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 16, 2019

Second Quarter Retail Sales Grow

Retail sales in Canada reached $163.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019, up 1.4 per cent from the same quarter of 2018. Sales were up in 13 of 19 commodity groupings. The largest increase in dollar terms came from food, which posted a year-over-year growth of 3.5 per cent. Hardware, tools, renovation, and lawn and garden product sales were up 1.9 per cent year-over-year to $13.3 billion. The largest contributor to the increase was home lawn and garden equipment and supplies (8.2 per cent). Home furniture, furnishings, housewares, appliances, and electronics sales were up 1.6 per cent to $12.7 billion.

Three Drivers Impacting Consumer Behaviour

Technology, customization, and sustainability are the three significant drivers impacting consumer behaviour, says research by Euromonitor International. By the end of 2019, 72 per cent of the global household population will own at least one smartphone, making technology a key driver of consumer behaviour. Intertwined with technology, customization is the second driver reinventing shopping experiences. Euromonitor’s white paper, ‘2019 Megatrends: State of Play,’ says consumers are increasingly seeking a personalized purchasing journey and retailers are altering the concept of shopping by integrating technologies like artificial intelligence, 5G, and social media into the consumer experience. As well, with 65 per cent of global consumers prioritizing the need to make a positive impact on the environment, sustainability is the final driver. As consumer activism rapidly rises, governments worldwide are committing towards sustainable growth and challenging corporations to offer sustainable solutions.

Over $1 Million Raised For Heroes Campaign

Lowe's Canada says its ‘2019 Heroes Campaign’ was a success. From September 1 to 30, roughly 270 Lowe's, RONA, and Reno-Depot corporate stores across Canada raised funds to help a non-profit organization or public school of their choice - heroes in their communities - fulfill its mission or carry out a specific project. Lowe's Canada matched 50 per cent of all donations, up to a maximum of $2,000 per store. Thanks to employee initiatives, customer generosity, and corporate donations, more than $1.2 million will be distributed to over 245 community organizations. This is the second year in a row that the total amount given back as part of the campaign exceeded $1 million. Among the partner organizations, over 15 will be receiving more than $10,000.

Polishers Are Lightweight And Cordless

DEWALT has launched two polishers; automotive specialty tools that add to the manufacturer’s lineup of 20V MAX tools. The tools include the 20V MAX XR 7-inch (180mm) Variable Speed Rotary Polisher (DCM849) and the 20V MAX XR 5-inch (125mm) Variable Speed Random Orbit Polisher (DCM848). Cordless automotive tools not only offer convenience both in the shop and in remote work areas, but also help to prevent damage to work by not having power cords drag across surfaces. The 7-inch Variable Speed Rotary Polisher features a variable speed trigger and dial and a side and bail handle. It weighs 4.7 pound and is 16 inches long. The 5-inch Variable Speed Random Orbit Polisher features a variable speed trigger and dial and a gripping area and side handle. It weighs 5.7 pounds and is 17-1/8 inches long.

Banyard Leads MasterBrand Cabinets

David Banyard is president, MasterBrand Cabinets, with Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., effective November 18. He joins the company from Myers Industries, Inc., where he led the transformation of that business as president and chief executive officer.

Reduced Demand Impacts JELD-WEN Revenues

JELD-WEN Holding, Inc. had net revenues of approximately $1.09 billion for the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of 3.9 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2018. Adjusted EBITDA was $110 million for the quarter, compared to $132.6 million in the same period a year ago. The company says third quarter results were lower than expected in North America and Australasia, primarily related to reduced demand in residential new construction channels and the impact of continued erratic order patterns in North America windows retail channel.

October 15, 2019

People Leave Managers

There's some truth to the saying, ‘people leave managers, not companies.’ About two in five professionals surveyed in Canada (39 per cent) have quit a job due to a bad boss, says research from Robert Half. "Managers set the tone for the office and have a considerable amount of influence over the daily experiences and satisfaction of their employees - for better or worse," says David King, senior district director for Robert Half. Bad bosses can cause employees to leave for a variety of reasons. Employees often need quick input and decisions from leaders to move forward with projects. Staff who can't count on a timely reply are likely to be continually frustrated and may eventually seek greener pastures. Bosses who require constant updates and give overly detailed directions on how work should be done can exasperate employees. It also shows workers that you don't believe they can make good decisions on their own. As well,those managers on the other end of the scale - the ones who provide vague direction or leave tough decisions to other people all the time - are another reason why good employees leave. Workers want a leader who leads and offers insight they may not have, not someone who just occupies an office.


KUSTOMWORX, a division of Gentec International, has rebranded to GKS or Gentec Kustom Solutions. The change is to better describe and represent its brands in the custom install and B2B categories. The new name incorporates ‘Gentec,’ the parent company, and ‘solutions,’ to provide a definitive description for this separate division.

Venngo Launches Perk Program For SMBs

Venngo has launched a perk program specifically tailored for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). WorkPerks is a fully managed perk program to elevate the employee experience. The benefit program comprises of thousands of exclusive discounts from famous brands and local stores across Canada. These offers are redeemable online as well as in-store at over 12,000 locations. The program has also been offered to CIBC business clients since May in co-ordination with the launch of CIBC SmartBanking for Business. Venngo is a North American provider of private group discount programs.

Rosy Hue Named Benjamin Moore’s 2020 Colour   

‘First Light 2102-70’ is Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year for 2020. This soft, rosy hue is a fresh approach to the new decade on the horizon. The colour was chosen “to represent a new dawn of idealism, design, and living,” says Andrea Magno, director of colour marketing and development. “First Light reflects a new definition of the home – a shift in mindset from the material to satisfying the core needs in life: community, comfort, security, self-expression, authenticity, and, ultimately, optimism.” Other hues that are part of the ‘Colour Trends 2020’ palette include ‘White Heron,’ ‘Crystalline,’ ‘Windmill Wings,’ ‘Buxton Blue,’ and ‘Golden Straw.’

Gottstein Joining Whirlpool

Holger Gottstein will be senior vice-president of strategy and business development at Whirlpool Corporation, effective January 1. He will join the company from Boston Consulting Group, where he serves as managing director and senior partner.

Sales Up For Fastenal

Fastenal Company had net sales of $1,379 million for the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 7.8 per cent over net sales of $1,280 in the third quarter of 2018. Sales of fastener products grew three per cent on a daily basis year-over-year and represented 33.7 per cent of sales. Sales of non-fastener products grew eight per cent on a daily basis and represented 66.3 per cent of sales. Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, declined 90 basis points to 47.2 per cent in the quarter from 48.1 per cent last year. Net earnings were $214 million, up eight per cent over net earnings of $198 million in the year-ago period.

Home Show Changes Name

The ‘International Home + Housewares Show’ has changed its name to ‘The Inspired Home Show.’ Consumers are no longer content to purchase individual product based only on price and functionality; they are creating lifestyles that reflect their individuality, where they can find joy, contentment, and fulfillment, says the company. The show connects buyers to sellers and also product to lifestyle and the new name reflects this. It takes place March 14 to 17 in Chicago, IL. For more information, visit The Inspired Home Show

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.

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