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News

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.


ShopperArmy.ca Campaign Supports Cancer Society

Cash back website ShopperArmy.ca 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, ShopperArmy.ca is donating all earnings to the CCS during the campaign. Exclusive bonus offers and savings for ShopperArmy.ca 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.


October 7, 2019

Lifestyle Trends To Drive Outdoor Storage Market

The outdoor storage products market in the U.S. will total $1.6 billion in 2023, says a report from the Freedonia Group. Helping to support sales of these products will be the trend of outdoor living. Homeowners continue to install indoor style living spaces such as kitchens and living rooms in their backyards and surrounding outdoor spaces. As well, an active lifestyle is driving the category. Consumers are increasingly participating in – and acquiring the necessary equipment and gear for – a number of outdoor activities such as backpacking, hiking, and kayaking. If basements, attics, and garages become too full to hold these items, sheds can provide the necessary storage space. As well, gardening remains a popular pastime among homeowners in the U.S. Participation is expected to increase as the large Millennial cohort ages into its prime home-buying years. Outdoor storage will become necessary as these new homeowners begin to purchase lawn and garden equipment to maintain their outdoor spaces.


Lee Valley To Launch Upgraded Website

Lee Valley will launch an upgraded website this month. The project is the result of a multi-year project that involved shooting 70,000 product images and editing 8,000 product descriptions (in two languages), in addition to deploying a state-of-the-art suite of software tools – all necessary to ensure that the site performs well across a broad spectrum of devices and browsers, says Robin Lee, president and CEO. "This first release of our new design shares many of the functions and features of the existing website, with a number of enhancements. Under the hood, we have structured the new site for future advanced functionality that we will roll out periodically as we gain experience." He says that while some of the changes are significant, the retailer has not changed its product offering and service.


Prud’homme To Retire From Lowe’s Canada

Sylvain Prud’homme, president of Lowe’s Canada, will retire from the company. Pending his permanent replacement, Tony Cioffi, executive vice-president, finance, real estate, and dealers, will act as interim president. In a press release, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. chief executive officer, Marvin Ellison, thanked Prud’homme for his dedication throughout the years. “Sylvain led the company through several phases of its growth and showed great leadership along the way. We remain confident in the long-term potential of our Canadian business and count on Tony and the entire Canadian team to continue serving our customers with the same focus and engagement.”


Specialty Products Negatively Impact RPM Sales

RPM International Inc. had net sales of $1.47 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2020, an increase over net sales of $1.46 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Net income for the quarter was $106.2 million, up 52.2 per cent over net income of $69.8 million in the year-ago period. Income before income taxes was up 55.4 per cent to $142.8 million compared to $91.9 million last year while EBIT was up 45.5 per cent to $165.8 million year-over-year. The construction products group net sales increased 3.6 per cent to $536.1 million year-over-year; the performance coatings group segment net sales increased 0.4 per cent to $297.2 million; the consumer group net sales had a slight increase to $479.3 million from $477.4 million last year; and the specialty products group had net sales $160.1 million compared to $168.7 million last year.


October 4, 2019

Gen Z Influencing Parent Buying Decisions

Members of Generation Z influence a significant amount of household purchases and enjoy spending their own money, says the latest issue of the 'Consumer View' report by the National Retail Federation (NRF). “We’re seeing a shift in the way families shop where children are much more involved with purchasing decisions,” says Mark Mathews, vice-president for research development and industry analysis. Eighty per cent of parents say their children influence at least some aspect of their purchases, either for household items or for themselves. And, while Gen Zers might not always expect to be involved in family purchase decisions, their parents find it important to include them. The most common time parents involve their children is at the front end of a purchase – when researching features and product reviews and when price checking or looking up product availability. The report also found that Gen Zers influence different aspects of shopping including the specific brands parents consider (52 per cent), product features that are important (48 per cent), and specific retailers that are considered (41 per cent).


Supply Chain Management Association Rebrands

The Supply Chain Management Association has changed its name to Supply Chain Canada. The association also launched an upgraded website as part of an overall rebranding initiative. “The new name and look are part of a transformation that we have undertaken as the association enters its second century,” says Christian Buhagiar, president and CEO. “Today’s supply chains are dynamic and fast-paced. The association for Canada’s supply chain professionals must reflect that.” Through the rebranding process, the association has created a logo and tagline, 'Professionals advancing the future.' The logo’s maple leaf design conveys the association's nationality and represents the connectedness of the supply chain, illustrating the networks and collaboration that are essential to supply chain success. It also reflects the interconnectedness of the association’s federation, institutes, and members. Its connected dots can be seen, as well, as the complex route of a global supply chain.


MAAX Celebrates 50 Years

MAAX Bath Inc. celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Founded in 1969 in Tring-Jonction, a village in the Beauce region of Quebec, MAAX initially specialized in the manufacture of pools and components for snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. Over the years, its product portfolio evolved, diversified, and grew, and MAAX ultimately emerged as a manufacturer of bathtubs, shower solutions, and shower doors. Today, the company, which is part of American Bath Group, has eight production facilities in North America, of which four are located in Canada. The company also has R&D centres in Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce and Lachine, QC, as well as a dedicated team based in the U.S.


Sun Life Offers Corporate Life Insurance Options

Sun Life has launched two permanent life insurance options ‒ SunUniversalLife Pro and Sun Permanent Life. SunUniversalLife Pro is a solution for corporate insurance that guarantees, cash accessibility, and a wide variety of optional benefits. Sun Permanent Life provides lifetime, guaranteed protection to Canadians with guaranteed premiums and death benefits. The policy also provides a guaranteed cash value starting in year three. Sun Life has also introduced Accelerated Underwriting, which makes it easier and faster for clients to get their policies.


Formica Canada Launches SurfaceSet 2020 Collection

Formica Canada has launched its SurfaceSet 2020 collection, a series of woodgrains, solids, and patterned Formica laminate designs for interior designers and architects. The collection is grouped into three key palettes – No Boundaries, Engineered Design, and Fluidity. No Boundaries has a combination of raw elements and natural warmth with organic greens and grounded earth tones that contrast pops of blue. Engineered Design is a future-forward palette that combines synthetic designs with natural materials using on-screen brights, technical greys, and strong saturated colours are combined with tactile textures like felt. Fluidity features soft and ethereal tones like weightless beiges, pastels, and iridescent effects.


Richelieu Hurts Sales

Richelieu Hardware had consolidated sales of $269.2 million for the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 3.4 per cent compared to consolidated sales of $260.5 million in the third quarter of 2018. Sales for the quarter were $233.8 million in the manufacturers market, compared with $221.6 million for the third quarter of 2018, an increase of 5.5 per cent. Sales in Canada increased 0.7 per cent to $179.9 million with sales to manufacturers up three per cent. Sales to Canadian hardware retailers and renovation superstores totalled to $32 million, down 8.8 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2018. Richelieu says the general slowdown in the retailer market continues to have a downward impact on sales. U.S. sales were up 8.2 per cent year-over-year, with sales to manufacturers up 8.9 per cent and sales to U.S. hardware retailers and renovation superstores down 10.3 per cent from the corresponding quarter of 2018. Overall third-quarter net earnings grew 1.1 per cent.


October 3, 2019

Increasing Deployment Driving Decorative Lighting Market

The global decorative lighting market size is expected to reach US$42.9 billion by 2025, says a report by Grand View Research, Inc., expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1 per cent over the forecast period. Increasing deployment of decorative lighting in shopping malls, complexes, and retail shops have been playing a vital role in the market growth. By product, sconce held the largest share of over 35 per cent in 2018. Flush mount products are expected to expand at the fastest CAGR of 3.8 per cent from 2019 to 2025. By light source, LED sourced products are expected to witness the fastest growth from during the forecast period. Fluorescent sourced products are expected to generate a revenue of $13 billion by 2025. The commercial application segment accounted for more than 70 per cent share of the global revenue in 2018.


TIMBER MART Event Supports Children's Wish Foundation

This year, TIMBER MART was the national title sponsor for the annual 'Heroes Challenge' hosted by the Children’s Wish Foundation, which took place on September 27 in 14 cities across Canada. The 'TIMBER MART Heroes Challenge' hosted over 100 corporate and individual teams (including TIMBER MART members, vendors, and staff) from across the country who competed in a variety of challenges designed to test team spirit, mental agility, and physical ability. Each team was tasked with raising $10,000 (the average cost of a child’s wish) to participate in the event. At the end of challenge day, over $1.2 million was raised which will work towards granting more than 100 wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. “One of the focuses of our organization is to improve the health and well-being of Canadian children through our charitable foundation, Timberkids – and this opportunity tied in perfectly with that mission,” says Jon Irwin, vice-president of member services. “We’re thrilled with what this event was able to achieve for the Children’s Wish Foundation and look forward to seeing many meaningful wishes granted and children’s lives changed for the better.”


CTC Completes Party City Acquisition

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) has completed the previously announced acquisition of Party City's Canadian business. Party City is a party supply store with 65 retail stores in seven provinces. Party City's product assortments will be made available nationally across 500 Canadian Tire Retail (CTR) stores and online at Canadiantire.ca. It will also further expand and strengthen the retailer's loyalty program, Triangle Rewards.


Sun Life Launches Life Insurance For Entrepreneurs

Sun Life Financial Inc. has launched two corporate life insurance solutions for business owners. SunUniversalLife Pro offers guarantees, cash accessibility, and a variety of optional benefits. Sun Permanent Life provides lifetime, guaranteed protection to Canadians with guaranteed premiums and death benefits and a guaranteed cash value starting in year three.


TORBSA Names 2019 Board

Greg Drouillard of Target Building Materials has been elected as president of TORBSA Limited for the year 2019. The 2019 board of directors is Gerald Morin ‒ past president, Morin Bros. Building Supplies, Ottawa, ON; Greg Drouillard ‒ president, Target Building Materials, Windsor, ON; Dante DiGiovanni ‒ vice-president operations, Blair Building Materials, Maple, ON; Blaine Carter ‒ vice-president, Woollatt Building Supply, London, ON; Len Hewson ‒ treasurer, Hewson Brothers Supply, Brantford, ON; and Steve Guglietti ‒ secretary, Pro Con Building Supplies, Brampton, ON.


BB&B Has Loss

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. had a net loss of $138.8 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2019, down from a profit of $48.6 million in the second quarter of 2018. Adjusted net loss was $41.9 million compared to a loss of $52 million in the year-ago period. Net sales were approximately $2.7 billion, a decrease of approximately 7.3 per cent compared to the prior year period. Comparable sales in the quarter declined approximately 6.7 per cent. The company says it is making good progress with its restructuring efforts and has made substantial progress toward identifying a permanent CEO.


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