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 2, 2019

Connected Customers Have High Expectations

Fifty-one per cent of consumers are still willing to share personal data for a more personalized experience, says the 'Global Connected Consumer Index' by Selligent. For brands, this means a greater focus on delivering truly relevant, omnichannel experiences that bring value to consumers at the right moment, says Selligent. Connected consumers have high expectations. Almost all (96 per cent) expect brands to respond within 24 hours of a flagged issue, and 90 per cent also expect a resolution to come within 24 hours. Additionally, 71 per cent expect brands to have all the information about them during an escalated brand interaction, highlighting the need for a full 360-view of the customer. Omnichannel experiences reign with 64 per cent of consumers taking advantage of merging online and in-store shopping experiences for big ticket purchases, preferring to research online but go in-store to purchase. However, half of consumers still expect brands to assist and give recommendations in-store. Relevance is key, says Selligent, as 64 percent of consumers are aware that their online activity is being tracked but welcome proactive product recommendations based on previous purchases. Forty-seven per cent find it ‘nice/helpful’ when they’re served ads based on what they have asked their voice assistants.

Weston Forest Gets Business Excellence Award

Weston Forest is one of 32 recipients of the '2019-20 Canadian Business Excellence Awards for Private Businesses.' This is the fourth year for these awards, and the third consecutive year Weston has received this honour. Excellence Canada recognizes organizations that continually improve performance; are innovative, competitive, and customer focused; are healthy, inclusive, and sustainable; and that are economically, socially, and environmentally responsible. In addition, Weston Forest has been recognized as one of 'Canada’s Best Managed Companies' since 2014, ranked for five consecutive years on the 'Growth 500' list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies, and is recognized by Waterstone Human Capital as one of Canada’s 'Most Admired Corporate Cultures.'

Lowe's Canada Supports Quebec Hospital Campaign

Lowe's Canada is supporting the Fondation Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne's 2017-2021 major campaign with a $150,000 donation over five years. This amount will be used to finance four large-scale projects that will allow the hospital to enhance the quality and quantity of care offered to some 1.5 million residents in the Montérégie, QC, region. As well, for the second consecutive year, the retailer participated in the foundation's annual sports challenge and fundraising event (Défi des générations contre le cancer) benefiting the Centre intégré de cancérologie de la Montérégie, which offers cancer care and services in the hospital. In addition to financially contributing to the event, Lowe's Canada was represented by a team of runners, of varying levels, who took part in different courses starting at Poly-Aréna park in Brossard. As part of its partnership with the Foundation, the retailer has also been presenting the Foundation's annual spring charity ball, the Bal des 1001 Nuits, for the past two years.

Built Green Canada Launches Renovation Pilot

Built Green Canada has launched its 'High Density Renovation Program' pilot and is encouraging trials during this phase. Four projects are already enrolled in this program in Calgary and Edmonton, AB. As Canadians and all orders of government are increasingly focused on climate mitigation, there is huge opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen the economy through energy-efficient retrofits of older homes and buildings in Canada. To qualify for the program, substantial upgrades/retrofits must be made to the energy-related building systems, including the building envelope and the mechanical and electrical systems. The energy performance of the building’s upgrades and retrofits are then compared to the requirements of the current energy standard or energy code used for modelling to show energy savings resulting from the renovation. Beyond efficiency, the renovations must be sustainable.

Walmart Opens Supply Chain Training Academy

The Walmart distribution centre in Sanger, TX, is home to Walmart's first 'Supply Chain Academy,' created specifically to train the retailer’s supply chain associates and provide them with a clear path to advancement. The retailer celebrated the first graduating class of this academy during a ceremony on September 27. The academy is patterned after the 200 Walmart academies that train all store associates around the U.S. All academies follow the retailer’s belief that growing and succeeding as associates and as a company in today’s changing world requires new skills and the ability to meet the needs of customers who have more shopping choices than ever before. The training facilities all have a dedicated staff who provide training to position associates to succeed in their current roles and provide a path for career growth with the company. The Sanger academy’s area of study will include leadership, safety, supply chain foundations, and area-specific training. Walmart plans to expand the academy program to more distribution centres across the country over the next two years. Each Supply Chain Academy will serve about 15 distribution centres.

Home And Garden Businesses Small But Thriving

U.S. home and garden businesses tend to be smaller than other companies, single location, and have better credit compared to other businesses, says research from data marketing company Infogroup. The research says about 96 per cent of home and garden businesses are single location while that's true of just 84 per cent of all other businesses. As well, 95 per cent of home and garden businesses have good-to-excellent credit ‒ as compared to just 83 per cent of all other businesses. Eighty-six per cent have fewer than nine employees, as compared to 76 per cent of other businesses.


October 1, 2019

Canadian Retail Sales Growth Struggles

After showing some signs of life earlier in the year, overall Canadian retail sales growth has stumbled once again, says Ed Strapagiel, a retail consultant. For the three months ending July, retail sales gained just 0.9 per cent year-over-year on a not seasonally adjusted basis, which is among the lowest such gains in a decade. After seven months of 2019, year-to-date sales are up only 1.8 per cent compared to last year which itself was a low ebb. The three-month sales growth trend has now weakened for three straight months. The underlying 12-month trend is at a new low and it's difficult to see how it might strengthen very much by the end of the year. While 2018 was not a good year for Canadian retail, 2019 could be even worse. eCommerce sales, which represented about 3.2 per cent of total Canadian retail sales for the 12 months ending July, were up 29.7 per cent year-over-year for the three months ending July. This was much higher than for location-based retail which gained just 0.9 per cent.


Fraser Valley Opens Two B.C. Stores

Fraser Valley Building Supplies in West Kootenays, BC, had its grand opening over the weekend. The RONA store is part of Lowe’s Canada's affiliate network. Fraser Valley acquired the store earlier this year and converted it, along with its other West Kootenays store, to the RONA banner. To mark the grand opening of both stores, Fraser Valley Building Supplies held a traditional board cutting ceremonies in the presence of customers and local dignitaries. Under the RONA banner, the stores now have an enhanced offering, including a selection of appliances and CRAFTSMAN tools. They also offer financing programs. Together, the two stores feature approximately 35,000 square feet of retail sales area as well as five acres of lumberyard. They offer roughly 30,000 products in-store and online.


Remote Payments To Increase 53 Per Cent To 2024

The total transaction value of remote payments for digital and physical goods will exceed $5 trillion by 2024, representing a growth of 53 per cent from 2019, says a report from Juniper Research. The average online customer spend will exceed $1,000 globally per annum by 2024. Online sales will be dominated by physical goods, forecast to account for almost 80 per cent of online retail purchases. Remote payments will be driven by purchases made via mobile devices, with the number of smartphone buyers increasing by nearly 60 per cent between 2019 and 2024. Consequently, just 21 per cent of purchases will be made using PCs, laptops, and connected TVs globally by 2024. As well, Juniper Research assessed the digital strategies of 25 leading bricks-and-mortar retailers according to their levels of agility and innovation. The Home Depot ranked first, owing to its proactive eCommerce strategies and engagement with new technologies, such as augmented reality and analytics, to improve online consumer experiences. The Home Depot’s retail services are built on an omnichannel strategy; offering customers a comprehensive network of physical stores alongside robust online shopping experiences. Analytics is leveraged to adapt to evolving customer behaviours and AR technology to enable customers to visualize virtual products in the real world via their smartphones.


Multi-family Segment To Drive Residential IoT Sales

Global annual revenue from multi-family internet of things (IoT) device sales is expected to increase from $5.2 billion in 2019 to $35.6 billion in 2028, says a report from Navigant Research. While single-family homes are likely to remain the key market for residential IoT, the multi-family segment is expected to gain a significant share of revenue in coming years. Builders and property managers are becoming more aware of the benefits of building-wide smart home technology and stakeholders are starting to realize the largely untapped opportunity this market has to offer. Given the complexity of managing multi-unit buildings, residential IoT can be a gateway to streamline processes in multi-family dwellings, save time and money, and generate additional revenue through rent and increased property valuation.


September 30, 2019

Brick-and-mortar Remains Relevant

Despite widespread retail innovation and disruption, traditional brick-and-mortar retail shopping remains relevant, says research from Blackhawk Network. And, although digital growth in retail continues, traditional modes of shopping and payments such as in-store purchasing and cash maintain a strong foothold in U.S. retail consumer behaviour. Consumers (63 per cent) are purchasing at retail stores as often, if not more often, than they did last year. Twenty-eight per cent say they are using retail stores more frequently, compared to only nine per cent who say they use retail stores less often. Seventy-six per cent of consumers say convenience is their top motivation for shopping in-store. Fifty-six per cent cite speed of purchase as a top motivator. In addition, in-store shopping provides the highest satisfaction out of all purchasing options. Ninety-two per cent of shoppers say they are somewhat or very satisfied with the in-store shopping experience, more than other purchasing options. Physical retail stores also see a significant amount of repeat use, driven largely by the buying power of loyal, older generations. Eighty-two per cent of Baby Boomers say they purchase from retail stores at least monthly.


Miller's Ace Is Open For Business

Exeter, ON, hardware store, Miller's Ace Country & Garden Store, has opened its doors. Entrepreneurs Doug and Barry Eidt have invested $25,000 to convert the store, which they acquired in the spring, to the Ace banner, an affiliate network of Lowe's Canada. At the grand opening over the weekend, the owners, their team, local dignitaries, and residents were on hand to perform the board cutting ceremony. The upgraded 5,000-square-foot store now offers more products and services, include a selection of CRAFTSMAN tools. Customers are also able to take advantage of the Ace website and its 'Click & Collect' service.


Calm Inspires Beauti-Tone Colour For 2020

'Honey I'm Home' is the colour of the year for 2020 from Beauti-Tone Paint, a division of Home Hardware Stores Limited. The colour, from the Simon Chang 2019/20 Trend Colour Collection, is described as reminiscent of sweet honey or liquid amber for walls. “Canadians are craving calm,” says Bev Bell, creative director, Beauti-Tone Paint and Home Products Division. “When we walk through our front door we want to leave stress and trouble outside. 'Honey I’m Home' is like a great, big warm hug. It’s that sweet colour that we can simply melt into.”


Katerra Opens CLT Factory

Technology company Katerra has opened a high-volume cross-laminated timber (CLT) factory in Spokane Valley, WA. The 270,000-square-foot facility will significantly increase supplies of CLT, a fully renewable structural building material that sequesters carbon for a building’s life and can be used in place of steel and concrete in buildings. CLT is a pre-fabricated, engineered wood panel with often superior building, aesthetic, environmental, and cost attributes. The facility reflects the company’s technology-first approach, incorporating advanced geometric and biometric scanning of lamstock, an on-site kiln for precise moisture control, and artificial intelligence to further improve safety and reduce waste. The factory also features the largest CLT press currently in operation globally, says the company.


September 27, 2019

GTA August New Home Market Quiet

It was a typically quiet August in the Greater Toronto, ON, Area (GTA) new home market this year with 1,400 new home sales, says the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). This was up 19 per cent from August 2018, but still 23 per cent below the 10-year average. Condominium apartments in low-, medium-, and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses, and loft units accounted for 961 new home sales, down four per cent from August 2018 and down 12 per cent from the 10-year average. This was the first month since March that new condo apartment sales didn’t exceed their 2018 level. Single-family home sales, with 439 detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were up 143 per cent from last August, but still down 39 per cent from the 10-year average. As well, there was a decrease in inventory compared to the previous month, to 16,529 units.


Report Debunks Retail Myths

Overleverage and the U.S. being 'over-retailed' are the reasons behind retail bankruptcies, not changes in consumer spending, says a report from CCIM Institute and the University of Alabama. "With total retail sales increasing at an average annual rate in excess of 4.35 per cent, this is a story of how retail will continue to grow and evolve, fueled by eCommerce, technology, logistics, and innovation,” says K.C. Conway, chief economist with CCIM Institute. The report, 'Retail e-Volution: Predictions for 2025,' says providing experiences and services will redefine brick-and-mortar success with hotels becoming the new showrooms for retail. Retail will also benefit from the 'halo effect' whereby online sales result in brick-and-mortar sales and vice versa. As well, to make delivery/last-mile fulfillment more cost effective, changes are needed in infrastructure and logistics, combined with innovation like autonomous trucks and new warehouse designs. The most impactful trend for retail in the U.S. between now and 2025 will be adaptive reuse of retail centres and malls, says the report.


Conservatives, Liberals Offer Green Retrofit Plans

Both the federal Conservative and Liberal parties have promised measures for green conscious homeowners to retrofit their homes. Andrew Scheer, Conservative leader, announced a tax credit for green home renovations where homeowners can receive a 20 per cent refundable income tax credit for green improvements between $1,000 and $20,000 up to a maximum benefit of $3,8000 per year. Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader, announced plans to provide interest-free loans up to $40,000 to homeowners and landlords who want to make their buildings more energy efficient. Trudeau also plans to help people buy newly-build zero-emission homes by providing a grant of up to $5,000.


Klein Tools Launches Crimper/Cutter

Klein Tools has launched its Forged Wire Crimper with Stripper/Cutter, combining the most commonly used wire stripping sizes with a dedicated crimper and two cutters into one tool. The 2005N is manufactured from Klein Tools’ U.S.-made proprietary steel. It is a multipurpose tool that includes a dedicated crimper with a wire stripper and two cutters that can strip 10-18 AWG stranded wire and crimp 10-22 AWG insulated and non-insulated terminals and connectors. It has a specially hardened wire cutter in the nose and a shear cutter below the rivet that can cut copper wire. Textured grips provide enhanced dexterity.


Ettinger Named Hardware Buyer

Shawn Ettinger is hardware buyer with TIMBER MART. His categories include tools, décor, plumbing, imported goods, electrical, builder’s hardware, and seasonal products. He has more than 30 years of experience.


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