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November 28, 2008

Taiga Distributes Platon

Armtec and Taiga Building Products have reached an agreement that will see Taiga become a Canadian distributor of the Platon Subfloor System. Taiga Building Products will supply Platon to the Canadian retail building trade market from strategic locations across the country. Platon is Canada’s most popular air-gap membrane and is used for foundation protection and sub-floor applications.

Tarkett Develops Eco Clic

Tarkett Residential has come up with a new hardwood flooring collection. Not only is the new line environmentally friendly as it uses less wood than traditional hardwood floors, but it can also be easily self-installed without nails or glue since the wood planks simply click together. ‘Eco Clic’ comes in nine colour options and includes styles to meet a wide range of personalities and tastes.

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November 27, 2008

La Roche Joins TIM-BR MART

Philippe La Roche is commercial division manager at TIM-BR MART. He has spent the last 17 years with Beauchesne Group. For 13 of those years, he was directly involved in supplier negotiations as director, finance and business development, and later general manager.

BMR Show March 27

The 2009 BMR Trade Show will take place March 27. It will be held at Place Forzani in Laval, QC. For more information, email cauger@bmr-legroupe.com

Interior Design Show Announces New Initiatives

The 2009 Interior Design Show (IDS 09) has announced three new initiatives to its line-up. Innovation + Technology will showcase ‘smart’ décor and modern products; LuxeHome will celebrate couture home fashions; and the International Pavilions will feature lighting, furniture, and décor accessories from France and Finland. Running from February 5 to 8 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, ON, the show is Canada’s largest contemporary interior design event with 300 exhibitors and more than 50,000 attendees. For more information, visit http://www.interiordesignshow.com

Hitachi Has Gas Nailers

Hitachi Power Tools has introduced four new gas finish nailers to the market. A combination of HXP lithium ion battery technology and a gas fuel cell offers the convenience of a cordless tool with the power of a pneumatic. These nailers are ideal for a variety of installation applications with freedom from the restrictions of an air hose and a compressor.

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November 26, 2008

Retail Sales Up In September

Retail sales totalled $36.3 billion in September, up 1.1 per cent from August and the strongest rise in sales in eight months, says Statistics Canada. However, while five of the eight sectors posted higher sales, and they accounted for approximately 75 per cent of retail sales, the most substantial decrease in sales in September was in the building and outdoor home supplies stores sector. This was the first drop in sales in this sector since April 2008.

Basement Finishing Growing

One segment of the remodeling market that is growing is basement finishing, says Specialists in Business Information (SBI). It reports that the professional basement finishing market grew at a compound annual rate of 21 per cent between 2005 and 2007, from $15.1 billion to $22.2 billion, despite an overall decline in housing sales and home improvement expenditures. It forecasts that the professional basement finishing market will grow five per cent in 2008 to $23.3 billion and seven per cent through 2012 to $30.6 billion, as the housing market and general economy improve.

Scott Becomes President

Richard Scott is president and chief operating officer of All Weather Windows. He has served in a variety of senior roles in the company, most recently as vice-president and general manager. He has more than 20 years experience in the Canadian window and door industry, many of them spent in senior management positions.

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November 25, 2008

Demand For Windows And Doors Rising

U.S. demand for windows and doors is forecast to rise 2.8 per cent annually to $40 billion in 2012, a deceleration from the 2002-2007 pace, says the Freedonia Group, Inc.’s ‘Windows & Doors’ study. Demand gains will be restrained by a subdued outlook for residential construction, which constitutes the largest market for windows and doors. Also restraining gains will be a slight decline in average floor space per new housing unit, which will mean the new homes will require fewer windows and doors. Spending on residential improvements is also expected to moderate through 2012, limiting advances in the improvement and repair segment of the residential market.

Consumer Confidence Down Again

After falling dramatically in October, the Conference Board's Index of Consumer Confidence slipped another 2.9 points in November and now stands at 71. "Consumer sentiment has fallen to depths previously reached only in 1982 and 1990, which were both periods of recession in Canada," says Paul Darby, deputy chief economist. "The ongoing troubles in equity markets undoubtedly had a negative effect on consumers' view of their family financial situations and future job prospects in their communities." Regionally, consumer confidence fell in the Prairies by the largest one-month decline on record. Sentiment in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec also declined, while the index in Atlantic Canada rose by 0.2 percentage points.

Group Martel Earns Plaque

Group Martel has won this year’s ‘Plaque Fieté.’ The award recognizes the exceptional accomplishments of a dealer and was presented at this year’s Le Groupe BMR Annual Show and Gala. Group Martel operates two renovation centres (BMR Martel & Matériaux Delisle), a sawmill (Scierie Martel), and a trust company (Les Toitures Regionales). Located in the Saguenay Lac St Jean region of Quebec, its partnership with BMR started 30 years ago.

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November 24, 2008

RONA Outlines Sustainable Policies

As part of its ‘2009 Spring Show,’ RONA introduced two new policies stemming from its sustainable development approach. As disclosed last September, it will stop selling synthetic pesticides for cosmetic use in all its stores across Canada beginning July 1, 2009. As synthetic pesticides are taken off store shelves, it will introduce alternatives and techniques to help consumers replace them. RONA is also introducing a new policy on forest products, stating what criteria it is adopting for its procurement of wood products for sale across stores from its network. This 63rd edition of the show was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, ON, for the first time. It brought together dealer-owners and managers from close to 700 RONA stores across Canada and showcased 2,000 new products as well as new trends that will become available in spring 2009.

Duke To Succeed Scott

Mike Duke, vice-chairman of its international division, will replace Lee Scott as president and chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores. Scott retires in February. Additionally, Eduardo Castro-Wright was promoted to vice-chairman, adding to his current titles of president and chief executive of Wal-Mart U.S.

Sears Canada Revenues Increase

Sears Canada Inc.’s total revenues for the 13-week period ended November 1, increased 5.5 per cent to $1.442 billion compared to $1.368 billion for the 13 weeks ended September 29, 2007. Beginning in 2008, the company changed its year-end to the Saturday closest to January 31 instead of the Saturday closest to December 31. Compared to the 13-week period ended November 3, 2007, revenues increased 0.6 per cent and same store sales increased 0.9 per cent.

Women More Interested In Green

Women are more interested in green products than men, says research from the NPD Group. ‘Green 2008: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors’ found women are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. Another key finding is that green shoppers want energy-efficient items that save money. That suggests energy efficiency may be an easier sell than protecting the environment.

Software Earns International Award  

Calgary, AB, based RenoWorks Software & Home Hardware Stores Limited have been recognized by the International Academy of the Visual Arts with a Silver Davey Award for HomeWorks Software. HomeWorks Software was created for Home Hardware by RenoWorks to allow homeowners to try building products on images of their own home, before they buy. Users can upload interior and exterior photos of their homes and modify them by applying paint, flooring, siding, roofing, windows, doors, and hardware available from Home Hardware dealers. Users have access to more than 2,500 products from more than 30 major building materials manufacturers.

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November 20, 2008

Market Drives Composite Index Down

The composite leading index fell 0.4 per cent in October after a 0.3 per cent drop in September, says Statistics Canada. However, most of the decline originated in the stock market. Excluding the stock market, the index edged down 0.1 per cent after a 0.2 per cent decline in September. The stock market retreat in September accelerated in October, when it fell 17.2 per cent. This was the fourth largest monthly drop ever, exceeded only by those in March 1980, October 1987, and August 1998. It is noteworthy that two of these three decreases were not accompanied by declines in most other components of the leading index and not followed by a recession.

Irwin Heads Marketing

Jon Irwin is director of marketing and merchandising at TIM-BR MART. He has spent 25 years in the lumber and building materials industry and for 17 years held key marketing and merchandising positions at Beaver Lumber and Homecare. He assumed national merchandising responsibilities with TIM-BR MART in 2005.

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November 19, 2008

RONA Changes Structure

RONA has made changes to its organizational structure in its operations and marketing sectors. This initiative stems from its 2008-2011 strategic plan and aims at helping the company to continue to grow while optimizing its entire network. All of its big box, proximity and specialized store operations which, until recently, were managed by separate departments, have been grouped together in one single department. Under the direction of Pierre Dandoy, executive vice-president, retail operations, this new department will include all corporate and franchise store activities across Canada. Dandoy was executive vice-president, big box stores, and has been with RONA since 2002. Claude Bernier is now executive vice-president, marketing and customer innovations. He has been with RONA for 10 years and most recently was senior vice-president, proximity and specialized stores. These activities will be spearheaded by a separate department and will fall under the direct responsibility of RONA’s president and CEO, Robert Dutton

Home Depot Profit Falls

The Home Depot Inc.’s third quarter profit sank by nearly a third as shoppers scaled back on everything from custom kitchens to lumber and flooring. Its profit fell 31 per cent to $756 million, down from $1.09 billion in the same period last year. Revenue dropped six per cent to $17.78 billion from $18.96 billion.

Home Hardware Using MessageWay

Home Hardware has selected MessageWay Solutions’ Advanced Managed File Transfer (MFT).  It will be used to manage the exchange of electronic files between more than 1,000 retail outlets and the Home Hardware order processing and replenishment systems.

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November 18, 2008

Lowe’s Sees Profit Fall

Lowe’s Cos.’ third quarter profit fell 24 per cent, its fifth straight quarterly profit decline. "The third quarter continued what has been a very difficult period for our industry as many exterior factors weighed on home improvement sales," says Robert Niblock, chairman and chief executive office. "We expect continued, broad-based external pressures on our industry as rising unemployment, falling home prices, tight credit, and volatile equity markets continue to erode consumer confidence and impact sales." Its profit fell to $488 million from $643 million in the year-ago period. Sales for the quarter increased 1.4 per cent to $11.7 billion, up from $11.6 billion in the third quarter of 2007.

Ainsworth Reports Net Loss

Ainsworth Lumber had a net loss of $42.7 million for the third quarter ended September 30, compared to a net loss of $37.2 million for the same period last year. Sales for the quarter stood at $115.3 million, down 24 per cent from $150.8 million in the year-ago period. Reduced shipment volumes due to production curtailments led to the decrease in sales.

Huttig Distributes Fiber Composites

Huttig Building Products, Inc. and Fiber Composites, LLC have announced a strategic alliance agreement under which Huttig will distribute Fiberon composite decking from seven of its locations in the western United States. Fiberon is one of the leading brands of composite decking in the U.S. while Huttig is one of the largest distributors of millwork, building materials, and wood products.

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November 17, 2008

Paint Moves To Top Of Sales List

With women accounting for more than 60 per cent of the decisions made at hardware and building materials centres, the paint and paint accessories and floor coverings are now among the best selling products at Le Groupe BMR stores, says Yves Gagnon, president and chief executive officer. Speaking at a media briefing at its annual show and gala, he said they are also seeing a trend where urban dwellers are buying or building a second home or retiring to rural areas. This is, in turn, driving sales at stores in these centres. However, he did say that given the current economic situation, their dealers have been advised to adopt a “bunker” mentality and be cautious while the current economic crisis unfolds.

Ace Rated As Helpful Place

Ace Hardware is again ranked number one for customer service in the home improvement retail category in the Corporate Research International ‘Real People Ratings’ consumer opinion survey. For the second quarter of 2008, Ace topped the charts with a 7.96 rating. It has now been rated number one for the past 13 consecutive quarters.

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November 14, 2008

Wal-Mart Posts Profit Increase

Wal-Mart posted a 10 per cent increase in third quarter profits, saying that shoppers are responding to its early Christmas promotions. It earned $3.14 billion, up from $2.86 billion a year earlier. Total sales for the quarter rose 7.4 per cent to $98.64 billion.

Ace Income Increases During Quarter

Ace Hardware released results for the third quarter of 2008, reporting net income of $26.4 million, an increase of $4 million, or 18.1 per cent, compared to $22.4 million in the third quarter of 2007. For the nine month period ended September 27, net income was $70.6 million, an increase of $4.6 million or seven per cent over 2007. On the down side, revenues for the quarter decreased $7.6 million, or 0.8 per cent, to $969.2 million from $976.7 million in 2007, and merchandise sales to comparable stores were flat.

Taiga Sales Up Slightly

Taiga Building Products Ltd.’s sales revenue for the three months ended September 30 was $292.2 million compared to $286.9 million for the same quarter last fiscal year. Sales grew slightly as it continued its focus on growing value added product market share. This offset weakness in engineered wood products' sales performance. Net earnings were $3.2 million. For the three months ended September 30, 2007, Taiga earned $3.8 million.

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November 12, 2008

RONA Sales Increase

RONA had a 2.3 per cent increase in its consolidated sales, which stood at $1,381.7 million in the third quarter of 2008, compared to $1,350.5 million in 2007. Same-store sales decreased by 2.3 per cent in the quarter, reflecting a drop in consumer spending related to the decline in consumer confidence. Net earnings reached $53.4 million, a 10.2 per cent decrease over 2007.

Growth In Basement Remodelling Undeterred

The basement finishing market will grow five per cent in 2008 to $23.3 billion and subsequently at a steady seven per cent through 2012 to $30.6 billion as the housing and overall economy inevitably ascend to more positive territory, says SBI’s ‘Trends and Opportunities in the U.S. Basement Remodeling Market.’ It says remodeling a basement can provide a family with the additional space they need for an extra bedroom, office, entertainment centre, or other use at a fraction of the cost of a new home without incurring a loss on the current home and a high interest mortgage on a new one. For those homeowners who want to sell but decide to wait for a more robust market, finishing the basement can be a good stopgap measure by providing at least some of the additional space wanted in the interim and increasing the value of the house in the long run.

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November 11, 2008

Canadian Tire Opens Smart Stores

Two fundamentally different Canadian Tire stores are now open in Welland and Orleans, ON. These are the first of Canadian Tire's latest store format – the Smart store. These stores feature Canadian Tire's heritage businesses and unique product mix, as well as a Mark's Work Wearhouse offering. The company has plans to open up to 10 new Smart stores and complete a number of retrofits to existing stores in 2009.

Brush Eliminates Need For Tape

Painters can toss their tape and paint with confidence, thanks to a new line of paint brushes from Styletto. Designed for cutting in around walls, ceilings, corners, and mouldings, they can be used for precision painting. The brushes have an arrow tip brush design that allows paint to flow right up to the corner or trim edge without bleeding onto other surfaces. They are available in five sizes from one to three inches wide.

AFA Acquires Breton

AFA Forest Products has acquired Breton Distributors Ltd. With its acquisition of Lighthouse Lumber Wholesalers in early 2007, it gives AFA a dominant presence in the Atlantic market. The latest acquisition will significantly enhance its ability to serve the Cape Breton, NS, and Western Newfoundland regions. AFA, based in Bolton, ON, has been in business since 1974 and is a Canadian-owned independent distributor of commodities and allied products to building supply dealers. It has 14 branches across Canada and in the U.S.

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November 7, 2008

Building Permits Rise In September

Municipalities issued $6.5 billion in building permits in September, up 13.4 per cent following an 11.7 per cent decline in August. September's increase was the result of gains in all three components of the non-residential sector. The total value of building permits increased in seven provinces and two territories. In the residential sector, the value of permits fell for the second month in a row and the sixth time in nine months. Housing permits declined by 4.9 per cent to $3.3 billion, the result of lower levels of permits for multi-family dwellings in six provinces.

Wetmore Heads Canadian Tire

Stephen G. Wetmore becomes president and chief executive officer of Canadian Tire, effective the beginning of 2009. He will succeed Tom Gauld who is retiring from that role at the end of this year. Wetmore has led large, complex businesses in different industries including telecommunications, information technology, and transportation. Most recently, he was president and chief executive officer of Bell Aliant Regional Communications Income Fund.

Brand Beats Out Price

‘Trusted brand’ is more important than price as the leading purchase motivator for the drill category with 27.2 per cent citing it as the reason for making a purchase, says research from the NPD Group. Consumers paid an average price of $55.49, up from $54.32 in the previous year. Young consumers are the leading purchasers of drills in every channel and, despite a 1.8 percentage point dip from 2007, cordless will continue to dominate the category.

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November 6, 2008

CGC Offers Next Gen Cement Board

CGC Inc. has introduced Durock Cement Board Next Gen. Engineered to be North America’s lightest cement board, it is 20 per cent lighter than the original product making it easier to handle and faster to install. It’s also easier to score and snap, has improved fastening, is moisture and mould resistant, and comes with a 30-year warranty. It is now available at gypsum supply dealers and big box stores across Canada. 

Graham & Brown At Lowe’s

Graham & Brown has unveiled a new wallpaper selection available exclusively at Lowe’s. The wall coverings provide customers with an array of patterns, colours, and textures. ”We worked with Lowe’s to co-ordinate a collection that reflects the style and flair Canadians are using to personalize their home” says Gary Gill, general manager of Graham & Brown Canada.

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November 5, 2008

True Value Results Positive

Despite the depressed economy and home market, True Value had positive results for the third quarter ended September 27. It posted a quarterly net margin of $20.5 million, an increase of 70.8 per cent, or $8.5 million, versus $12 million a year ago. Revenue was up three per cent to $493.1 million from $478.5 million for the same period a year ago. However, for the first nine months of the year, it had revenue of $1,529.2 million, a decrease of 2.1 per cent, or $32.2 million, from $1,561.4 million for the same period a year ago.

LP Has Net Loss

Louisiana-Pacific (LP) had a net loss of $100 million in the third quarter, compared to a $55 million loss in the same period last year. It had sales of $390 million, down 18 per cent from $473 million in the year-ago period. During the fourth quarter, it will curtail most of its mills and it is currently implementing an accelerated right-sizing initiative to reduce its ongoing cost structure to current business levels.

Emerson Revenues Increase

For the three months ended September 30, Emerson earned $688 million, up 10 per cent from $623 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 11 per cent to $6.7 billion from $6.03 billion. For the full fiscal year, the company has earned $2.41 billion, up 13 per cent from $2.14 billion the year before and revenue grew 12 per cent to $24.81 billion from $22.13 billion.

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November 4, 2008

Modest Gifts For 2008

Despite a challenging economy, slumping consumer confidence and negative headlines, Canadian retailers will still see a steady flow of customers this holiday season. But those customers will be picking up more modest gifts than in previous years, says Ernst & Young. "The retail forecast in Canada is sobering, and we don't expect the year-on-year growth we've seen in previous holiday seasons," says Daniel A. Baer, a partner at Ernst & Young. "People will still buy, especially given the strong emotions that motivate holiday shopping. But the real story will be where they shop and what they buy." He says supercentres and warehouse clubs are primed to win in this market.

Weyerhaeuser Profit Triples

Weyerhaeuser Co.’s third quarter profit nearly tripled on hefty gains from the sale of its packaging business. However, revenues tumbled 37 per cent and the timber and wood company faces a battered housing market. It posted third quarter net income of $280 million, including $461 million in gains from the packaging divestiture. A year earlier, net income totaled $101 million.

Kudlow Keynote Speaker

Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s Kudlow & Company, this year’s keynote speaker at PLMA’s ‘2008 Private Label Trade Show.’ With Wall Street, the economy, and personal financial issues continuing to dominate today’s headlines, Kudlow will discuss business and politics. International exhibitors from India, Brazil, and Taiwan will also be featured. It takes place November 16 to 18 in Chicago, IL. For more information, visit http://www.plma.com

Gardens Bloom At Festival

‘Canada Blooms – The Flower and Garden Festival’ will take place March 18 to 22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Toronto, ON. Discover six acres of gardens in full bloom and more than 100,000 square feet of green thumb shopping with more than 200 hours of seminars, workshops, and demonstrations. For more information, visit www.canadablooms.com

Show Celebrates Silver Anniversary

The Canadian Home Workshop Show is celebrating its silver anniversary from February 27 to March 1 at theInternational Centre in Mississauga, ON. The show will offer the latest in tools, power equipment, products, plans, and techniques for working with wood. Novices and seasoned do-it-yourselfers will also be able to enjoy professionally supervised interactive woodworking workshops. For further information, call (416) 281-3545 or visit www.canadianhomeworkshop.com/show

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October 30, 2008

Canadians Spend More On Renovations

Most Canadians planning renovations will spend less than $50,000 and indicate they plan to spend $10,801 on average – up about 10 per cent from $9,850 in 2007, says RBC's ‘5th Annual Renovation Survey.’ The survey also showed that 63 per cent of homeowners have renovated in the past two years and more are establishing a realistic reno budget. Seven-in-10 had a budget and half (53 per cent) stuck to it. Even those renovators that did go over budget have pulled back significantly. The average budget excess was 24 per cent in 2008 compared to 74 per cent overage in 2007 and 88 per cent in 2006.  

Martels Open Maniwaki Store

The Martel family recently opened it newly renovated store in Maniwaki, QC, featuring an additional 5,000 square feet. Established in the Outaouais region of Quebec in 1971, the store now has 14,000 square feet of retail space to enhance the shopping experience of its customers.

Owens Corning Net Sales Up

Owens Corning saw net sales of $1.6 billion in the third quarter, up 28 per cent from $1.3 billion in the year-ago period. It attributed the sales increase to a strong performance in the roofing and asphalt and composites businesses. However, the company reported a net loss of $810 million, compared with net earnings of $112 million in the third quarter of 2007.

Trex Income Positive

Trex had net income of $6.7 million for the third quarter, compared to a net loss of $41.2 million for the same period last year. Its net sales for the third quarter were $85.4 million, up 33 per cent from $64 million for the third quarter of 2007. Operational improvements and cost containment led to higher gross margins for the company.

Masco Income Down

Masco had income of $36 million, down 83 per cent from $206 million in the same period last year. Net sales were $2.5 billion, down 16 per cent from $3 billion for the third quarter of 2007. North American sales declined 18 per cent, and international sales declined six per cent. Its third quarter results were hurt by lower sales volume to the new home construction market and a decline in consumer spending for home improvement products.

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October 29, 2008

Wal-Mart Shifting To Emerging Markets

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is shifting more of its focus over the next five years to emerging markets such as Brazil and India. It is also building smaller stores overseas a move that will require less capital to move into new markets. International business accounted for 24 per cent of sales in its last fiscal year. Over the next five years, 53 per cent of the company's capital allocation will be devoted to emerging markets, with the remainder in mature markets. That compares with 67 per cent over the last five years that was devoted to mature businesses such as Britain and Canada.

Plumbing Sales Rebound

After what appeared to be a slowdown in August, September sales were up 9.8 per cent in September, compared to the same month last year, says the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating wholesalers' sales report for the month. Total product sales were $44.1 million. Year-to-date sales were up 1.8 per cent or $67.7 million to $3,743.7 billion.

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October 28, 2008

Canadian Tire Tests Groceries

Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. will test a range of grocery products in two Ontario stores. The products will range from bread and cereal to milk and frozen pizza. Canadian Tire is stepping into a low-margin and competitive field where grocers have been under pressure from Wal-Mart Canada Corp. However, food also brings customers – especially women – to stores more often, prompting them to buy other products while there.

Wal-Mart Scaling Back

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is scaling back the growth of its stores in the U.S. and focusing on remodeling existing locations. The company plans to open 191 stores in fiscal 2009 and from 142 to 157 stores in fiscal 2010. That compares to 218 stores opened in fiscal 2008.

Dollar Helps West Fraser

A weaker Canadian dollar helped West Fraser Timber Co. to a smaller third quarter loss. It lost $2 million on sales of $848 million in the quarter. That compared with a loss of $12 million on sales of $827 million a year earlier.

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October 24, 2008

Wal-Mart Recycling Polystyrene

Wal-Mart Canada has launched a polystyrene recycling program as part of its sustainability goal of producing zero waste. Grace Canada, a producer of specialty construction materials, will collect used expandable polystyrene packaging from eight Wal-Mart Canada locations and reuse it in the production of its fire-resistant commercial insulation product. Commonly referred to as Styrofoam, a trademarked brand of polystyrene thermal insulation material, polystyrene is a non-biodegradable plastic resin that takes hundreds of years to break down. Used commonly in product packaging, polystyrene has a high volume and low weight, which gives it a low scrap value.

Canadian Retail Sales Fall

Retail sales fell by 0.3 per cent in August to $35.9 billion, says Statistics Canada. Lower sales in the automotive sector more than offset higher sales in five of the seven other sectors of the retail trade industry. Excluding the entire automotive sector, retail sales in the other seven sectors combined rose by 0.4 per cent. On the whole, price changes had little effect as retail sales in volume terms also declined by 0.3 per cent in August. This was the third decrease in four months.

Black & Decker Earnings Down

The Black & Decker Corporation had net earnings for the third quarter of 2008 of $85.8 million, versus $104.6 million for the third quarter of 2007. Sales decreased four per cent for the quarter to $1.6 billion. Sales in the power tools and accessories segment decreased six per cent for the quarter and sales in the hardware and home improvement segment decreased 13 per cent for the quarter.

Wolseley Quits Louisiana

Wolseley Plc, the international distributor of plumbing equipment, will close 86 branches and exit the Louisiana market in the U.S. The move comes after its attempts to jettison the unit during the worst housing slump since World War II failed. It says the U.S. building materials market is suffering from oversupply and further declines in the housing market and a consumer recession extending into mid-2009 are anticipated.

Construction Market Slide To Continue

McGraw-Hill Construction’s ‘2009 Construction Outlook’ is forecasting a drop in overall U.S. construction starts for next year, as the tough funding environment continues, construction projects are deferred, and financial stress gradually eases. Against this backdrop, the level of construction starts in 2009 is expected to decline seven per cent to $515 billion, following a 12 per cent decline predicted for 2008. “The speed and scope of the events in September and October were startling,” says Robert A. Murray, vice-president of economic affairs, adding that “tighter lending standards are a major constraint for the construction industry.”

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October 23, 2008

Index Slips In September

The composite leading index dipped 0.2 per cent in September, after a 0.3 per cent gain in August capped a string of five consecutive increases, says Statistics Canada. Most of the reversal originated in a sharp drop in the stock market. Excluding it, the composite index would have been unchanged. Overall, five of the nine other components retreated, while one was unchanged.

RONA Provides Post-games Legacy

RONA inc. will be contributing building materials for the delivery of post-Olympic Games affordable housing units in six communities across British Columbia. An agreement between the province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) proposes to reconfigure modular housing from the Olympic and Paralympic Village in Whistler and relocate it as permanent affordable housing to six communities across the province: Chetwynd, Chilliwack, Enderby, Saanich, Sechelt, and Surrey. Up to 156 units of permanent affordable housing will be made available to people most in need after the close of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

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October 22, 2008

CertainTeed Expands Canadian Presence

Saint-Gobain, through its subsidiary CertainTeed Insulation Canada, Inc., will purchase Canadian fibreglass insulation manufacturer Ottawa Fibre. The acquisition includes fibreglass insulation manufacturing facilities in Ottawa and Tillsonburg, ON, and Redcliff, AB, as well as a ceiling tile plant in Ottawa, ON, giving the company a consistent, domestically-produced source of CertainTeed insulation products for Canadian customers.

Stagg And Templeman Joins TIM-BR MART

Stagg and Templeman Construction Limited has joined TIM-BR MART. Located in Wabush, NL, it was founded in 1986 in Bonavista, NL, as a construction company by Gordon Stagg, his son Mike, and his brother-in-law David Templeman. Working on various home renovation projects, the business grew and in 1989, it began dabbling in building supplies with siding and windows. Over the next 19 years, the family moved the operation (now headed by Gordon and Mike, having purchased David’s share) to its current locale just outside Labrador City, and built up its retail building materials offering to be 75 per cent of their business.

One In Four Exiting Businesses

One in four owners is considering exiting their business within the next five years, says an RBC study on business succession. However, only 23 per cent of the business owners surveyed who are considering exiting within five years have a succession plan in place.     There may be a number of reasons why business owners do not focus on succession planning. Some feel they just do not have the time; others may find it difficult to consider a time when they're not in charge while some may not know how to get started.

Kiosk Accelerates Self-Service Experience

NCR Corporation has launched its newest point-of-decision kiosk. The NCR SelfServ 60 helps businesses build customer loyalty by extending their brand with customizable design options.  It can draw more consumers to self-service by offering engaging transactions with greater speed, richer multimedia content, and advanced graphics.  And it is designed to deliver maximum availability to businesses – a critical component of a successful self-service strategy – with leading-edge remote diagnostic capabilities.

Trade Show Set For December

The ‘12th Annual Residential Construction and Renovation Trade Show’ will take place December 3 to 5 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, ON. It combines four shows – Construct Canada, PM Expo, DesignTrends, and Concrete Canada – and is held in conjunction with  ‘HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo.’ It features education seminars and more than 1,100 exhibits. This year’s theme is ‘Strategies and Solutions for Residential Green Building, Profitability and Project Management.’ For more information, visit http://www.homebuilderexpo.ca/

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October 21, 2008

Home Depot Launches Initiatives 

The Home Depot Canada has launched three in-store initiatives focusing on adding value, energy-savings, and small project know-how. The three initiatives were designed to not only help customers save money, but to also equip them with the skills and confidence needed to continue to take on small home improvement projects.

Liquidation World Finalizes Credit Facility

Liquidation World Inc. has finalized the arrangement of a $20 million asset-based lending facility with Royal Bank of Canada, with an option to increase this to $25 million with the bank's consent. The new long-term credit facility, which will be available for three years, replaces the current $20 million demand facility. Under the new arrangement, the benefits to Liquidation World will include a lower interest rate and flexible use of funds.

FloForm Inducted Into Partner Program

FloForm Countertops is the first Cambria fabricator business partner to be inducted into its ‘Lexus Partner Program.’ The partners enjoy unique benefits from Cambria, including a guaranteed market position through exclusive fabrication and distribution in their marketplace; and dedicated sales, marketing and training support. Cambria is sold to select fabricators across North America through a partnership model. FloForm is located in Winnipeg, MB; Edmonton and Calgary, AB; and Regina and Saskatoon, SK.

Ravas Now Senior Vice-president

Allen Ravas is senior vice-president and chief financial officer at Sears Canada Inc. He joined Sears Holdings in 1997 and has held senior roles in various finance portfolios including senior vice-president, finance, since 2005.

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October 20, 2008

Confidence Lowest In Quarter Century

Canadian consumer confidence fell in October to its lowest level in more than a quarter-century, says the Conference Board's Index of Consumer Confidence – October 2008. "The global credit crunch and major stock market declines clearly had an effect on consumer confidence in October," says Pedro Antunes, director, national and provincial forecast. After three consecutive months of increases, the index fell 11.9 points to 73.9 (2002=100). That is the lowest level since the third quarter of 1982, when the Canadian economy was mired in a recession. Respondents said it was not a good time to make a major purchase and their view about their current and future financial situations also deteriorated.  

Sears Opens Dealer Store

Sears Canada has opened a new dealer store in Carleton Place, ON, as part of its commitment to offering customers more service, selection, and convenience. The 4,000 square foot store is owned and operated by Joyce Murray. It houses a wide selection of major appliances, electronics, seasonal items, hardware, and lawn and garden products.

WD-40 Earnings Decline

Consumer products maker WD-40 Co. earnings dropped nearly 50 per cent during its fourth quarter due to higher costs for materials and deteriorating U.S. economic conditions. The company earned $4.7 million for the quarter, down from $9.3 million for the same quarter last year. Sales decreased 2.6 per cent, slipping to $76.9 million from $78.9 million.

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October 17, 2008

Small Businesses Staying The Course

Canadian small businesses are not taking drastic action to change their business plans or operations in the wake of the current economic turmoil, says a survey by American Express Canada. The findings show that 77 per cent of these business owners say they'll 'stay the course' with few changes planned in how they run their business. While they are not making major changes to their business, 66 per cent are feeling or expect to feel a negative impact from the current economic environment in the near term and 41 per cent are already feeling a negative impact. The survey findings reported that 60 per cent of business owners believe the Canadian economy will be affected but will 'avoid serious damage,' compared to 36 per cent of business owners who speculate that the Canadian economy will be 'dragged down into a recession or worse.'

Making Payroll Top Concern

Making payroll, suppliers' bills, and rising fuel costs are the top concerns faced by Canada’s small business owners, says a TD Canada Trust Small Business Survey. The survey found that more than one-quarter of respondents lose sleep worrying about cash flow while 16 per cent say rising fuel costs is their biggest concern. Despite concerns about cash flow, 2008 is proving to be a good year for small business owners. Nearly 25 per cent of owners graded their business' performance as an A or A+, indicating that they have had solid growth or their best year yet and 50 per cent gave their business a B grade, indicating that they did as well as they expected.

Earnings Down Despite Sales Increase

Sherwin-Williams Co.’s third quarter earnings fell despite a slight sales increase. The maker of its namesake brand and Dutch Boy paints and Thompson's Water Seal products earned $177.1 million, down from $200.3 million for the same period last year. Sales rose three per cent to $2.27 billion with half of the increase coming from seven acquisitions it made in the past year.

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October 16, 2008

Home Depot Opens Rural Market 

The Home Depot Canada is opening its first rural market store concept in Parry Sound, ON. The new store features a 45,000-square-foot interior with an additional 45,000-square-foot drive-through lumber and outdoor building supply area and 12,000-square-foot seasonal pop-up centre. The store is designed to have all indoor aisles leading to a central service desk located in the middle of the store, making it easy for customers to find the products and expert advice needed to make all their home improvement projects a success. The store also features more than 36,000 in-stock products.

U.S. Fencing Demand To Increase

U.S. demand for fencing is forecast to expand approximately two per cent per annum to 935 million linear feet in 2012, says ‘Fencing,’ a study from The Freedonia Group, Inc.Although this pace represents an improvement from the 2002-2007 period in terms of linear feet, a more moderate outlook for raw material prices will restrain value growth. A recovery in the residential fencing market, which accounts for over one-half of demand, will spark an acceleration in overall growth. The residential market had contracted as housing construction declined sharply in 2006 and 2007. Among fencing materials, demand for plastic and composite fencing is forecast to grow fastest as these products continue to penetrate the large residential fencing market at the expense of wood products.

Liquidation World Announces Revenue

Liquidation World Inc.’s revenue from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 (13 weeks) decreased 7.1 per cent to $43.2 million from $46.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2007 (14 weeks). Fourth quarter same store sales increased 0.5 per cent from prior year. Fiscal 2008 revenue from continuing operations (52 weeks to October 5, 2008) decreased 3.3 per cent to $182 million from $188.3 million during fiscal 2007 (53 weeks). Fiscal 2008 same store sales decreased 4.4 per cent from prior year.

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October 14, 2008

Char-Broil Returns To NHS

Char-Broil, LLC, a North American producer of gas grills, will return to exhibit on the show floor of the 2009 National Hardware Show May 5 to 7, 2009, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV, after a six-year absence. Char-Broil will be part of Lawn & Garden World. As well, it will also anchor the ‘Stay-cation Marketing Centre’ an outside feature area which will showcase hands-on testing and education covering grills, outdoor furnishings, accessories, storage, and coverings. For more information, visit http://www.nationalhardwareshow.com/

Fastenal Earnings Jump

Fastenal Co.’s third quarter earnings jumped 17 per cent despite a $10 million payout to settle a class action lawsuit with former employees. For the quarter ended Sept. 20, earnings rose to $72.9 million from $62.1 million. Sales also gained 17 per cent to $625 million, from $533.8 million in the third quarter of 2007.

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October 10, 2008

Home Depot Offers Sneak Peak
The Home Depot has offered a sneak peak of yet-to-be launched products for spring 2009. The media showcase, held at Toronto’s Distillery District, featured a wide range of indoor and outdoor products and tools. Power tools exclusive to Home Depot were on display such as Ryobi’s and Rigid’s new line of Lithium-Ion AutoShift drills and drivers that automatically downshift to match the torque of an application. Wall coverings and new paint colours were also on display, featuring more subtle and soothing tones for 2009.

Piggott Joins Can-Save

Mike Piggot is joining the sales force at Can-Save. He has 15 years experience in the industry and is well-known and respected by dealers around the province. He previously worked with Can-Save on the vendor side and, in 1996, he was awarded the Can-Save ‘Vendor of the Year Award.’

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October 8, 2008

Value Of Building Permits Falls

As a result of declines in both the residential and non-residential sectors, the value of building permits fell 13.5 per cent to $5.6 billion in August, a level similar to the one observed in March 2008, says Statistics Canada. On a year-to-date basis, permits were down 0.7 per cent from the same period last year. In the residential sector, the value of building permits declined by 9.3 per cent to $3.4 billion. This decline was mainly due to a 17.5 per cent drop in multi-family dwellings.

Builders’ Hardware Demand To Rise

Demand for builders’ hardware is expected to rise 2.1 per cent per year through 2012, says a Freedonia Group study. This growth would be higher than the annual gains of 1.2 per cent from 2002 to 2007. While sales are projected to reach $11.1 billion in 2012, low-price imports and declining metal prices will dampen overall values. Locks and other safety devices are expected to account for the largest share of the market.

Suzuki Speaks On Greening Cities

David Suzuki will join the Toronto Chapter of Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association in celebrating Landscape Ontario’s Environmental Awareness Day on November 20at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. He will discuss the green industry and its future impact on the environment. For more information, visit www.landscapeontario.com

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October 6, 2008

Price Pfister Unveils European-Inspired Line

Price Pfister’s new contemporary Avanti Collection blends European design elements with California individualism, creating an elegant solution for Canadians. Principally manufactured in Europe and only available to wholesalers, the collection features four new international families of products – Kenzo, Lago, Aria, and Isola. The Avanti concept represents an avant-garde, functional, energetic, sophisticated, fun, and memorable style. All of the new products feature the European valving system, which meets the strictest noise standards to ensure quiet and effective performance in multi-family or commercial settings.

TIM-BR Mart Increases Quebec Presence

TIM-BR Mart will establish a Montreal, QC, regional office and has hired a team to provide greater support to its Groupe Mat Plus dealers in Quebec. Daniel Rioux will be general manager, Quebec. His key function will be to ensure the Groupe Mat Plus dealers receive the primary benefit of being part of  the buying group by building relationships with key vendors and ensuring the dealers’ interests are well-represented during the company’s yearly negotiations. He will be joined by Josée Desrosiers, sales manager, along with Marcel Savoie and Mark Blouin, both dealer development managers.

Richelieu Acquires Acroma

Richelieu has closed its second acquisition this year by purchasing the principal net assets of Acroma Sales Ltd., a distributor of wood finishing products operating two centres in British Columbia. It will be integrated with Richelieu's Vancouver and Kelowna distribution centres. This acquisition enables it to expand its offering of finishing products in the Western Canadian market.

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October 3, 2008

BOMA Starts BESt Program

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada has unveiled its newly integrated green building certification program, BOMA BESt. BOMA BESt combines BOMA's Go Green and Go Green Plus initiatives. It includes four possible levels of certification, each of which requires full compliance with BOMA's Best Practices which address areas of environmental concern including energy and water management; emissions and effluents; waste reduction; the indoor environment; and environmental management systems. For more information, visit www.bomabest.com

Outsourcing Saves Time

To mark Small Business Week, ADP Canada has developed ‘Outsourcing for Small Business,’ a guide to help entrepreneurs learn the benefits of outsourcing and how to choose the right outsource provider. Processing payroll hours, calculating taxes and deductions, and distributing pay cheques are all time-consuming tasks that take valuable resources away from what a business does best. Recent research shows that outsourcing, for example, can save 30 per cent of the time required to manage payroll. Starting October 20, the guide will be available at www.adp.ca

RONA Reveals Eco Signage

RONA inc. has unveiled its new eco-responsible signage across all stores bearing the RONA banner. The new signage is designed to help consumers identify products that represent an eco-responsible choice. These products include more than 300 various brand name items, selected because they lessen the environmental impacts of one or several phases of their life cycle. The signage provides complete, unbiased information on the environmental characteristics of the different categories of eco-responsible products, outlining why items were selected.

Richelieu Earnings Increase

Richelieu had its 51st consecutive quarter of net earnings growth over the comparable periods of previous years. Third quarter net earnings grew by 5.8 per cent to $9.6 million, whereas sales totalled $111.8 million, remaining relatively stable compared with the same period of 2007. For the first nine months of the year, net earnings totalled $25.4 million, up 6.9 per cent, on sales of $322.7 million.

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September 30, 2008

Show Features Display Awards

The ‘2009 Canadian Home Improvement Show’ will take place February 5 and 6, 2009, at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto, ON. Hosted by the Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario, the event brings retailers in the Ontario home improvement sector together with national suppliers to source new products. This year’s event will feature the Canadian Home Improvement Merchandising Awards (CHIMA), an awards program for vendors and retailers who have produced creative in-store displays and merchandising concepts. For more information, visit http://www.canadianhomeimprovementshow.com/

Canadians Environmentally Conscious

While we're not seeing solar panels and windmills on front lawns yet, the majority of Canadians are environmentally conscious when purchasing a new home or renovating their home, says the second annual TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll. It found the biggest incentive for those Canadians willing to spend more on environmentally friendly features is the potential saving on future energy bills. Fifty-seven per cent of Canadians are willing to spend up to 10 per cent more on a home that includes environmentally friendly features. As well, almost all Canadians are making their current homes more environmentally friendly. The survey found that 91 per cent of people have made improvements or will be making improvements in the next 12 months.

Wal-Mart Japan Closes Stores

Wal-Mart’s Japan subsidiary, Seiyu Ltd., will close 20 stores as it attempts to revive its business amid falling spending by Japanese consumers. Seiyu is one of Japan's biggest chains, but has lost ground to rivals as it bears the costs of becoming a Wal-Mart unit. It will close 20 outlets that didn't fit well with the basic model for its stores, representing about five per cent of its 392 stores. It will also carry out reforms at 100 of its large stores to offer a wider range of products. Household spending in Japan is declining as inflation accelerates.

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September 29, 2008

BSIA Hands Out Awards

Cranbrook Building Centre, Cranbrook, BC; is the best in class retail store under 10,000 square feet in the Building Supply Industry Association of BC (BSIA) ‘ORION Awards.’ The awards are presented to firms and individuals that have shown themselves to be exemplary in all aspects of their relationship to the building supply industry. Other winners are: Best retail store between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet – Chase Home Hardware Building Centre, Chase, BC; Best in class retail store over 20,000 square feet – RONA Home Centre, Vernon, BC; Most Outstanding Outside Supplier Salesperson – Terry Franson, CWD Windows & Doors; Most Outstanding Inside Supplier Salesperson – Richard Tan, IRLY Distributors Ltd.; and Most Appreciated Supplier Company – IRLY Distributors Ltd., Surrey, BC.

In-Sink-Erator Appoints Regional Sales Manager

Jean Fobert is regional sales manager, Eastern Canada, for InSinkErator Canada. A professional in the plumbing industry with extensive experience in developing growth focused program for a variety of products, her area of responsibility will include Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces, where she will manage the sales agencies, develop customer relationships, and oversee all aspects of sales and service.

Red Green Only In Hardware Stores

3M Canada, maker of Scotch Duct Tape, will be the sole Canadian distributor for the biography book about Red Green creator and star, Steve Smith. Hardware store owners across the country can join a partnership opportunity to carry this item. To create nation-wide awareness, Smith will embark on a Canada-wide radio, television, and print media tour that will encourage Canadians to visit hardware stores to get their copy of ‘We’re All In This Together.’ A television commercial to drive sales for the book will position the book as ‘the only bestseller that’s not available anywhere but the hardware store.’

Forum To Focus On Business Of Technology

The 2009 Hardlines Technology Forum will be held April 19 to 22 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. The forum brings together IT, logistics, merchandising, executive, business, and finance professionals from the hardware/home improvement industry to discuss leading technology issues affecting the industry. The 2009 conference will offer unique elements such as ‘How To’ do business sessions with Lowe’s, Do it Best, and True Value and the Buyer Panel which assembles leading retailers and distributors who provide valuable insights into their future plans for ecommerce. For more information, visit www.ahma.org/htf

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September 25, 2008

Lowe’s Looks At Smaller Stores

Lowe's Cos. Inc. is scaling down the size of most new stores and eyeing even smaller locations in some rural areas as it tries to operate more efficient sites. Executives told investors at the company's annual meeting that new stores in medium and large markets will be about 103,000 square feet – roughly 19,000 square feet smaller than many of its locations today. The new format will help it cut capital outlay costs by almost $2 million per store. It is also testing a 66,000-square-foot store in rural North Carolina, featuring a trimmed-down selection of items and a drive-through lumberyard.

Home Show Eco-friendly

Canada’s largest fall home show returns to the International Centre, October 10 to 13 in Toronto, ON, with thousands of affordable and eco-friendly ways to improve the home. It will feature more than 400 exhibits including the environmentally friendly canühome exhibit presented by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The concept home, made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products and verified recycled sources, is an example of forward thinking design. For more information, visit http://www.internationalhomeshow.ca

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September 24, 2008

Mercier Adds Sales Representative

Fred Hack is sales representative for the Mid-Atlantic territory for Mercier Wood Flooring. He has 30 years experience in the hardwood flooring business, most recently with Mohawk.

Braunstein Appointed President 

Norman Braunstein is president of Dorel Industries Inc.'s home furnishings segment. He has played an increasingly important role within the segment since he joined the company in 2003. He has served as chief operating officer of Dorel Asia, as well as corporate vice-president COO of home furnishings.

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September 23, 2008

Sales Edge Up In July

Retail sales edged up 0.1 per cent to $36 billion in July, says Statistics Canada. A sales decline in the automotive sector was offset by higher sales in five of the seven other sectors. Once price variations for all goods and services sold by retailers are taken into account, retail sales in real terms remained virtually unchanged after decreasing the two previous months. Building and outdoor home supplies stores experienced a strong 1.2 per cent increase between June and July 2008, and sales were up 4.8 per cent compared to last July.

Home Fall Market Opens

Home Hardware Stores Limited’s ‘Fall Dealer Market’ has attracted more than 10,000 dealers and vendors. The markets “bring together our entire organization twice a year with a focus on helping our dealers grow their businesses," says Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO. "The exchange of ideas and ability to see and buy the latest products are extremely valuable to our dealers." Dealers from across Canada can preview new products for the spring/summer season, exchange ideas, and learn from one another. This year’s show features its Natura line of environmentally conscious products. Natura is its fastest growing product line and features fertilizers, herbicides, garden mulch/peat substitutes, and household cleaners among others.

Miele Revises Customer Experience  

Miele (Canada) Limited, a maker of state-of-the-art appliances, has unveiled a new business model that will dramatically shift the way the appliance manufacturer interacts with customers and retailers. Its Chartered Agent system focuses on providing the best possible customer experience by having the manufacturer directly support all customer interactions, from payment and delivery to installation and service. Jan Heck, president, says the model “brings us closer to our customers and ensures that Canadians receive consistent communication, quality service, and fair pricing from Miele directly.”

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September 19, 2008

Leading Index Rises In August

The composite leading index rose by 0.2 per cent in August after no change in July, says Statistics Canada. Overall, five of the 10 components expanded, while two were unchanged and three declined. Household demand has remained the most consistent source of growth in recent months. Sales of furniture and appliances grew steadily, helped by a steady housing market. Housing starts rebounded in August. Meanwhile, personal services have become the main prop to growth in services employment.  

Sears Opens Hamilton Store

Sears Canada Inc. has opened the doors to its new department store in Hamilton, ON. The 96,000 square foot store offers an easy-to-shop interior with wide aisles, clear and bright sight lines, colour-coded departments, and convenient shopping carts. 

Ontario Should Scrap Retail Sales Tax

Ontario should scrap its outdated retail sales tax (RST) and opt for a made-in-Ontario valued-added tax (VAT) to improve fairness, encourage investment, and reduce government and business costs, says a report for the C.D. Howe Institute. ‘Growth-Oriented Sales Tax Reform for Ontario: Replacing the Retail Sales Tax with a 7.5 Percent Value-Added Tax’ notes Ontario is one of five hold-out provinces with outdated RSTs. A 7.5 per cent Ontario VAT would substantially eliminate the sales tax burden on capital goods and exports, resulting in an increase in real personal income and labour productivity over the medium term.

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September 16, 2008

McNaughton’s Celebrates 60 Years

McNaughton’s is celebrating 60 years in the hardware industry in Newbury, ON. The family-run business spans three generations and has been a part of the Newbury community since 1948 when John Duncan McNaughton began the auto, farm, and general hardware wholesaler. It became a member of Home Hardware in 1980. The store’s ownership was eventually transferred to three of John’s sons – Ross, Danny and Robbie – who ran the store until his fourth son – Gary and his wife Susan – took ownership in 1988. The store remains a part of the McNaughton family today as Gary, Susan, and their two sons Mike and Monte remain dealer-owners. When Gary and Susan bought the business, they quickly began expanding and renovating the store from its original 5,000 square feet to today’s store that is more than 60,000 square feet.

Home Buyer Desires Changing

The  desires of home buyers in the U.S. are changing, says a J.D. Power and Associates Survey. The survey offers insight into what new home buyers expect in their new purchases, notably on the ‘green’ side of the market. It found that 28 per cent of new home buyers perceive that their home is environmentally friendly, but a vast majority of these home buyers 75 per cent say that their home builder did not identify the home as ‘green.’ The top green features that home buyers believe a new home should include are energy-efficient heating and air conditioning units, energy-saving appliances, energy-saving lighting, and temperature-controlling windows.

Sears Opens Meadow Lake Outlet

Sears Canada has opened a dealer store in Meadow Lake, SK. The 7,000 square foot store is owned and operated by Rhonda Maier. It houses a wide selection of products including seasonal items, hardware, and lawn and garden products including Sears exclusive brand Craftsman.

Task Launches 49 Products

Task Tools & Abrasives has launched 49 new cargo security products including towing tools, tie downs and accessories, and bungee cords. This is the second large new category launch for Task Tools this year, which forms part of its 40 years in business celebration. Some of its innovations include colour coding the towing tools and tie-downs by break strength making it easier for the user to quickly identify the correct product needed for the job.

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September 15, 2008

Loewen Shares Operation Strategies

To be a successful family business for more than 100 years – manufacturing 95 per cent in Canada – requires a clear vision and a distinct strategy, says Charles Loewen, chairman and CEO, Loewen Windows and Doors. At a University of Toronto Operations Strategy Speaker Series, Loewen shared his company’s focus on the higher-end market within a carefully crafted distribution channel, reliant on the architectural community, affluent buyers, and an exclusive set of independent dealers. With a strong focus on lean production, its main plant in rural Steinbach, MB, has allowed it to draw from a unique set of talent but accessing enough human capital is an ongoing problem.

PrimeSource Buys Compass

PrimeSource Building Products has purchased Compass International, a CA-based fastener supplier. Compass manufactures a variety of screws and other fasteners for drywall, sheet metal, decks, and other construction purposes. Its best known brands are Marker, Darts, Deckmart, and Tapmark. The acquisition allows PrimeSource to broaden its range of fasteners, which will be consolidated under the Pro-Twist name. PrimeSource has 37 distribution centres throughout the United States and Canada.

20-20 In Deal With Sears

20-20 Technologies Inc. has signed an agreement with Sears Holdings Management Corporation to provide all its Sears home improvement products' project consultants with licenses to use its kitchen and bath design software, 20-20 Design. This deployment of new licences will complement Sears' current use of 20- 20 Technologies' Virtual Planner tool on its Sears.com website, where online visitors and prospective customers can visualize kitchen and laundry room scenes virtually, adding appliances of their choice from the selected models Sears stores carry. Customers can then save their scenes and take their selections in-store where design professionals will help them complete their design and purchase.

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September 11, 2008

RONA Stops Sale Of Pesticides For Cosmetic Use

RONA inc. will stop selling synthetic pesticides for cosmetic use in all its stores across Canada beginning July 1, 2009. It began the withdrawal of synthetic pesticides from its stores four years ago and has since been providing consumers with ecologically responsible alternatives. As synthetic pesticides are taken off store shelves, RONA will continue to introduce alternatives and techniques to help consumers replace them.

Options Create Spa-Like Environment

Price Pfister has launched a lineup of handheld showers, designed to give consumers luxurious options for water delivery while enhancing the shower experience, to create a spa-like environment in their homes. The handheld showers can be installed as a primary shower outlet, with the handheld shower replacing a traditional showerhead, or as an addition to a traditional tub/shower or shower-only faucet. The handheld shower packages can be configured in either a slide bar or wall mount format, offering the option of running off a diverter valve or off of its own separate shower valve. This option allows customers and builders to customize the latest in style and finish to meet their needs.

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September 10, 2008

Housing Starts Rise In August  

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 211,000 units in August, up from 186,500 units in July, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose 15.2 per cent in August compared to July. Both urban multiples and singles moved higher, with an increase of 25.2 per cent for multiples to 114,700 units, and a two per cent increase for singles to 71,200 units. However, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts was down in every region except Ontario where housing starts jumped 81 per cent to 86,500.

Building Permit Activity Increases

After declining 5.3 per cent in June, the value of building permits increased 1.8 per cent to $6.4 billion in July, mainly as a result of multi-family dwelling permits in central Canada and industrial construction intentions in Saskatchewan, says Statistics Canada. In the residential sector, the value of building permits rose 2.7 per cent to $3.7 billion, mainly as a result of an increase in the value of multi-family dwelling permits in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. In the non-residential sector, the value of building permits edged up 0.6 per cent to $2.7 billion. An increase in industrial construction intentions more than offset declines in both commercial and institutional permits.

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September 8, 2008

Sears Unveils Napanee Dealer Store

Sears Canada has opened a dealer store in Napanee, ON, as part of its commitment to offering customers more service, selection, and convenience. The 3,000 square foot store is owned and operated by Cathy Lee. It will house a wide selection of major appliances, electronics, vacuums and sewing machines, fitness and seasonal items, hardware, and lawn and garden products including Sears exclusive brands Kenmore and Craftsman.

DEWALT Introduces Self-levelling Rotary Lasers

DEWALT has announced the launch of its new family of self-levelling rotary lasers.  The new lasers are ideal for trim carpenters, concrete workers, general contractors, deck builders, masons, and remodelers for applications including site levelling, excavation, post installation, concrete levelling, multi-level construction, block layout, benchmark and elevation levelling, and other interior and exterior applications.

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September 4, 2008

Mark’s Launching Anti-slip Footwear

Mark’s Work Wearhouse will launch a line of anti-slip footwear as part of its effort to improve safety in the workplace. Tarantula Anti-Slip footwear will arrive in its stores in October with product lines designed specifically for construction, manufacturing, and restaurant and hospitality workers. Lou Coslovich, buyer – industrial footwear, says the new line represents its efforts to raise safety standard as it has moved from slip-resistant products to anti-slip. The goal is to provide footwear which will prevent slips in hazardous work conditions such as floors that become slick with water, oil, or grease and in conditions that demand a superior grip on dry surfaces such as roofing or assembly line work.

Landscape Ontario Creating Recycling Program

Landscape Ontario is working to create the first nationwide post-consumer horticultural plastics recycling program in the world. A movement is underway to restrict plastic containers. To date, water bottles and plastic bags are the most visible targets in the discussion. Items that are targeted include plastic garden pots, trays, tags, irrigation pipes, and greenhouse poly. The partnership will include recycling companies, pot manufacturers, garden centres, nurseries, and growers. Pots, trays, and tags would be collected directly from consumers at centres right across Canada. The program will be featured at the association’s ‘Garden Expo,’ October 21 and 22 at the Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, ON. For more information, visit www.gardenexpo.ca

Sellick Expands S Series

Sellick Equipment Limited, of Harrow, ON, has expanded its S Series fork lift truck product line by adding a 16,000 pound capacity model. The S160-4 is a rough terrain forklift truck with full-time four wheel drive and four equal sized wheels. By steering both axles, the S160-4 has a tight turning radius. Standard features include frame leveling, tilt steering column with full instrumentation, light package, and back-up alarm. Options include full cab, air conditioning, side shift and fork positioning carriages, and a variety of lift heights and fork lengths.

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September 3, 2008

Home Depot Opening Third LEED Store

Pickering, ON, will soon be home to The Home Depot’s third LEED-registered store. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the point score used by the Canadian Green Building Council to help new and existing buildings become more environmentally friendly. The Home Depot has already built LEED-certified stores in Calgary, AB, and Bowmanville, ON. On average, a LEED-certified store saves 157,680 kW of energy annually, based on a 12-hour workday. Features include a reflector roof that bounces back the sun’s heat lowering air-conditioning demands.

Ace Tops Again In Customer Service

Ace Hardware has again received top honors for its customer service from Corporate Research International (CRI).  For the past 13 consecutive quarters, CRI has ranked Ace Hardware number one in the home improvement retail category based on the results of its ‘Real People Ratings’ consumer opinion survey. Ace has ranked at the top of its category since the survey began in April 2005.

Thriving In Changing Times Focus At NBMDA Convention

Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent and political columnist for Newsweek, will discuss the impact of the 2008 Presidential Election at the North American Building Material Distribution Association’s ‘2008 Annual Convention & Tabletop Business Session.’ Set for a week after the U.S. elections, it will bring together both distributors and manufactures to address the current economic challenges impacting the industry. It takes place November 12 to 13 at The Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center
in Washington, DC. For more information, visit http://www.nbmda.org/

Kingfisher Sells Italian Stores

Kingfisher will sell its Castorama Italy operation to Groupe Adeo, a French-based DIY chain. It will take over the 31 Castorama stores in Italy pending regulatory approval from the European Union. The first Castorama store was opened in Italy in 1988. Last year, the division reported $53 million in earnings on sales of $573 million. Adeo Group operates stores in France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Greece, and China.

Gift Show Attracts 22,000

The Spring 2009 Canadian Gift and Tableware Association (CGTA) ‘Gift Show’ will take place January 25 to January 29, 2009. With more than 1.3 million square feet of display space, it gives more than 22,000 qualified buyers a glimpse of the latest and greatest in giftware from more than 1,200 exhibitors from across Canada and around the world. It takes place in the Toronto International Centre and the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit http://www.cgta.org/

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