Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


October 11, 2019

MasonLift Creates Crane Dealer Network With Atlas Polar

MasonLift Ltd., a British Columbia-based forklift sales and service provider, has partnered with Atlas Polar Company Ltd., a truck-mounted sales and service provider based in Ontario, to create an authorized sales and service dealer network for HIAB cranes, Moffett forklifts, and Multilift Hooklifts in British Columbia. ML-Truck Equipment Ltd., will launch December 11. The company will be based in Abbotsford, BC, and supported by MasonLift service locations across the province. MasonLift will continue to provide sales, rentals, and certified, factory-trained service to forklift customers in British Columbia through its 10 service centres and will provide the certified service for HIAB brands. ML-Truck-Equipment will specialize in truck-mounted equipment and will be the sole authorized dealer for HIAB, Moffett, and Multilift in British Columbia.

Consumers Continue To Favour Physical Stores For Holiday Shopping

ICSC forecasts a 4.9 per cent increase in U.S. holiday spending over last year, with 90 per cent of shoppers spending in physical stores, says a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The annual ‘Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey’ says that consumers are optimistic about the upcoming holiday season and continue to favour physical stores when shopping for gifts. “Consumers expect convenience and experience when shopping which means that those retailers with a good omnichannel strategy will likely see success this holiday season,” says Tom McGee, president and chief executive officer of ICSC. The majority of holiday shopping will take place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. In fact, 86 per cent of shoppers plan to complete their shopping during that time period. Additionally, almost 60 per cent of holiday shoppers plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend with that number jumping to 73 per cent for Millennial shoppers. Again this year, promotions will drive in-store visits, with over 60 per cent of shoppers saying that searching for deals encourages them to make more trips to physical stores.

2019 U.S. Holiday Sales To Beat 2018

The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects U.S. holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8 per cent and 4.2 per cent over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, compare with an average holiday sales increase of 3.7 per cent over the previous five years. NRF expects online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 11 per cent and 14 per cent to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion, up from $146.5 billion last year. The effect of tariffs on holiday spending – either directly or through consumer confidence – remains to be seen. Some holiday merchandise – including apparel, footwear, and televisions – is subject to new tariffs that took effect September 1, and other products will have the tariffs applied on December 15. Retailers are using a myriad of mitigation tactics to limit the impact on consumers and the impact will ultimately vary by company and product. Small businesses, in particular, have already been forced to raise prices. Nonetheless, 79 per cent of consumers surveyed for NRF in September were concerned that tariffs will cause prices to rise, potentially affecting their approach to shopping.

WernerCo Relocates U.S. Headquarters

Fall protection equipment, storage systems, and light duty construction equipment manufacturer and distributor WernerCo has moved its U.S. headquarters from Greenville, PA, to Itasca, IL. The move will accommodate for future growth of its portfolio of global brands including Werner Ladder, KNAACK, and WEATHER GUARD. The company is bringing together cross-functional executive team members, corporate staff, and leadership from engineering, product development, and marketing to the new location. The company says with the move, it will be well-positioned to accommodate future growth. WernerCo has more than 5,000 employees and a global manufacturing footprint with 14 sites including warehousing, sales, distribution, and office facilities in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Hungary, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam, Germany, and the UK.

‘Pacific Wave’ Owen Corning’s 2020 Shingle Colour

‘Pacific Wave,’ a calming and serene yet strong and powerful blue colour, is the ‘2020 Shingle Colour of the Year,’ says Owens Corning. The colour is part of the company’s TruDefinition Duration Designer Colours Collection. The proprietary shingle collection integrates unique combinations of saturated colours for a rich, high-contrast dimensional effect bringing depth and style to the home’s roof. The 2020 colour was inspired by the deep, powerful, and constantly shifting hues of the ocean. Pale blue mixed with dark and light gray granules add dimension that can achieve a relaxed, coastal vibe or a strong, stately look. To celebrate the announcement, Owens Corning Roofing has added three new style boards featuring Pacific Wave as the central design element.

Howald Directs Investor Relations

Aaron Howald is director, investor relations, with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP). Previously, he served as senior manager of the Thomas Group, a management consulting firm.

October 10, 2019

September Housing Starts Trend Higher

The trend in housing starts was 223,507 units in September, compared to 218,782 units in August, says the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. Higher trending single-detached starts in urban centres since July, following several months of declines combined with higher-trending multi-family units in September, pushed the total starts trend to its highest level since April 2018. Starts trended higher in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Vancouver, BC; Edmonton, AB; Saskatoon, SK; Kingston, Toronto, and Ottawa, ON; Quebec City and Trois-Rivières, QC; and the province of New Brunswick. The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 221,202 units in September, down 2.5 per cent from 226,871 units in August. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 2.4 per cent to 208,503 units, multiple urban starts decreased slightly by 0.2 per cent to 159,742 units, and single-detached urban starts decreased by 9.2 per cent to 48,761 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,699 units.

Canadian Tire To Take On Dragons’ Den Products

Canadian Tire is surprising two Dragons' Den entrepreneurs with the chance of a lifetime, it will be fast-tracking their products into all of its stores nationwide. The retailer, which sponsors the program, says this is an opportunity that presents a unique challenge for a small business owner. Normally, getting a product on Canadian Tire shelves takes a year and that's after it meets the retailer's criteria and undergoes considerable scrutiny. The product, or suite of products, must meet a unique Canadian need or be an improvement upon something that is already available, says Greg Hicks, president of retail at Canadian Tire. As well, the product must complement the other merchandise in the stores at the time of year it is stocked. Going forward, the retailer plans to refine the process to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get products into its stores.

Home Improvement Projects Worth Cost And Time

Homeowners who decide to undergo a home improvement project, whether it be interior or exterior modifications, often find that the task was worth the investment and time, says a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) with insights from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). After completing a remodeling project, 74 per cent of U.S. homeowners have a greater desire to be in their home, 65 per cent say they experience increased enjoyment, and 77 per cent feel a major sense of accomplishment, says the survey. Additionally, 58 per cent report a feeling of happiness when they see their completed projects, while 38 per cent say they have a feeling of satisfaction. The most satisfying projects to complete are kitchen and closet renovations, followed closely by a full interior paint job, a new fibreglass front door, and new vinyl windows. The top projects for recovering cost are new roofing, hardwood floor refinishing, and new hardwood floor installation.

LP Invests In Prefinishing Capabilities

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) has acquired the prefinishing assets at an Illinois prefinish facility owned by BlueLinx. “The prefinish siding market continues to grow and we aim to capture more of that growth in our siding business,” says Neil Sherman, executive vice-president for siding at LP. “In addition to acquiring these new assets, we are also investing in building LP SmartSide strand prefinishing capabilities at our siding facility in Roaring River, NC. These moves, along with the earlier purchase of a prefinishing company in Green Bay, WI, will provide us with the facilities, capabilities, and expertise to grow this market.” The acquisition aligns with LP’s business strategy to provide building solutions and is a significant step toward its goal of launching a national LP SmartSide Trim & Siding branded prefinished siding solution.

Upspring PR Named Ethan Allen AOR

UpSpring PR has been named the agency of record (AOR) for home furnishing retailer and manufacturer Ethan Allen. Ethan Allen is also an interior design company and sells a full range of indoor and outdoor furniture products, flooring, lighting, and decorative accessories nationally through, regionally at Ethan Allen stores throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, and a network of roughly 300 design centres throughout North America. UpSpring PR is a public relations firm for the design, architecture, and real estate industries.

One-piece Header/Jam Reduces Labour

Bailey Metal Products Inc.’s RedHeader PRO is a one-piece header and jamb for window and door openings that replaces conventional boxed headers and built-up jambs which require multiple studs, tracks, and screws and need assembly. It reduces labour by reducing the number of wall framing components required and uses only four screws with pre-punched screw holes to install. It can be used for exterior wall headers and jambs and interior non-load bearing headers and jambs.

Tritton To Lead BB&B

Mark J. Tritton is president and chief executive officer at Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., effective November 4. He has more than 30 years of experience in the retail industry, most recently as executive vice-president and chief merchandising officer at Target Corporation.

October 9, 2019

Building Permit Value Rises

The value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities rose 6.1 per cent to $9 billion in August, largely because of increases in multi-family and industrial permits, says Statistics Canada. Gains were reported in seven provinces, with over one-third of the national increase in Quebec. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings rose in every province, except Nova Scotia, increasing 18.8 per cent to $3.3 billion in August. Over half of these gains were in British Columbia, largely because of a high-value permit in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Vancouver. The value of permits for single-family dwellings rose 3.2 per cent to $2.4 billion nationally, led by Ontario. Industrial permits were the only component in the non-residential sector to increase in value, rising 18.9 per cent to $675 million. The increase was largely due to a high-value permit for a bio-pharmaceutical company in Toronto. The value of commercial permits declined 5.9 per cent to $1.9 billion, following gains in July. Quebec showed some strength in the commercial component ($73 million) despite the national decrease.

September Dodge Momentum Index Posts Gain

The Dodge Momentum Index moved 4.1 per cent higher in September to 143.6 from the revised August reading of 137.9. The index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for non-residential U.S. building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. The gain in September was due entirely to an 8.9 per cent increase in the commercial component, while the institutional component fell 4.8 per cent. For the third quarter, the overall index averaged 140.1, a scant increase of 0.7 per cent from its average in the previous quarter. Compared to the third quarter of 2018, however, it is 8.6 per cent lower with the commercial component 3.7 per cent lower than a year ago and the institutional component down 16.2 per cent. While the dollar volume of projects in planning is certainly lower than it was a year ago, the index has moved more sideways than downward over the last two quarters. Campaign Supports Cancer Society

Cash back website has launched a charitable event, 'Shop For The Cure,' a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) taking place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. When shopping on the site with one of 70 retail partners, customers can donate their cash back rewards to the CCS. As well, is donating all earnings to the CCS during the campaign. Exclusive bonus offers and savings for members will also be offered throughout the month by other major brands and retailers such as Houzz, Canadian Tire, Wayfair, Vistaprint, FTD, and more. The option to donate some or all of the cash back earnings is now available all year.

Epicor Acquires 1 EDI Source

Epicor Software Corporation has acquired 1 EDI Source, Inc., a provider of electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions and business visibility software. 1 EDI Source has over 30 years of experience providing EDI software solutions to automate and integrate B2B transactions. It offers cloud and on-premise solutions that enable the delivery of secure and EDI-compliant transactional documents between trading partners directly to ERP systems and supply-chain applications. The addition of 1 EDI Source to the Epicor product portfolio provides a single comprehensive EDI platform delivered either as a standalone offering or a fully managed service, allowing customers the flexibility to choose the best option to fit their business needs.

October 8, 2019

International Consumers Want Canadian Brands

There is an opportunity for retailers in overseas markets to capitalize on increased consumer demand for Canadian brands and products and increase sales. While 71.5 per cent of Canadian exports went to the U.S. in 2018, consumer demands are increasingly coming from elsewhere, says a report by PwC Canada. "Consumers in overseas markets aren't necessarily familiar with Canadian companies. If a brand isn't doing enough to identify themselves as Canadian, a customer might recognize a brand name without realizing it's Canadian," says Anita McOuat, Canada national leader, technology, media and telecom (TMT) and consumer markets with PwC. "The positive traits associated with being Canadian like trustworthiness, reliability, and quality have created a halo effect for Canadian goods. That's an easy shorthand for brands entering into new markets." More than ever before, people are becoming familiar with Canada via digital channels. Two-thirds of consumers in overseas countries were at least generally aware of Canadian products and awareness tended to be significantly higher among younger generations who are more active on digital channels. At the top of the product categories, 89 per cent believe Canadian furniture and home goods to be of the same or better quality.

Signify Canada Partners With King Marketing

Signify Canada (formerly Philips Lighting) has appointed King Marketing as its sales agent for, among other Signify brands, the Philips and Philips Hue brands of lightbulbs at independent dealer accounts across Canada. Signify is a manufacturer of lighting for professionals, consumers, and the Internet of Things.

Masco Finds Buyer For Window Business

Masco Corporation has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Milgard Windows and Doors to MI Windows and Doors. The closing of the sale is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2019.

RBC Rolls Out Mobile Banking Enhancements

To help small business owners save time and manage administrative challenges, RBC has introduced a suite of mobile banking enhancements to help business owners gain financial insights and manage their business anywhere, anytime. The enhancements include Financial Snapshot, a dashboard that summarizes the business owner's current cash position in a simple view upon logging into the RBC mobile app. Owners also have access to an easier way to get paid with access to Interac eTransfer payment requests directly from the dashboard and get reminders on the top outstanding payment requests to simplify the customer follow-up process. As well, NOMI Insights generates financial insights by analyzing an owner's business spending and savings activity. The mobile app is available through RBC's online business banking channel or the RBC Offers portal.

EAB Names Vancouver Representatives

Brent Ewen is territory manager for Greater Vancouver, BC, with EAB Exchange-A-Blade. He was previously with SeeSaw Marketing, where he worked as a distributor for EAB in the Okanagan Valley and the interior of B.C. Marty Donaldson is also territory manager for Greater Vancouver, sharing responsibilities for the market with Ewen. He was previously with Griff Building Supplies.

Costco Sales Up Seven Per Cent

Costco Wholesale Corporation had net sales of $46.45 billion for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2019 year, an increase of seven per cent compared to net sales of $43.41 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018. Sales for Canadian operations increased 2.6 per cent and U.S. operations increased 6.2 per cent year-over-year. eCommerce sales increased 19.8 per cent. Net income for the quarter was $1,097 million compared to $1,043 million in the year-ago period.

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