneterre, QC, sawmill for at least three months. The shutdown decision was based on the lack of wood supply in the region. The Senneterre sawmill has an annual production capacity of 145,000 mbf of SPF lumber.

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April 24, 2008

Sales Decline In February

After a strong start to the year, retailers reported their first sales decrease in five months in February, says Statistics Canada. Retail sales fell 0.7 per cent in February to an estimated $35.5 billion. None of the eight retail trade sectors showed higher sales in February and two posted reductions of one per cent or more. Excluding sales by dealers of new, used, and recreational vehicles and auto parts, retail sales edged down 0.3 per cent in February, the second decrease in seven months. Once price changes are taken into account, retail sales in constant dollars also declined 0.7 per cent in February, indicating that there was a reduction in the volume of sales.

 RONA Adds Nine

RONA has recruited nine new independent dealer-owners in the last two months. These dealer-owners crossed the floor from other purchasing groups in Western Canada and Quebec. Together they represent estimated annual retail sales of close to $50 million. Eight of these dealer-owners operate stores ranging from 2,000 to 24,000 square feet and one will build a 52,000 square foot proximity store.

Lawncare Operators Behind Ontario Ban

Ontario's professional lawncare operators are encouraged with the general policy directions in the proposed Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act, introduced by the province’s environment ministry. It says the proposal would replace a patchwork of contradictory municipal bylaws. The inconsistencies in rules and interpretations have made it extraordinarily difficult for companies to operate across city boundaries and spawned public confusion within the province. The fact that homeowners could simply purchase and apply chemicals still readily available at retail outlets meant these bans accomplished virtually nothing in terms of reducing pesticide loads, while severely impacting the ability of highly-trained, professional operators to serve their clients in the creation of healthy lawns and landscapes.

 Task Tools Launches Product Lines

Task Tools & Abrasives has launched three products for the North American hardware market – Task Quiker Mixer, colour coded tile spacers, and FlexFit Grip drywall and cement range. FlexFit Grip has five grip designs that maximize the tool comfort and reduce fatigue which often comes from using the same tool for extended periods. Quiker Mixer’s blade design has a shape-to-spacing ratio that mixes paint, adhesives, or filler in seconds with a flawless consistency. Colour coded tile spacers enable contractors to keep track of their inventory and ensure that they are using the same size spacers for each job.

 Baillie Replaces Shuh

Jack Baillie will take over the marketing efforts of Home Hardware’s hardlines and LBM divisions. He replaces Bruce Shuh who is retiring. For the past 10 years, Shuh was its director of marketing for hardlines. Under Baillie, the hardlines will be combined with the building materials side.

 Rechargeables Charge Ahead

Rechargeable batteries had a compound annual growth rate of five per cent from 2002 to 2007, compared with flat growth for disposables, says SBI’s ‘U.S. Batteries Market’ report. As innovation in the battery market continues to meet consumer and product demands, it expects the overall battery market to dip in 2008, followed by steady growth to top $9 billion by 2012. Although alkalines are still the most popular type of household-use battery, rechargeables are gaining traction due to consumer concerns about the environmental impact of disposables and recent innovations such as the pre-charged rechargeable battery.

 HD Adds Brands

HD Supply has launched two proprietary brands covering kitchen and bath fixtures, ceiling fans, heavy duty tools, and hardware. The ‘Seasons’ brand will be carried on products including kitchen and bath fixtures and ceiling fans, with consumers as the intended end user. These products will be positioned in the ‘better’ quality tier, with a ‘best’ quality brand under the Seasons Gold name. Tools and hardware under the Brigade line will be primarily for contractors and professionals and sold through HD Supply’s White Cap and facilities and maintenance divisions.

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April 23, 2008

Home Depot Stops Sales Of Traditional Pesticides

The Home Depot will voluntarily stop selling traditional pesticides and herbicides in its stores across Canada by the end of 2008. As well, it will increase its selection of environmentally friendly alternatives. It anticipates that 62 of its stores nationwide will no longer sell pesticides, with all 166 stores offering additional environmentally preferred replacement products, by the end of 2008. Product categories currently affected by the voluntary phase-out include herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, slug baits, moss control products, and lawn fertilizers with weed control. A total of 60 products will be affected.

rona earth day

 RONA Chips In For Earth Day

A RONA store employee helps clean a littered field off Highway 401 in Scarborough, ON, as part of RONA’s nationwide Earth Day initiative. Local RONA store employees were joined by other workers in the community to remove trash in various problem areas. RONA’s first ever Eco-Responsible Day involved holding clean-up operations in eight cities across Canada.

Ace Revenues Up In 2007

Ace Hardware had wholesale revenues of $3.97 billion for the year ending December 29, 2007, a $39.4 million – or one per cent – increase over wholesale revenues of $3.93 billion in 2006. The revenue increase was driven, in part, by 171 new Ace stores worldwide, as well as an increase in international revenues of $24.1 million, or 14.4 per cent.

 Delaney Heads Castle Officers

Bob Delaney, of J. M. Delaney Lumber Limited in Stephenville, NL, is chairman for 2008/2009 at Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. Vice-chairman is Wayne Nelson, Nova Scotia Building Supplies (1982) Ltd., Blockhouse, NS; with Debra Piper, Powassan Building Center Ltd., Powassan, ON; serving as secretary-treasurer. Other officers are Don Butchko, Raydon Castle Building Centre, Moose Jaw, SK; Jack Crombie, Hudson Hardware & Supplies Limited, Hudson, QC; Daryl Dibblee, Hay River Building Supplies, Hay River, NWT; Mike Doyle, Jr., The Home Improvement Warehouse Ltd., Calgary, AB; Brent Perry, Alf Curtis Home Improvements Inc., Peterborough, ON; and Scott Targett, Targett’s Window & Door Centre Bldg. Supplies Ltd., Fredericton, NB.

 Selkirk Aligns Team

John Vukanovich is vice-president – marketing for Selkirk Corporation. He was previously vice-president – marketing and commercial sales for Selkirk Canada. Bob Emmell, vice-president – sales for Selkirk Canada, will add responsibility for Canadian commercial sales.

 Canadian Tire Merchandising Team Changes

John Jobin is vice-president, hardware, at Canadian Tire. He was business director, home décor and repair. T.J. Flood has been named vice-president, home, which includes indoor living, everyday essentials, home décor, cleaning products, and electronics.

 Hand Earns Hachborn Award

Christine Hand, of Handyman Home Hardware, Conception Bay South, NF, has become the first dealer to earn the Walter J. Hachborn Award twice. She was honoured at its recent dealer market.

 Calasina Heads CHHMA

Bill Calasina, of Bissell Canada, is chairman of the board of directors for the Canadian Hardware and Housewares Manufacturers Association (CHHMA). Gerry Byle, of Kaz Canada, is now past chairman with James Mumby, of Dynamic Paint Products, first vice-chairman. Peter Thomson, of Taymor Industries, is second vice-chairman and Doug Whaley, of Rust-Oleum Consumer Brands Canada, is treasurer. New board members are Dave McKellar, of Masco Canada; Kris Ovstaas, of Philips Lighting; and Mike Wilson, of Recochem.

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April 21, 2008

Orillia Store Opens 

Orillia Store Opens

Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO, of Home Hardware, presents a ceremonial saw plaque to mark the office opening on the new Orillia Home Hardware Building Centre to co-owners John Locke, Mike Tucker, and Bill Ecklund, as Walter Hachborn, one of its founders, looks on. The new store replaces two neighbouring stores.

  Composite Index Unchanged

The composite leading index was unchanged in March, after a decline in February followed an increase in January, says Statistics Canada. Of the 10 components, six rose in March, up from four the month before, as both housing and new orders for durable goods rebounded from large declines. Overall, household spending continued to lead growth, while the stock market replaced manufacturing as the weakest sector of the economy. All the components related to household spending advanced.

 Canadians Tightening Belts

Concern about the economy has Canadians consumers planning to spend less this year, says a survey for Bensimon Byrne, a Toronto, ON, advertising company. The survey shows they are prepared to spend more only on products expected to increase in price such as gas and groceries. About 25 per cent think the economy is in a downturn with almost 40 per cent believing it will get worse in the months to come. Areas where they plan to trim spending include restaurant meals, furniture, and electronics.

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April 18, 2008

Home Depot Canada Joins Earth Day Quebec

Home Depot Canada is partnering with Earth Day Quebec to promote a strong commitment towards environmental protection and to encourage individuals, organizations, and municipalities to take positive action. The partnership is in place for the next three years. It joins companies such as Cascades, Alcoa, Desjardins, Quebecor, and IGA. The primary mission for 2008/09 is to support programs within municipalities affected by blue algae.

Business Exits Discussed

How to exit a business on your own terms will be the topic of a session May 8 in Markham, ON. Co-sponsored by the Alternative Board York Region and the ESOP Association Canada, it will feature Perry Phillips, president ESOP Builders Inc., and W. Ross Campbell,director of transition funding. They will discuss exit strategies using ESOPs and private equity. For more information, contact 866-601-3081 or info@esop-canada.com

Barrett At Cosella-Dörken

Peter Barrett has joined Cosella-Dörken as national product manager. In this position, he will direct the North American introduction of building products and technologies developed by the company. He is a 20-year veteran of the roofing products market.

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Canadian Tire ‘Money’ Earned Everywhere

Canadian Tire Financial Services Limited is offering a new and improved Options MasterCard credit card. The new card not only enables card members to earn Canadian Tire ‘Money’ on the card everywhere they shop, anywhere in the world, but it is also PayPass enabled, providing customers with added convenience and security. Canadian Tire awarded Options MasterCard card members with more than $92 million in Canadian Tire ‘Money’ on the card last year.

Hamad Named Director

Jamal Hamad is director of pro/tool rental services for the Canadian division of Home Depot. Formerly the district manger for the Toronto market, he has spent 17 years in operations and special projects for Home Depot.

Energy And Resources Will Keep Canada Out Of Recession

Canada’s energy and resources will keep it from following the U.S. into a recession, says CIBC World Markets. The report finds that Canada’s strength in global commodity and energy prices has translated into soaring growth in Canadian personal and corporate income. Those gains show up in a very healthy increase in domestic spending and enriched tax revenues for governments. It says if Canada were an island unto itself, the talk would be about a boom, not a recession risk, given the strength of final domestic demand, and particularly, consumer spending, which was up more than seven per cent annualized in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Home Hardware Marks Milestone

Home Hardware Stores Limited is celebrating its 90th dealer market. The ‘2008 Spring Market’ takes place at its headquarters in St. Jacob’s, ON. Dealer/owners preview and purchase the latest merchandise for the fall/winter season, learn about new products, and network with fellow dealers, suppliers, and staff from across Canada. Dealers also have the opportunity. “The theme of the market, ‘Tools for Tomorrow,’ builds on our focus and commitment to growth,” says Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO. “The market is a place where all of our dealers’ partners – including vendors, corporate staff, and business partners – meet to ensure that Home dealers have quality products and the necessary tools to strengthen and build their businesses – which is a key factor in our vision for success.”

BC Retailers Ready To Work With Province

Retailers in British Columbia will work with the province on legislation that will prohibit expiry dates on retail gift cards sold in the province. It says with gift cards impacting many facets of retail including customer service, payment systems, and accounting, the need to avoid any unnecessary complications from the new act was a priority for retailers.

Home Depot Opens Two-level Store

The Home Depot Canada has opened a 77,000 square-foot two-level urban format store in Vancouver, BC. This is its second two-level store and it is designed to cater to the urban customer. The store features a new layout that creates a more project-oriented shopping flow and it has 36,000 in-stock SKUs.

1,200 Exhibit At CGTA

More than 1,200 exhibitors with products from across Canada and around the world are expected to take part in the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association’s ‘CGTA Fall 2008 Gift Show.’ It runs August 10 to 14 in Toronto, ON. It will allow more than 22,000 qualified retail buyers to source the latest products to hit retail markets. For more information, visit http://www.cgta.org/

Congress 2009 Dates Set

Landscape Ontario will hold its 2009 ‘Congress’ January 6 to 8 in Toronto, ON. Congress is Canada’s largest horticultural lawn and garden trade show with an audience of more than 12,500 from across Canada, the United States, and Europe. It covers more than seven acres of exhibits ranging from garden tools to excavators and patio furniture to nursery stock. This year marks the 36th running of the show and introduces a new partnership with Communities in Bloom to present ‘The Green Forum.’ For more information, visit www.locongress.ca

 

Distribution under Groupe BMR’s newly-announced hardware banner is running well, says Duncan Wilson, director of sales and business development. Since officially launching three weeks ago, nine new dealers have officially signed up and are currently receiving hardware goods from BMR’s distribution centre in Boucherville, QC. More have expressed interest and are expected to come on board soon, Wilson says, but they will all have to meet specific standards before becoming a part of the new program.

Hagel ‘Outstanding Sales Representative’

Excellence in customer service and going ‘above and beyond’ were recognized by Woodland TIM-BR MART when Dwayne Hagel was presented with the ‘Outstanding Sales Representative’ award for 2007. Greg Bartolotta, Woodland TIM-BR MART general manager, says it was well deserved as Hagel “exemplifies excellence in customer service. He has been recognized for superseding the expectations of criteria we aim for with our vendors.”  Woodland TIM-BR MART has locations in Grande Prairie and Fairview, AB, and Fort St. John, BC.


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