Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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

News

You can register for our Daily News Alerts here.

August 29, 2008

Manufacturing Labours To Maintain Workforce 

As Canadian workers mark Labour Day, a Conference Board study indicates that in addition to relentless competition due to developing economies, rapid technological change, and the strong Canadian dollar, Canada’s manufacturing sector faces major human resources challenges – a flood of early retirements, a reduced ability to attract young workers, and a need to keep up with changing skill requirements. ‘Key Economic and Labour Force Issues Facing Canada’s Manufacturing Sector’ says Canadian manufacturers are anticipating a shift from doing final assembly to building specialized components that fit into the overall production process and in providing products and services that accompany the finished good, such as logistics and supply-chain management services. It recommends that manufacturers must improve on the current skills of workers by tapping into education and training programs. As well, the sector needs to keep its aging workers in the labour force longer through more flexible scheduling and changes in work processes.

NeoCon Adds Special Events

NeoCon East, scheduled to be held October 29 and 30 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD, will include exciting keynote speakers, educational offerings, and special events and exhibits. Keynote speakers include Iris Amdur, principal of Greenshape LLC, who will talk about the role design professionals play in creating change, with an emphasis on the importance of understanding the owner’s mission and professional visions. It will also offer the GREENlife Lounge, featuring concepts for commercial interiors and education about green design. For more information, visit http://www.neoconeast.com/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 28, 2008

Bosch Unveils Litheon-powered Offerings

Building on the success of its award-winning 36-volt and 12V-Max Litheon cordless tool platforms, Bosch Power Tools and Accessories has unveiled its first Litheon-powered offerings in the popular 18V and 14.4V size ranges. The core of Bosch’s mid-range Litheon launch is a full range of cordless drill/drivers and hammer drill/drivers purpose. They offer battery life, durability, and performance in compact power tools.

AHMA Fills USA Pavilion

Attendees at the 2008 Expo Nacional Ferretera in Guadalajara, Mexico, will be able to meet with 13 American manufacturers, two manufacturer representatives showing six product lines, and a major American buying co-operative representing more than 4,100 independently owned hardware and home improvement retailers at the American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA/USA Pavilion. The show, celebrating its 20th year, is scheduled for September 12 to 14. It is the dominant and leading hardware/home improvement trade show for the Mexican market, attracting more than 70,000 buyers in 2007.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 27, 2008

Consumers Tired Of Waiting

Canadian consumers are abandoning their shopping carts, delaying purchases, and leaving stores, public transit stops, and restaurants in significant numbers, says a Maritz Research survey on customer wait times. It found 86 per cent of participants polled admitted to walking out of a store frustrated with having waited too long for service. The research showed that customer expectations and opinions on wait times were strongly influenced by the retailer's attitude towards client care. The poll also reveals there is a strong relationship between the frustration experienced during long wait times, the likelihood of leaving the store, and the chance that the customer will not return to make the intended purchase or again for future purchases.

Sears Revenue Decreases

Sears Canada Inc. had total revenues for the 13-week period ended August 2 of $1.420 billion compared to $1.444 billion for the 13 weeks ended June 30, 2007, a decrease of 1.6 per cent. Same store sales increased 1.8 per cent for the period and net earnings were $61.1 million, compared to $42.3 million in the second quarter last year,

Multi-family Builders Going Green

Multi-family builders and developers in the U.S. are becoming more interested in building green, says the National Association of Home Builders. Its survey shows that 74 per cent of respondents believe buyers and renters are willing to pay more for green amenities, though the median additional amount they are willing to pay is only about two per cent, according to the survey. The survey also found that 89 per cent of respondents reported they are installing energy-efficient appliances and lighting in their multi-family communities and 79 per cent are using windows with low-emittance (Low-E) glass, which helps block the transfer of radiant heat by using a special coating.

Ellison Heads U.S. Stores

Marvin Ellison is executive vice-president in charge of U.S. stores at Home Depot Inc. He will be responsible for operations of about 2,000 stores in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He had been president of the retailer's northern division since 2006.

Tools Cuts Copper Tubing

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation has introduced the industry’s first copper tubing cutter designed for cutting copper with the speed and versatility that plumbers, mechanical contractors, and remodelers require. With a 12V lithium-ion battery and ultra efficient gearing, the M12 Copper Tubing Cutter can perform more than 200 cuts on a single charge. The metal cutting head is corrosion and rust resistant.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 25, 2008

Lowe’s Improves Governance

Lowe's Cos. is enhancing its governance practices by creating the position of lead director to run the board's governance committee. O. Temple Sloan, chief executive of General Parts International Inc., an auto parts company, will fill the position. The lead director will preside at meetings at which the chairman of the board is not present. It also amended its bylaws to let shareholders who hold more than 50 per cent of voting shares call a special meeting of shareholders.

More Products For Buyers

The Hong Kong International Building and Decoration Materials & Hardware Fair has been re-positioned to give buyers a wider scope of products. Shaping itself to the demands of the market, the fair has a stronger emphasis on building with new product categories including hardware and DIY products. Last year, the former fairs (HKTDC Hong Kong International Hardware & Home Improvement Fair and the Hong Kong International Building Materials & Construction Equipment Fair) attracted more than 21,000 buyers from more than 100 countries. It takes place October 28 to 31 at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong. For more information, visit http://hkbdh.com/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 22, 2008

Composite Index Unchanged In July

The composite leading index was unchanged for a second straight month in July, after small gains in April and May, says Statistics Canada. Overall, two of the 10 components fell in July, versus six in June. However, the declines in housing and the average work week in manufacturing were large enough to offset small increases in the components that rose. The housing index decreased by 2.9 per cent, its largest decline since June 2002. The average work week in manufacturing fell 0.5 per cent in July. The United States leading indicator rose 0.1 per cent, its first increase in 11 months.

Minick Electrolux Group President

Russell Minick is president and CEO for Electrolux Home Care Products (EHCP), the group’s operation for floor care and small appliances in North America. He most recently served as president of the Electrolux Central Vacuum Systems division.

Balsillie Keynote Speaker At Leadership Forum

Jim Balsillie, chair of the Canadian International Council and co-CEO, Research in Motion, will be the keynote speaker at Rotman School of Management’s ‘5th Annual Canadian Business Leadership Forum.’ Other speakers include Dave Mowat, president and CEO, ATB Financial; and Elyse Allan, president and CEO, GE Canada. It takes place October 23 at the MaRS Collaboration Centre in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit http://www.canadianbusiness.com

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 21, 2008

Retail Sales Rise In June

Retail sales in current dollars rose by 0.5 per cent in June to $36 billion, says Statistics Canada. This advance can largely be explained by the 4.2 per cent increase in sales at gasoline stations, mainly as a result of higher gas prices in June. Once price variations for all goods and services sold by retailers are taken into account, retail sales in constant dollars decreased by 0.4 per cent. Sales in current dollars were up in six of the eight sectors. The strongest increases were in the clothing and accessories stores sector and in the food and beverage stores sector. Sales at furniture, home furnishings, and electronics stores rose for the third consecutive month, continuing their recovery after slowing in the last six months of 2007.

Sales In Hall Of Legends

Wayne Sales, vice-chairman, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited, has been inducted into the Builder of the Marketing Hall of Legends. Builders are charismatic leaders who have built and enhanced existing brand and, in doing so, have increased the competitive nature of their respective organizations. He was chief executive officer of Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. from August 2000 to May 2006. In 2004, the Retail Council of Canada recognized his accomplishments in leading Canadian Tire to outstanding business success. In recognition of this feat, he was presented with the Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year Award.

RONA Opens Kamloops Store

RONA inc. has opened a store in Kamloops, BC. The store offers the latest concept in RONA proximity stores specializing in home construction and renovation. The 52,000-square-foot store features a 6,000-square-foot garden centre and offers a selection of more than 22,000 finishing and specialized products available through boutiques such as paint, lighting, kitchen and bathroom, and doors and windows.

Seminar Programs Expands At Festival

Canada's largest annual green building event is gearing up for another year with an expanded seminar program. The Green Building Festival is scheduled for September 9 to 10 at the Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, ON.  The show will feature programming for building professionals with case studies, product analyses, and 100 exhibitors offering ready-to-market green building solutions. Two new workshops will offer a practical look at the green building trend sweeping the real estate and residential construction markets. For more information, visit www.greenbuildingfest.com/schedule.asp

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 20, 2008

Home Depot Profit Down 24 Per Cent

The Home Depot Inc.’s second quarter profit sank 24 per cent and amid a weak housing market that shows no signs of recovery. For the three-months ending August 3, its net income fell to $1.2 billion, down from $1.59 billion during the same period last year. Revenue slid 5.4 per cent to $21 billion, down from $22.2 billion last year and same-store sales fell 7.9 per cent. The average spending per customer in a visit fell 1.2 per cent to $57.58.

Landscape Expo Comes To Saskatchewan

The 2009 Landscapers & Contractors Expos will come to Saskatoon, SK, February 17 and 18, 2009. The Saskatchewan Equipment Expo will be held at Prairieland Park. It joins the expos in Vancouver – January 20 and 21, BC Place; Northern Alberta – January 27 and 28, Northlands Agricom, Edmonton; and Southern Alberta – February 3 and 4, Roundup Centre, Calgary. The shows are aimed at contractors (landscape build and maintenance as well as light construction) and other trade members. For more information, visit http://www.landscapingexpo.net/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 19, 2008

Recochem Offers Environmental Product

Recochem Inc. is the first Canadian manufacturer to go to market with a reduced environmental impact product for paint prepping, thinning, and cleaning. Consumers can purchase a water-based emulsion formula paint thinner containing 60 per cent fewer VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Renew Paint Thinner cleans most surfaces as well as traditional paint thinner and offers optimal paint adhesion. It will be available at major retailers this fall.

Maax Appoints Vice-president

Kyle Straub is vice-president of sales, professional division for North American markets, at MAAX. Prior to joining the firm, he held leadership positions with General Electric, Wiremold, and, most recently, for Legrand North America.            His responsibilities include developing sales strategies and action plans to grow markets and market share in the U.S. and Canada.

Lowe’s Posts Profit

Lowe's Cos. Inc. post a better-than-expected second-quarter profit. However, the U.S.'s faltering economy and sluggish housing industry still sent its profit down nearly eight per cent. For the three months ending August 1, it earned $938 million, down from $1.02 billion during the same period last year. Sales rose 2.4 per cent to $14.5 billion.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 18, 2008

Loewen Discusses Strategy

Charles Loewen, chair and CEO of Loewen Windows and Doors, is the featured speaker at the next Rotman School of ManagementOperations Strategy Speaker Series.’ He Will focus on the operations strategy of Loewen, a designer and manufacturer of luxury wood windows and doors. It takes place September 11 in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca/events

IKEA Investigates Solar Panels

IKEA has announced plans to develop retail solar panels, as well as other energy-efficient items including energy meters and energy-efficient lighting. IKEA GreenTech will focus on five product areas in all – solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency, and water saving and purification.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 15, 2008

Liquidation World Revenue Increases

Liquidation World Inc.’s revenue from continuing operations increased 5.1 per cent to $43.8 million in the third quarter of the 2008 fiscal year from $41.7 million in 2007. Same store sales during the quarter increased 3.3 per cent. In the first three quarters of fiscal 2008, revenue from continuing operations totaled $138.8 million, down 2.1 per cent from $141.8 million during the same period last year. Same store sales for the first three quarters decreased 5.4 per cent.

Wal-Mart Profit Rises

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. earned $3.45 billion in the quarter ended July 31, up 17 per cent from $2.95 billion a year earlier. Its second quarter profit rose because of tight inventory controls and a renewed focus on low prices that is attracting financially squeezed shoppers around the world. Profit from continuing operations rose 9.3 per cent to $3.39 billion, while net sales gained 10 per cent to $101.6 billion.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 14, 2008

goodfellow sale

Goodfellow Holds Sale

Goodfellow’s ‘Olympic Warehouse Sale’ offered visitors a variety of great deals on products ranging from flooring to lumber.

Ace Income Increases

Ace Hardware had net income of $33.4 million, up 11.7 per cent from the $29.5 million reported last year. Total revenues were down 2.6 per cent to $1.067 billion. Merchandise sales from Ace’s international business contributed $6.5 million in incremental sales, up 13.5 per cent compared with 2007. This number was driven by increased sales to existing stores in the Middle East, sales to new stores in the Caribbean, and sales growth from foreign-to-foreign wholesale operations.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 13, 2008

RONA Sales Increase

RONA had a slight increase in its consolidated sales, which stood at $1,473.3 million in the second quarter of 2008, compared to $1,469.1 million in 2007. Same-store sales decreased by 4.4 per cent in the quarter. This decrease reflects a drop in consumer activity related to the decline in consumer confidence compared to the corresponding period in 2007.

Buyers Command Six Figures

Although their roles have narrowed over the years, experienced buyers at U.S. retail companies commonly command six-figure base salaries that are augmented by bonuses, says a survey by retail executive search firm Career Management. It found nearly 60 per cent of buyers with 10 or more years of buying experience earn more than $100,000 per year, with 43.8 per cent of respondents reporting salaries (excluding bonuses and other compensation) in the $100,000 to $150,000 range and 11.4 per cent in the $150,000 to $200,000 range. Among respondents with five to 10 years of buying experience, approximately one-third had six-figure base salaries, with 27.7 per cent earning between $100,000 and $150,000 and 6.2 per cent surpassing $150,000. In an overwhelming number of cases, these buyers can augment those salaries with bonuses, with 83.3 per cent of respondents indicating they are eligible for such compensation.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 12, 2008

RONA Recruits Dealer-owners

RONA has recruited 12 independent dealer-owners from various other purchasing groups over the past three months. The stores, which are now flying the RONA banner, are located mainly in Quebec and Ontario. Ranging in size from 3,000 to 15,000 square feet, the stores represent more than $50 million in estimated annual retail sales. RONA has now recruited 21 new dealer-owners in the first half of 2008, representing more than $100 million in retail sales. With these new dealers, RONA now has a network of 434 affiliate and 257 corporate and franchise stores across Canada.

Chain Stores Record Gain

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has reported a 2.6 per cent gain in U.S. chain store sales in July, compared with the prior-year period. It notes sales in July were “softer” than the 4.2 per cent gain seen in June. The July performance still was in line with a year-to-date average of 2.5 per cent year-over-year growth. Value and convenience retailers performed better in July than the industry as a whole as sales at discount stores, wholesale clubs, and drug stores led the industry.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 8, 2008

Building Permit Value Falls

In June, the total value of building permits fell 5.3 per cent from May to $6.3 billion, as construction intentions decreased in both the residential and non-residential sectors, says Statistics Canada. In the residential sector, the value of building permits declined by 4.4 per cent to $3.6 billion. The decrease was generated by lower values in multi-family permits in all provinces except Saskatchewan.

Kitchen Cabinets Going Green

The kitchen cabinet industry has the potential to be on the cutting edge of the green transformation, especially through the use wood from sustainably managed forests, reclaimed wood, and wood alternatives such as Microfiber or metal, says ‘Kitchen Cabinets in the U.S.,’ a study from SBI. Apparent consumption of kitchen cabinetry in the United States stood at $14.2 billion in 2006. However, SBI estimates the market declined 13 per cent to $12.4 billion in 2007. As the housing and construction market continued to struggle, green building has been one of the industry’s few bright spots. SBI has found that the booming green building market will continue its rapid expansion through 2011, more than doubling in size to $4.7 billion.

hardwre backyard 

Ultimate Backyard Awarded

Jean Leger and Roland Saulnier, dealer-owners of Saint-Antoine Home Hardware Building Centre in Shediac, NB, present Andree De Montigny and husband Wilfred Wlochal with the Home Hardware $50,000 Ultimate Backyard Makeover Grand Prize.  The winner’s backyard will receive a $50,000 overhaul with major project such as a new deck, shed or interlocking brick and other backyard items such as a barbecue, patio set, and planters.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 6, 2008

Members Acquire Potvin & Bouchard

Members of the BMR le groupe banner have acquired the Centres de rénovation Potvin & Bouchard of the Saguenay/Lac St- Jean region of Quebec. The acquisition of the five stores is a logical move which will enhance the development of both Groupe BMR and Potvin & Bouchard. The Potvin & Bouchard banner will be kept and that the Bouchard family will carry on with the administration of the business.

Kingfisher Selling Italian Business

Kingfisher plc is selling its Castorama Italy business to Groupe Adeo S.A. The sale is conditional upon European Community Merger Regulation clearance and is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2008. Castorama opened its first store in Italy in 1988 and now has 31 stores.

Weyerhaeuser Records Loss

Weyerhaeuser Co. had a loss in the second quarter. For the three months ended June 29, it lost $96 million, compared with a profit of $32 million for the same quarter last year. Sales dropped due to the slumping U.S. housing market that pushed down revenues for its lumber, panels, and other wood products. It now plans to cut about 1,500 salaried employees, or 6.3 per cent of its global work force, as part of an ongoing plan to scale back operations to focus on timberlands and wood products.

P3Power Is New Line

The new P3Power line of generators is the latest development from GOSS Power Products for recreational, residential, and serious do-it-yourselfers. Its assortment of generators includes a true inverter; two sizes of fully enclosed units; a portable two-stoke unit; two full framed models; and two large electric start models.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 1, 2008

General Merchandisers Lose Ground

General merchandisers lost market share on most fronts in 2007 with one notable exception, food, and beverages, says Statistics Canada. General merchandise stores, typically multi-line retailers that offer a wide array of merchandise and related services, accounted for 12 per cent of total retail sales in 2007, down from 12.2 per cent in 2006 and 12.6 per cent in 1999. In 2007, general merchandisers lost market share in six major commodity groupings while gaining in only two categories. The most notable shift in the product line of general merchandisers was the continuing loss in market share for clothing, footwear ,and accessories, while they gained market share in food and beverages.

Delta Introduces New Technology

Delta Faucet has introduced DIAMOND Seal Technology, a new water delivery system that eliminates contact with potential metal contaminants such as brass, copper, or lead. It will be available on a selection of Delta’s faucets in October. It also provides protection from leaks and drips.  Comprised of a next generation valve and waterways, the system reduces the number of potential leak points, simplifies installation, and provides long lasting performance.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 31, 2008

West Fraser Earns $3 Million

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. earned $3 million in the second quarter compared with a loss of $14 million a year ago, the result of production cutbacks and cost reductions. Sales in the quarter totalled $823 million, down from $948 million.

Masco Profit Tumbles

Masco Corp.’s second quarter profit tumbled 57 per cent as consumers spent less on home improvement products and sales to the new home construction market slowed. For the three months ended June 30, the company reported net income of $82 million, compared with $189 million in the year-ago period. Revenue declined 15 per cent to $2.64 billion from $3.09 billion in the second quarter of last year.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 29, 2008

‘Green’ A Marketing Ploy

While 80 per cent of Canadians think of the environment when making purchasing decisions, most think that company ‘green’ claims are just a marketing ploy, says a survey by the Gandalf Group for Bensimon Byrne, a Toronto advertising agency. The survey found that while 83 per cent of Canadians say they are motivated to make personal changes that would benefit the environment, only 39 per cent are very or somewhat financially able to make such moves. Almost two-thirds don't understand why it's more expensive to buy environmentally friendly products and they don't believe ‘green’ products cost more to make. They believe that companies claim a product is environmentally friendly so that they can charge more for it.

Home Show Marks 23rd Year

Canada’s largest fall home show returns for its 23rd great year with hundreds of affordable and eco-friendly ways to maximize those home improvement dollars. The International Home Show takes place October 10 to 13 at the International Centre in Mississauga, ON. The event hosts more than 400 exhibits including its signature ‘Green Street’ – a focus on products dedicated to reducing a home’s carbon footprint. For more information, visit  www.internationalhomeshow.ca

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 28, 2008

InSinkErator Announces New Line

InSinkErator has announced its new Series 2200 line of instant hot water dispensers. The line, which consists of country-style and Victorian-inspired instant hot water dispensers, is designed to appeal to homeowners wishing to combine traditional elegance with modern convenience. Both are available in hot/cool and hot-only water models.

Black & Decker Earnings Slip

The Black & Decker Corporation had net earnings for the second quarter of 2008 of $96.7 million, down from $118 million in 2007. Sales decreased three per cent for the quarter to $1.6 billion. Weak demand in the U.S. and slowing conditions in parts of Western Europe caused the drop in sales and earnings. For example, sales in the power tools and accessories segment decreased 10 per cent and sales in the hardware and home improvement segment decreased five per cent for the quarter.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 25, 2008

Sears Opens Yellowknife Store

Sears Canada has opened a dealer store in Yellowknife, NWT, as part of its commitment to offering customers more service, selection, and convenience. The 4,800 square foot store is owned and operated by Dave Lucas and Michelle Oshiro-Lucas. It will house a wide selection of major appliances, mattresses, electronics, fitness and seasonal items, hardware, and lawn and garden products.

Pirkle Named President

David Pirkle is president of industrial products and services for LENOX, a manufacturer of power tool accessories, torches, solder, and band saw blades. He joined Newell Rubbermaid in 2002 as vice-president of marketing for IRWIN Industrial Tools and was, most recently, president of the Amerock business. 

Strong Quarter For Snap-on

Snap-on Tools posted an earnings gain of 52.7 per cent to $66.9 million compared with $43.8 million in the year-ago period. Sales were up 7.6 per cent to $766.1 million from $711.9 million in the same period last year.

Casual Furniture On Display

The ‘International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market’ returns to The Merchandise Mart in Chicago, IL, September 15 to 18. The only show in North America dedicated to the indoor and outdoor casual furniture industry, it encompasses 350,000 square feet of exhibit space filled with more than 350 exhibitors. For more information, visit http://www.casualmarket.com/

Black & Decker Sponsor Of Prize Home

Black & Decker Hardware & Home Improvement Group (BDHHI) is a building sponsor of the 2008 PNE Prize Home. The prize home features two BDHHI brands. Weiser Lock supplied all of the door hardware while Baldwin Hardware supplied all of the bathroom accessories. The 2008 PNE Prize Home can be seen at The Fair at the PNE in Vancouver, BC, from August 16 through September 1.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 24, 2008

RONA Opens Grimsby Store

RONA inc. has opened a new store in Grimsby, ON. The existing Beamsville RONA Cashway operations are being transferred to the new store. The store offers the latest concept in RONA proximity stores specializing in home construction and renovation. It features a 57,000-square-foot outdoor drive-through lumberyard as well as 8,000 square feet of closed storage. The store offers more than 22,000 products dedicated to both the professional contractor and the 'do-it-yourself' renovator.

Home Hardware Wins Safest Private Fleet On Road

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) has named Home Hardware Stores Limited’s fleet the ‘Safest Fleet on Canadian Highways’ in the Large Fleet category. PMTC recognized Home Hardware as one of the first fleets to adopt the CSA Carrier Safety Management system, a program that documents all phases of a carrier's safety program from the initial hiring of drivers through orientation to the continual monitoring of their ongoing performance. With more than 16 million kilometres driven in 2007 alone and 75 per cent of those kilometres considered ‘long-haul,’ the fleet stretches across Canada to provide 95 per cent of the goods sold in Home Hardware’s network of more than 1,000 stores.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 23, 2008

Sales At Building Stores Up In May

Sales at building and outdoor home supplies stores rose 0.7 per cent in May, the second increase in eight months, says Statistics Canada. After growing steadily since early 2005, sales in this sector have remained relatively stable since mid-2007. Retail sales during the month rose 0.4 per cent to $35.8 billion, the seventh increase in eight months. Retail sales in current dollars were up in five of eight sectors in May.

German Storage Solution Company Comes To North America

Element-System of Germany, a manufacturer with a half-century long legacy of producing commercial display and storage systems for the retail fixturing segment, is expanding its reach into the home storage sector in both Canada and the United States. The Canadian and American expansion is managed by Texas-based Modern Living Products, the Element-System agents for the Americas since 2007. More than 30 Element-System dealers have been chosen and products are on sale across the U.S. and Canada.

American Standard Supports Woodstock's Water Efficiency Program

American Standard is supporting the water efficiency program in Woodstock, ON. Canadian households are among the biggest users of water in the world. At 326 litres per person per day, Canadians consume over twice as much as households in the United Kingdom and France. Only U.S. households consume more. The city is targeting the biggest water-wasters in the home and recommending that homeowners use low-consumption toilets and showerheads to reduce water usage.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 22, 2008

Lowe’s Opening Three Stores

Lowe's Companies Canada, ULC will open three additional stores in Canada by the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Stores are expected to open in the Ontario centres of Belleville, Whitby, and South Windsor. Additional sites remain in the pipeline.

True Value Adding Space

True Value is on track to add 1.5 million square feet between 2006 and 2009, says Lyle G. Heidemann, president and chief executive of the retailer-owned hardware wholesaler. This is the equivalent of opening about two new, remodeled or expanded stores a week both this year and next. Its focus will continue to be on products that help with routine maintenance and repairs. The co-operative has about 5,600 independent hardware stores.

Stanley Profit Falls

The Stanley Works’ second quarter profit fell nearly seven per cent. For the April through June quarter, the company earned $79.6 million, down from year-ago results when it earned $85.3 million. Revenue climbed five per cent to $1.15 billion from $1.10 billion last year.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 21, 2008

Industry Leaders Converge

Leaders in the building material distribution industry will converge at The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington, D.C., November 12 and 13 to connect with peers, engage in executive-level interchange between trading partners, and walk away with innovative business strategies. The 2008 NBMDA Annual Convention & Tabletop Business Session will specifically address strategies for survival and growth within a weak housing market and down economy, the new political landscape, and the ‘greening’ of the distribution channel. For more information, visit www.nbmda.org

Retail Talent Scarce

High-calibre retail talent is scarce and difficult to attract, but merchants can, and should, take steps to buck the trend, says Lloyd A. Lippman, founder and CEO of Career Management, a retail, direct mail, and e-commerce executive search firm in the U.S. Speaking at an American Apparel & Footwear Association conference, he said part of the reason there’s a scarcity of talent is that retailers and manufacturers aren’t investing in the ‘best and brightest’ candidates being produced by colleges and universities today. In the past, he said, trainees spent time in stores, meeting and learning to understand customers, as well as working in the merchandising and planning areas. Now, executives rely upon demographics, merchandising statistics, and last year’s results to lead their companies.

Blondin Now Sales Director, Exportation

Patrick Blondin is sales director, exportation, at Mercier Wood Flooring. Currently the sales director for Canada, he will also lead the company development on exportation territories.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 18, 2008

Home Reports Record Pick Lines

During the week of July 7, Home Hardware’s Atlantic Distribution Centre in Debert, NS, processed a record number of pick lines in one week and total weight shipped YTD is up 16.6 per cent, says Paul Straus, vice-president and chief executive office, at Home Hardware Stores Limited. The Central Distribution Centre in St. Jacobs, ON, recorded the highest pick line day for a Tuesday in history on July 8 and the Western Distribution Centre in Wetaskiwin, AB, has been offering record high fill rates all spring and summer. Demand orders, the value added service that is available to all dealers, are showing an increase in pick lines of 7.35 per cent for the year, and a 29 per cent increase for the month of June.  Nearly $2.2 million was processed via demand orders in June representing a notable 15 per cent.

Canadians Enjoy Greater Purchasing Power

Despite a slowdown in economic growth as measured by the GDP, Canadians’ real incomes and purchasing power have continued to rise, says a study by the C.D. Howe Institute. In ‘Richer Than We Think: Why Canadians’ Purchasing Power Is Up While Economic Growth is Down.’ Over last decade, it says the global demand for oil and gas has sent energy export prices to historic highs, and the costs of Canada’s imports have fallen, as reflected in prices for machinery and equipment, electronics, and other manufactured goods from abroad.  The import-price decline is due in part to the appreciated currency (and a falling U.S. dollar) and to imports of low-cost manufactures from countries such as China. Both factors increase Canada’s purchasing power abroad.

Canadian Tire Opens Small Market Stores

Canadian Tire has opened its first two small market stores. The stores in Hearst, ON, and Deep River, ON, are the first of four test locations planned for 2008. They include an 18,000 square foot Canadian Tire store, a 5,300 square foot Mark's Work Wearhouse offering, a 7,000 square foot garden centre, a 13,000 outdoor compound, and, when complete, an onsite Canadian Tire gas bar. The small market store is designed to provide customers in smaller towns with a one-stop shopping experience. Canadian Tire has identified approximately 100 communities across Canada that it believes to be potential sites for this concept.

Hbc Gets New Owners

NRDC Equity Partners and True North Retail Investments, an affiliate of The InterTech Group Inc., have acquired the Hudson's Bay Co. (Hbc). Under its new owners, it will be added to NRDC's other retail operations – Lord & Taylor, Fortunoff, and Creative Design Studios, under a new holding company called the Hudson's Bay Trading Co.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 16, 2008

Home Depot Canada Joins CanSIA

The Home Depot Canada Inc. is the first major retailer to join its ranks of the Canadian Solar Industries Association. “CanSIA is very pleased The Home Depot sees the value in our mandate and has joined us in giving voice to the solar industry’s issues,” says Elizabeth McDonald, CanSIA executive director. “CanSIA’s vision is that solar energy is the future. Home Depot’s membership shows confidence in CanSIA’s direction and ability to offer its expertise to governments and the public.” The Home Depot Canada has had a solar array installation in its Woodbridge, ON, store since June 2007. This 23-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system has generated more than 33,000 kilowatt hours since then. The company also installs solar panels, solar water heaters, and solar swimming pool heaters for its customers.

ICSC 2008 Moves From Now To Wow

The International Council of Shopping Centers Inc. (ICSC) will host its ‘New Urbanization Forum: Moving From Now to Wow’ September 16 at the Carlu in Toronto, ON. ‘New Urbanization’ is being billed as the new paradigm. It is the wave of the future and transforming North America. This years’ forum brings together industry experts from the owner/developer, investment, and retail communities to discuss subjects relating to the changing retail environment and specifically the movement in Canada from traditional enclosed shopping centres to new open air and lifestyle centres. For more information, visit http://www.icsc.org/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 15, 2008

IRLY Announces Winners

To celebrate its 45th year in business, IRLY Building Centres has announced the four winners of $2,000 shopping sprees. Catherine Brownlow, IRLY advertising manager, says they’ve had a great reaction to the contests in the past. As result, they will hold more events this year to celebrate their milestone. The winners are Darrin Metcalf, of Midway; Kevan Ramsay, of Lumby; Gary Carlson, of North Vancouver; and Michelle Vieitas, of Terrace. 

Warranty Leading Factor

Warranty and replacement services are the leading factors in creating builder and remodeler satisfaction with cabinet manufacturers, says a J.D. Power survey. The ‘2008 Builder and Remodeler Cabinet Satisfaction Study’ found builder satisfaction was based on performance in eight areas (in order of importance) – warranty and replacement service; customer service and support; product installation and durability; price; delivery; ordering process; product features; and credit/billing process. The overall quality of cabinets has risen – from 730 in 2007 to 753 in 2008, based on a 1,000-point scale. Firms have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by focusing on service-related aspects of the customer experience since cabinet durability and features tend to be rather similar across manufacturers.

Wal-Mart Phasing Out Illegal Wood

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will phase out illegal wood sources and increase the products it buys from sustainable forest operations. It is joining a World Wildlife Fund initiative to improve management of valuable and threatened forests. It will begin by cataloguing the sources of wood used in its wood furniture. The company set a goal of five years to eliminate wood from sources that aren't well managed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 14, 2008

B&D, Porter-Cable’s Christmas In July

Black & Decker provided a sneak peak of its Smart Select cordless drills, rota-drivers, and jigsaws at the Applica Holiday Preview. The new tools aim to simplify settings and speeds for DIYers. Among other products set to debut this holiday season is Black & Decker’s Power Monitor. It measures real-time energy consumption in dollars and cents. Woodworking brand Porter-Cable showed its expanded line of full power tools and showcased its holiday product launches as well.

Demand For Roofing To Grow

The demand for roofing materials is expected to grow nearly two per cent per year through 2012, says a study by the Freedonia Group. The recovery of the residential construction market and an increase in commercial construction will both provide growth, along with residential reroofing. Through 2012, demand for roofing in non-residential construction markets is projected to increase more than one per cent per year, in line with its pace from 2002 to 2007. While new roofing applications are expected to grow faster through 2012, the majority of demand will continue to come from reroofing applications. In 2012, reroofing will account for three-quarters of total roofing.

Fastenal Income Jumps

Fastenal Co.’s second quarter net income jumped 26 per cent as sales at an average store climbed from the year-ago period. For the quarter ended June 30, net income rose to $76.2 million from $60.3 million in the prior-year quarter. Sales at an average store rose eight per cent year over year.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 9, 2008

Dealers Respond To Kitchen Program

Ontario and Atlantic Canada dealers have enthusiastically embraced the Cabinetsmith kitchen program, manufactured by Can-Save in Barrie, ON. The program is built on three pillars quality construction, delivered on time, and complete. It features 15 quick-ship door styles that are shipped to dealers within two weeks of an order confirmation and the program was recently expanded with more than 20 new cabinet configurations.

Hino Adds Toronto Dealer

Hino Motors Canada, LTD’s newest member is Somerville Hino, located in Toronto, ON. Owned by Bill Somerville, it is comprised of three companies that are devoted to the automotive business Somerville Leasing, Somerville Rentals, and Somerville Sales. It will offer Hino’s expanding line of conventional medium duty trucks and the reintroduced cab-over (COE) model.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 8, 2008

Value Of Building Permits Up In May

The total value of building permits increased for the second consecutive month in May, despite a substantial decline in the residential sector, says Statistics Canada. Contractors took out $6.6 billion in permits in May, up 1.1 per cent from April and the highest value for permits since October 2007. The total was 6.7 per cent above the monthly average for 2007. It was the first back-to-back increase in construction intentions since November 2006. The value of permits in the residential sector has been on a downward trend since September 2007. Residential intentions fell 6.6 per cent to $3.7 billion in May, the result of a considerable decrease in the value of multi-family permits.

Price Of Faucets Rises

While the average price of faucets increased to $67.30 in 2008, up $4 from $63.30 in 2007, there are signs that consumers are choosing more practical styles, says consumer research from the NPD Group. Typically a style-driven category, a trend towards function over fashion appears to be starting. For example, sales of faucets that cost more than $75 peaked in the third quarter of 2007 at 40.9 per cent. They now account for about 30.3 per cent. Meanwhile, 43 per cent of the faucets sold from January 2006 to March 2008 cost less than $50.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 3, 2008

Ability To Spend Slowing

Canadians should expect to see considerably slower gains in wealth in the next two years, limiting their ability to spend, says a report from TD Economics. It says consumer spending will slow from a more than five per cent annualized rate of increase in early 2008 to about 2.6 per cent in 2009. Factors pointing to lower household wealth gains in the next couple of years include stabilizing commodity prices, lower house price increases, and higher unemployment.

Other Channels Close Distance In Replacement Windows

While warehouse home centres dominate in replacement windows, other channels are within closing distance, says NDP Group consumer research. The big boxes have 35 per cent of the dollar share in replacement windows, with specialty stores following with 17 per cent. Vinyl remains the material of choice for replacement windows, but aluminum and wood both increased their market share in 2008, while vinyl declined five percentage points. As well, consumers are willing to drive further to shop for the right windows. Only 10 per cent of window purchasers cite ‘close to home’ as a reason for selecting a retailer.

NAFCD Set For October

Manufacturers and floor covering distributors will gather in Chicago, IL, for the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) 2008 Annual
Meeting and Distributor Marketplace. It takes place October 29 to 31. Keynote presentations will be given by industry experts including Randy Merritt, president, Shaw Industries; Megan Johnson, a generational communications expert; and Ken Schmidt, co-author, former director of communications, Harley Davidson. For more information, visit www.nafcd.org.

Anderson Vice-president Of Operations

Garry Anderson is vice-president, operations, for IRLY Distributors Ltd. and the IRLY Building Centres of British Columbia. He has been with the company for more than 30 years, most recently as general manager.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 30, 2008

Can-Save Promotes Camirand

Wendy Camirand has been promoted to general sales manager at Can-Save. A 19-year veteran of Can-Save, 16 of those in a sales role, she started with the company in 1989 in the customer service department.

RONA Recovers Used Paint

RONA inc. has launched a used paint recovery program across its stores in Ontario beginning July 1. RONA is the first to recover paint in Ontario as part of the new Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program Plan. Left unrecovered or disposed of improperly, old paint could pose a threat to the environment.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 27, 2008

RONA Recovers Air Conditioners

RONA inc. will hold an Ontario-wide campaign to recover used air conditioning units. It will take place July 2 to 8 at RONA stores. Customers who bring in old air conditioning units will receive a 10 per cent discount on a new Energy Star room air conditioning unit. Old units will be recovered in an environmentally-safe manner to ensure that the ozone-depleting substances they contain are properly disposed of.

Bondrowski Named Sales Director

Wade Bondrowski is sales director, United States, at Mercier Wood Flooring. He will lead its US sales team and its development in the US territory. He has been working with the firm for four years and has 22 years of experience in the hardwood flooring industry.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 25, 2008

China’s Retail Growth In Double-digits

China can expect double-digit retail sales growth in the next five years, says a report from TNS Retail Forward. It sees the retail market in China increasing to $1.4 trillion by 2012, surpassing Japan as the second largest retail market in the world. The U.S. ranks as the total retail market with sales of $4 trillion.

Survey Uncovers Manufacturers’ Outlook, Obstacles

A Deloitte survey reveals Canadian manufacturers do not expect to expand production within their own borders and that the lack of competitiveness of production “remains the industry’s Achilles heel.” The survey of executives at leading manufacturers in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, across various product sectors, found that a majority believe NAFTA has positively impacted business, but that they need to seek new markets outside the continent to stay competitive. Canadian executives, in particular, indicated that the biggest barriers to competitiveness are labour costs, exchange rates, raw material prices, and the availability of skilled labour.

ICSC Comes To PEI

The International Council of Shopping Centers Inc. (ICSC) will hosts its annual Atlantic Idea Exchange August 13 and 14 in Charlottetown, PEI. Sessions will include a ‘World Perspective of Retail Trade’ by Annette Healey, senior vice-president, CB Richard Ellis Retail Services. She will discuss how the credit crunch in the U.S. and other changing economic factors are influencing retailers in Canada, the U.S., and beyond. For more information, contact Randi Glass, meetings manager – Canada, ICSC, at 416-486-4511.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 24, 2008

Homeowners Will Spend More For ‘Green’

The vast majority of U.S. homeowners are willing to spend more money on ‘green’ products, says a Plastpro survey. It found 73 per cent are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products and 89 per cent will pay extra for products that offer increased energy efficiency. They are also willing to accept higher initial ownership costs on home improvement projects that promise higher quality and lower lifetime ownership costs.

Wolseley Opens ‘Green’ Showcase

Wolseley has opened a 6,800 square-foot showcase to display 170 types of environmentally-friendly products including e-glazing, engineered timber, low energy lighting, and water saving devices. Products featured are currently available through its 1,800 branch network in the U.K. Specially trained staff is on hand to provide visitors with information and guidance on appropriate materials for specific projects.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 23, 2008

Retail Sales Rebound In April

Retail sales rebounded in April with a 0.6 per cent increase to an estimated $35.6 billion, says Statistics Canada. This sales gain followed a pause in March that could largely be attributed to adverse weather conditions. April marked the fifth monthly increase in retail sales in seven months. Although sales moderated in the middle of 2007, on the whole, retail sales have generally been rising at a rapid pace since 2004.

Canadian Tire Plans Montreal DC

Canadian Tire will build a 1.5 million square-foot distribution centre in the Montreal, QC, area. It says the move is part of growth and expansion planned for eastern Canada. When completed, it will process goods for stores in Ontario, Quebec, and Maritime locations.

CGC Takes Pros On Tour

Who’s the top taper in town? Who’s the best boarder? That’s what CGC Inc. will be asking professional contractors at gypsum supply dealers (GSDs) across Ontario and Western Canada through its Beat the Pro Tour. Running from July through October, the tour pits the pros, one-on-one, in contests at GSD sites to see who can set the fastest time for a boarding or taping challenge. The fastest boarder and fastest taper at each stop will
receive prizes from DeWalt.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 20, 2008

TIM-BR MART Adds Dealers And Locations

TIM-BR MART has added two new dealers and three locations to its cross-Canada network. Hickeys’ Building Supplies operates two retail locations in Newfoundland – Conception Bay South and Harbour Main. Cleave Management & Investment Services (operating as ‘Renovators’) is located in Picton, ON.

Creditors Take Over Ainsworth

Vancouver-based oriented strand board producer Ainsworth Lumber has announced a plan to allow creditors to take over 96 per cent of the company. Under the recapitalization plan, members of the founding Ainsworth family will lose their controlling interest. The new owners will be the bondholders who will own 96 per cent of newly-issued stock.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 19, 2008

Composite Index Rises In May

The composite index rose 0.2 per cent in May, following no change in April and declines in the previous two months. May's increase was widespread, with seven of the 10 components expanding, the most since the turmoil began in global credit markets last August. One component was unchanged, while two declined. Household demand remained the strongest sector in the economy. Housing starts strengthened in May, while consumer outlays for durable goods grew steadily.

Liquidation World Closing Seven Stores

Liquidation World Inc. will close seven of its 103 Canadian stores. Jonathan Hill, president and CEO, says they have been scrutinizing every area of the business with the objective of reducing costs and improving the profitability of the company. Stores in Surrey, BC; Aldergrove, BC; Merritt, BC; Taber, AB; Drumheller, AB; Winnipeg, MB; and Keswick, ON, will be closed.

Home Depot Localizing Offerings

The Home Depot Inc. plans to localize offerings at existing stores and tailor merchandise to its core customers, says Craig Menear, executive vice-president, merchandising. In remarks made in a webcast at the William Blair & Co. annual growth stock conference, he said he expects the current environment, with declining home prices and higher fuel costs and unemployment, to continue into the "foreseeable future." It hopes to drive productivity by offering a product selection that addresses the local market of each store. Additionally, it is focusing on its core customers – the do-it-yourself customer and the small repair and remodeling professional. It will eliminate categories that don't address these customers such as pet supply and automotive offerings.

Self-Service Transactions To Surpass $1.7 Trillion

Transactions at self-service kiosks will surpass $607 billion this year in North America, as consumers continue to embrace self-service technology. The amount will more than triple by 2012 to more than $1.7 trillion, says a research study by the IHL Group. The ‘2008 North American Self-Service Kiosks’ examines the increasing use of six types of self-service kiosks where payment is accepted – self-checkout systems, ticketing kiosks, check-in kiosks, food ordering, postal systems, and other retail kiosks. It covers self-service kiosks in the United States and Canada.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 18, 2008

Wilson Moves To Home Hardware

Dunc Wilson is director, national dealer development, at Home Hardware Stores Ltd. Formerly director of hardware for Groupe BMR, he will be expected to develop and manage a dealer development team and find new recruits to help it maximize its growth.

Entrepreneurs Should Relax

Entrepreneurs should turn off their blackberries and make relaxation a priority this summer for the sake of their physical and mental health, says Desjardins Financial Security's ‘National Health Survey.’ Entrepreneurs who participated in the survey were asked to rate their current level of financial security, mental and physical health, and their stress level compared to the previous year. Close to 92 per cent said they were financially sound and 77 per cent were in very good physical and mental health. However, when asked to comment on their stress level, 31 per cent said their stress had increased. As well, 78 per cent said that they had gone to work sick or exhausted in the past. They had done so on average seven times in the last year, most often to meet business deadlines and out of a sense of personal duty.

AkzoNobel Selling Brands

AkzoNobel has signed an agreement to sell its Para and Crown Diamond decorative paints brands in Canada to General Paint Corp. The sale is in line with the commitment package with Canadian authorities in connection with AkzoNobel’s acquisition of Imperial Chemical Industries plc (ICI) in January. General Paint is a leading decorative coatings manufacturer in Canada.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 17, 2008

walter

Platinum Anniversary For Home Hardware Founder

In June 1938, Walter Hachborn took a job as a stock boy at a local hardware store and launched what would become a 70-year career. Over the past seven decades the president and co-founder of Home Hardware Stores Limited has helped build a $4.8 billion Canadian icon. “The vision of individual Canadians growing profitable, sustainable, and long-term businesses was the foundation on which Home Hardware was founded more than 40 years ago,” says Hachborn, who was presented with a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion by Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO of Home Hardware Stores Limited. Celebrations for Hachborn’s milestone will take place across the country with staff barbeques at each of Home Hardware’s distribution centres and will continue at the 2008 Fall Market where the more than 10,000 Home Hardware dealers and vendors who visit the market will have a chance to join the celebration.

'spoga' Celebrates 50th

The 50th anniversary of ‘spoga’ will take place August 31 to September 2. The show for the global lawn and garden and outdoor leisure industry will feature garden furniture, camping gear, outdoor leisure equipment, beach products, and barbecue equipment. It is held with ‘gafa,’ the International Garden Trade Fair. For more information, visit www.spoga-cologne.com

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 16, 2008

ILDC Adds Buying Power

Delroc Industries Ltd., Federated Co-Operatives, La Coop Federee, The Sexton Group Ltd, and the Independent Lumber Dealers Cooperative will join forces effective January 1, 2009. Their combined members’ volume will exceed $4 billion through 1,000 outlets in every province across Canada. The combined organization will draw on its strong history of working co-operatively to improve each member’s business. In addition to purchasing merchandise at the lowest landed cost, the organization will continue its tradition of sharing best practices.

Russo Leaves Reed

Dean Russo, who oversaw the National Hardware Show, Lawn & Garden World, and the Homewares show, has left Reed Exhibitions. He served as a group vice-president and had taken over operation of the NHS in January, running this year’s show in Las Vegas, NV. He has been replaced by Ed Several who will oversee the PGA Merchandise Show, the PGA Fall Expo, and the Outdoor Sports Show in addition to the NHS.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 13, 2008

Hogan Joins Gugler

Mike Hogan is senior associate, outplacement services, in the Toronto office of Wolf Gugler & Associates Limited. He has been working as an independent career consultant and in conjunction with outplacement firms in the Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, area. Wolf Gugler & Associates offers executive recruitment and management appraisal services for home improvement retailers and their suppliers.

Brookfield Acquires Maax

MAAX Corporation has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Brookfield Bridge Lending Fund Inc., its senior lender, that will see Brookfield acquire substantially all of the assets and property of MAAX and its affiliates. The transaction preserves the MAAX business and ensures its continuance as a successful competitor in the marketplace. MAAX is a North American manufacturer of award-winning bathroom products and spas for the residential housing market.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 12, 2008

Brite Ceases Operations

Brite Manufacturing Inc. of Bolton, ON, has ceased operations. It is currently selling its inventory as the company prepares the company for sale. It consists of two pressure treating facilities, one wood remanufacturing facility producing wood lattice, balusters, spindles, stair stringers and other deck accessories, and one facility that produced wood composite decking and plastic lattice.

Can-Save Expo Attracts 700

More than 700 people representing 205 dealers from all corners of the province attended the 2008 edition of Can-Save’s Summer Expo. This year, the show moved to a new venue at the Barrie, ON, Molson Centre. Dan Clements, vice-president of marketing for Can-Save, says “buying on the show floor was very strong across almost all categories, and total purchases were up 19 per cent over last year.”

Wal-Mart Opens 300th Store

Wal-Mart Canada has opened its 300th Canadian store, a Supercentre in the Heartland retail district of Mississauga, ON. Supercentres offer a larger assortment of merchandise, combining general merchandise selection with a full assortment of groceries. Its first three opened in October 2006.

Americans Planning Projects

More than half of Americans are planning to start one or more home improvement projects in the next three months, says research from the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI). Its research shows 51.1 per cent of Americans surveyed in the February/March time period were planning to embark on projects this spring, compared to 62.7 per cent during the same period last year. Outdoor projects – including lawn, landscaping/fencing, and deck/patio/porch – are the most popular, followed by kitchen, living room, bedroom, and master bath remodels. Also significant was the fact that women are more likely to plan projects than men (52 per cent to 49 per cent).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 11, 2008

RONA Cuts Energy Consumption

RONA inc. will turn off 75 per cent of all demonstrator lights on display in its in-store lighting departments, leaving only one item in four turned on full time. This new measure is intended to reduce in-store energy consumption. Lighting only one unit or lamp in four also allows shoppers to see what the other lamps and lighting units look like when turned off. In addition, the lamps on display in RONA stores use compact fluorescent instead of conventional incandescent bulbs.

Portiss Heads TORBSA

Doug Portiss, of Sarnia Drywall Supply Ltd. (Sarnia, ON) has been elected president of TORBSA Limited for the year 2008. Other members of the 2008 board include past president – Mike Mayhew, Select Acoustic Supply Inc. (Concord, ON); vice-president –Dave Hewson, Hewson Brothers Supply Limited (Brantford, ON); secretary – Dante DiGiovanni, Blair Building Materials Inc. (Maple, ON); vice-president operations – Claude Morin, Morin Bros. Building Supplies Inc. (Ottawa, ON); and treasurer – Blake Oldershaw, Oldershaw Building Supply Co. Ltd. (Chatham, ON). 

TruServ Announces Fall Market Plans

TruServ Canada Inc. will hold its Fall National Buying Market October 4 to 7. The event offers special programs in merchandising, advertising, and technology as well as focusing on key seasonal categories. Retailers can experience, first hand, the new and upcoming products for the season from more than 400 major manufacturers. They can also take advantage of timely specials on every day products available only at the market. For more information, visit www.truserv.ca

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 10, 2008

Globe Earns ENERGY STAR Award 

Globe Electric Company Inc. has been named the 2008 ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year. This is the second consecutive year that Globe has been recognized for its significant contribution to the ENERGY STAR program, having won Recruit of the Year in 2007. The past year was one of its strongest – particularly when it came to energy-efficient products. Its line of ENERGY STAR qualified products expanded from one to nine categories and its qualified products jumped from 40 to more than 350.


trailblazer

Trail Blazer Wins Export Award

Shawn Levangie, president of Trail Blazer Products Limited, (left), is presented with a Nova Scotia Export Achievement Award from Grant Ferguson, plant manager, Michelin, North America (Canada). It was honoured for its export growth through product development. The manufacturer of hatchets, knives, saws, tree loppers, and extension poles has more than 500 customer accounts in North America.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 9, 2008

Weiser Lock Teams Up With 'Get Smart'

Weiser Lock has announced a national marketing campaign in conjunction with the release of the movie ‘Get Smart.’ The ‘Get Smart. Get Weiser.’ advertising campaign will see Canadians that purchase SmartKey handlesets or SmartScan products rewarded with tickets to the Warner Brothers Entertainment feature film ‘Get Smart.’ The free movie ticket offer is available at participating home improvement retailers across Canada. 

IRLY Gets President

Susan Robinson is president and CEO of IRLY Distributors Ltd. Mostly recently, she headed her own consulting business, PathMasters International. It provided business solutions in procurement, logistics, quality assurance, and research and development.

Behr Paint Preferred Brand

Behr paint is the brand most preferred by consumers in the U.S., says J.D. Power and Associates second annual interior paint satisfaction study. Behr, Home Depot’s paint, ranked highest in customer satisfaction with an index score of 779 on a 1,000-point scale. It performed particularly well in price and design guides and instructions factors. Porter Paints follows with a score of 772 and Benjamin Moore Paints and Dunn-Edwards Paints were tied for third with a ranking of 771 each. Benjamin Moore Paints performed particularly well in three of six factors – appearance and application features, application performance, and durability performance.

Lawn And Garden Demand Slips

Unfavorable weather patterns, lower home values, and rising fuel and energy costs conspired to limit demand for lawn and garden products in 2007, says market research firm Freedonia Group. Consumer demand for fertilizers, pesticides, soils, mulch, and other garden products hit a snag last year when parts of the U.S. experienced a cold spring and drought conditions throughout the summer. It does project an annual 4.5 per cent rise in lawn and garden sales with sales reaching $9.3 billion in 2012. Aging baby boomers will drive the demand, especially for products that extend living spaces such as patios and decks.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 6, 2008

Building Permit Value Up Strongly

The total value of building permits was up strongly in April as construction intentions rose in all provinces and in both the residential and non-residential sectors, says Statistics Canada. Contractors took out $6.4 billion worth of permits in April, up 14.5 per cent from March and the highest level since October 2007. In the residential sector, the value of building permits increased 13.4 per cent to $4 billion, the highest value in six months. The increase was generated by a strong gain in the value of multi-family permits.

Ace Tops In Customer Satisfaction

Ace Hardware has ranked highest in U.S. customer satisfaction for the second consecutive year, says the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 home improvement retail store study. The study, in its second year, measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores, based on merchandise, price, sales staff, sales/promotions, and store facilities. Ace Hardware received a score of 791 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in the sales staff and store facility factors. Lowe’s (784) and Menards (779) follow Ace Hardware in the rankings. Lowe’s performed particularly well in merchandise, while Menards did best in sales/promotions and price factors.

T.S. Simms Appoints President

Charles (Chuck) Martin is president of T.S. Simms. Beginning in 1983 as a production equipment mechanic, he has held a number of key managerial positions over the past 25 years, most recently acting as plant manager. Louis Trépanier is vice-president, sales, and Douglas Ells is plant manager. Trépanier has held many senior sales and marketing positions in the Canadian hardware industry. Ells has been with the company for 30 years, beginning as a summer student in 1975.

Home Depot Keeping Installation Business

The Home Depot Inc. doesn't expect future growth for its professional in-home installation service, however, the business will not be abandoned either, says CEO Frank Blake. Customers have complained about the quality of work done by the people Home Depot hires to do home installation of kitchen appliances, flooring, and other items. Home Depot wants to use the unit to drive customers into its core retail stores. "We know we have additional work to do to improve customer service," he says.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 5, 2008

Canadians Lack Confidence In Protection Of Personal Information

Only seven per cent of Canadians say they are very confident in the ability of Canadian retailers, governments, and banks to protect their personal information, says a survey by CA Canada, an enterprise software company. Of the three types of organizations, Canadian retailers fared the worst, with less than one per cent of consumers saying they are very confident retailers can protect their customers’ online personal and private information. The ‘2008 Security and Privacy Survey’ indicated that 85 per cent of Canadian consumers cite loss of trust and confidence, damage to reputation, and reduced customer satisfaction as consequences of major security and privacy breaches suffered by the business or government organizations that they deal with.

Castle Adds New Members

Castle Building Centres in Mississauga, ON, has added three new members. They are  DEL Warehousing Inc., Little Britain, ON; UDO Lumber Sales Inc., Winnipeg Beach, MB; and Reimer Lumber & Hardware Ltd., Roseau River, MB.

Kingfisher Shows Increase In Profit 

Kingfisher Plc had a better than expected 8.9 per cent increase in first quarter retail profit. The group, owner of B&Q in the UK and France's Castorama, saw its total first quarter sales increase 8.6 per cent. UK retail profit fell 8.5 per cent while in France retail profit increased 9.4 per cent to 43 million pounds.

Ziegler Heads Ace

David Ziegler has succeeded Tom Glenn as chairman of Ace Hardware Corporation’s board of directors. He is vice-president and co-owner of Ziegler’s Ace Hardware, a 10-store chain in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL. Jim Ackroyd and Gina Schaefer were elected to their first terms on the board and Jeff Schulein was re-elected to the board for his third and final term.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 4, 2008

RONA Showcases Olympic Involvement

RONA inc. is launching a new advertising campaign showcasing its contribution as a national partner towards building the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as well as supporting Canadian Olympic athletes headed to Beijing this summer and Vancouver in 2010. The campaign will highlight RONA's commitment to creating sustainability programs for the community in the context of its Olympic partnership. The first of a series of eight different TV spots showcases the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop. A woodworking facility for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the Fab Shop is where all the extra items that bring the venues to life are built including wheelchair ramps, warming huts, fencing, and sports racks.

Retailers Take Steps To Stop Theft

With the growth of retail organized crime in the Canadian marketplace, the types of security measures being employed by retailers are also growing, says a survey of medium and large retailers from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Retail Council of Canada. The survey found that the most likely source of financial losses in future will come from traditional merchandise theft, both internal and external. The top two identified were merchandise theft from customers (62 per cent) and merchandise theft from employees (33 per cent). Currently, respondents to the survey indicate that they are using a wide variety of store security and loss prevention measures to control store operations. On a positive note, there is an increasing trend of using technology to help prevent theft – a full 100 per cent of survey respondents use alarm systems and 90 per cent use video surveillance programs.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 3, 2008

Task Force Examines Independent Retailers

A year-long initiative, driven by the Retail Council of Canada and Scotiabank Small Business, will discover and recommend solutions for the challenges affecting Canada's independent retailers in urban and rural communities. Chaired by Paul Simmonds, president of Robert Simmonds Clothing in Fredericton, NB, the ‘Independent Retail: A Changing Landscape’ task force will include regional town hall meetings designed to bring independent retailers together. Meetings are scheduled for August 25 – Fredericton, NB; August 26 – Halifax, NS; September 24 – Toronto, ON; September 25 – Winnipeg, MB; October 14 – Edmonton, AB; and October 15 – Vancouver, BC.

Lowe’s To Open 120 Stores

While Lowe’s still plans to open 120 stores this year, the company has opted to postpone the opening of 20 locations. This was offered as one way to control costs at its annual meeting. It will also pull back on major remerchandising plans for certain stores in 2008 and it has halted plans to open another regional distribution centre. Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock said that 2007 was a much rougher year than had been anticipated. Not only did the continued weakness in the housing market hurt retailer sales, but the additional credit crunch further dampened consumer interest.

Construction Investment Reaches $19.8 Billion

The total value of residential construction investment reached $19.8 billion in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2007, says Statistics Canada. Increases were seen in most provinces and for the three components of residential construction (new housing construction, renovations, and acquisition costs). New housing investment increased by 8.8 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2007 to $9.7 billion. Renovation spending came to $8.4 billion, a 7.2 per cent increase compared with the first quarter of 2007. Renovation spending represented 42.4 per cent of total residential construction investments.

RONA Collecting Used Fluorescent Bulbs

RONA inc. has announced a Canada-wide collection program for compact fluorescent light bulbs. Canadians will now be able to take their used compact fluorescents to participating RONA stores including the Reno-Depot, Totem, and Chester Dawe. "At RONA, we want to work with consumers and help people adopt ecologically responsible practices. Providing a safe disposal method for compact fluorescent bulbs lets us meet consumer needs, with people increasingly choosing compact fluorescents," says Pierre Dandoy, its executive vice-president, big box stores.

NHS Attendance Increases

Attendance increased 14 per cent over 2007 at the 63rd National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, NV. This year’s show, featuring Lawn & Garden World, The Homewares Show, and Global Hardware Expo, offered home channel retailers of all sizes a comprehensive preview of the entire home enhancement marketplace with more than 3,500 exhibitors and 150 product categories. Of total registrations, 21 per cent were international with attendees from 114 countries. Top product category interest of attendees came from, in descending order, hardware; lawn and garden; hand and power tools; electrical and lighting; and kitchen and bath.

MAAX Introduces Intuition

MAAX, a North American manufacturer of bathroom and spa products, has introduced Intuition – a new line of clear, simple, and easy to install frameless corner shower doors. Intuition shower doors come in several different sizes in both neo-round and neo-angle shapes. It comes with the panels pre-assembled which saves time on the installation. Intuition requires no drilling or silicone application to the self-adjusting wall jambs.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


< previous