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October 18, 2019

Dealers Gather For Annual Buying Show

The ‘2020 RONA and Ace Canada Buying Show,’ presented by Lowe’s Canada, brought together roughly 300 RONA and Ace dealer owners and 330 suppliers, including numerous suppliers from across Canada. The two-day event allowed affiliated dealers from the Lowe’s Canada network to discover new offerings available on the market and plan their purchases for the next 12 months. It was also an opportunity for them to attend conferences, participate in workshops, and meet various partners and players in the industry, including the Well Made Here team, which took the opportunity to inform visitors of its program aimed at making it easier to identify products made in Canada. This year’s show featured a vast selection of seasonal products with the latest outdoor living trends including barbecues and outdoor power equipment. Another show standout was the flooring and lighting zone which presented new merchandising designed to adapt to various store formats and optimize the performance of these two product categories. Lowe’s Canada philanthropic partners, Opération Enfant Soleil/ Children’s Miracle Network and the Charles-Bruneau Foundation, had a booth at the showroom entrance to meet dealers and encourage them to join the 2020 campaigns. The show also celebrated the 80-year anniversary of the RONA banner by honouring two dealers that have been affiliated with RONA since 1939: RONA Quincaillerie J. R. Grégoire in Montreal, QC, and RONA Marché Gosselin Tradition in Frelighsburg, QC. The buying show concludes at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Quebec on October 18.


Strong Growth Forecast For Paints And Coatings Market

The global paints and coatings market is projected to grow from US$153.9 billion in 2019 to $199.9 billion by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4 per cent between 2019 and 2024, says a report from Markets and Markets. The increasing urban population is a significant factor for the rising demand for building and construction, automotive, and packaging. However, stringent government regulations in the paints and coatings industry are hampering the growth of the solvent borne coatings market. The waterborne technology segment is expected to hold the largest share of the overall paints and coatings market during the forecast period. This segment accounted for the largest share of the overall paints and coatings market in 2018 and is expected to grow on the backbone of the building and construction industry, which is anticipated to witness good growth, mainly in the developing countries. The paints and coatings market in the architectural end-use industry is expected to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Increase in environmental awareness has led to innovations in the coating industry to provide affordable quality products, of high quality, possess value-added features, and meet global trends.


Men To Lead Holiday Spending

Canadians will spend an average of $1,593 for the 2019 holiday season, up 1.9 per cent from $1,563 in 2018, says the ‘PwC Canada's Holiday Outlook’ report. Eight out of 10 Canadians plan to spend the same or more this holiday season and they are likely to focus the majority of their spending on family ($869), followed by indulging themselves with a few gifts ($537), gifts for friends ($118), pets ($40), and others ($29). There is a significant difference in the amount that men plan to spend compared to women. Men are expected to spend $1,820 this year on gifts, travel, and entertainment, while women are expected to spend $1,384 on the same things. Early November remains the most popular time to start holiday shopping. In terms of getting the best deals, 38 per cent of Canadians say Black Friday is the best time to get deals. Shoppers will shop with retailers they trust and have loyalty programs and where they can get a good deal. Canadians plan to spend 41 per cent of their holiday shopping time online, up four per cent from last year, but the bulk is still done in-store (59 per cent). Home delivery remains the most popular method of delivery with 56 per cent of Canadians opting for convenience.


Interac Debit Expands eCommerce Footprint

Interac Corp.’s Interac Debit for In-App and In-Browser Payments with Apple Pay and Google Pay has expanded its eCommerce footprint. Canadians already use Interac Debit on Apple Pay or Google Pay for in-store purchases at merchants across the country. Expanding the eCommerce footprint means more Canadians can make mobile payments within apps and websites. This service is promoted by ATB, Canada's Credit Unions, Coast Capital, Desjardins, and National Bank, as well as acquirer Moneris, over the last year. Scotiabank and Tangerine have also joined, along with acquirer Everlink, to offer eCommerce solutions to the Canadian market. Interac Debit cardholders from these financial institutions can make in-app and in-browser purchases from participating merchants.


HDI Acquires Pacific Mutual Door

British Columbia-based Hardwoods Distribution Inc. (HDI) plans to acquire substantially all of the assets and assume certain liabilities of Pacific Mutual Door Company. Pacific is a wholesale distributor of interior and exterior doors, custom millwork, and other ancillary building products. It operates five facilities in the U.S. and has a customer base that includes general contractors, builders, distributors, and professional dealers. Pacific has been in operation for over 100 years and is a significant distributor in the markets it serves. The acquisition provides HDI with an entry point into the Tennessee and Kansas markets with minimal customer overlap and alignment of key supplier relationships.


Bruce Vice-president Of Sales

Matt Bruce is vice-president of sales with MoistureShield, a division of Oldcastle APG, a CRH Company. He comes from Royal Building Products and brings over 20 years of building materials management, operations, and sales experience to the role.


Acquisition Drives Watsco Revenues

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) product distributor Watsco, Inc. had revenues of $1.39 billion for the third quarter of 2019, an increase of eight per cent over revenues of $1.3 billion in the third quarter of 2018. Gross profit was $335 million compared to $319 million in the year-ago period. Operating profit for the quarter increased two per cent year-over-year to $125 million and one per cent on a same-store basis. The company had an operating margin of nine per cent and same-store operating margin was 9.2 per cent versus 9.4 per cent last year. Net income was $83 million versus $79 million. In August, the company acquired Peirce-Phelps, Inc., one of the largest HVAC distributors in North America.


October 17, 2019

September Home Sales Rise Again

Home sales advanced for the seventh consecutive month in September, raising them to 18 per cent above the six-year low reached in February, but leaving them about eight per cent below highs reached in 2016 and 2017, says the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Activity was up in slightly more than half of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver (GVA) and the Fraser Valley, which together constitute the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 15.5 per cent year-over-year, reflecting the combination of slow sales in September 2018 and a rebound in activity this year. Transactions were up from year-ago levels in all of Canada's largest urban markets, including the Lower Mainland of British Columbia; Calgary and Edmonton, AB; Winnipeg, MB; the Greater Toronto area (GTA), Hamilton-Burlington, and Ottawa, ON; and Montreal, QC. The number of newly listed homes edged back by 0.6 per cent. The small increase in sales combined with the small decline in new supply tightened the national sales-to-new listings ratio to 61.3 per cent in September. This measure has been increasingly rising above its long-term average of 53.6 per cent. At this point, this measure remains in balanced market territory, but is favouring sellers more than buyers.


Lowe’s Canada Denies Rumours

Several Quebec media outlets have reported that Lowe’s Canada plans to transfer 200 IT jobs to India. Contrary to these reports, Lowe’s Canada says in a statement that it has no plan to transfer 200 information technology jobs from Longueuil, QC, to India. Lowe’s Canada says these rumours are unduly worrying numerous employees at the organization's head office on the South Shore of Montreal.


Consumers Relying On Digital Media Platforms

Consumers in large part are leaving traditional media and websites behind, with 77 per cent placing significant weight on a retailer’s visibility and accuracy across digital media platforms, says a study by Synup, the Intent Marketing Cloud. The ‘State of Retail 2019’ report says consumers also rely on business content, with 94 per cent saying real-time product inventory is critical when choosing a retailer. As well, user-generated ratings and reviews play a major role in customer acquisition, with 82 per cent of consumers saying they would not choose a business with a rating of fewer than three stars on media channels like Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Nearly a third (29 per cent) require a rating of four or more stars to consider a retailer. “Retailers have known for a long time that they’re being discovered primarily via mobile searches, but this study shows that they haven’t done enough to keep up with this shift in consumer behaviour,” says Brett House, senior vice-president of growth. “Increasingly, customers are discovering local businesses across media including traditional search engines, voice search, social media, review sites, and map apps. Despite that reality, the data shows that retailers still have a lot to do if they want to manage their presence, reputation, and content on these platforms, otherwise, they’re at risk of losing substantial business.”


Trade Tensions Affect U.S. Retail Sales

U.S. retail sales in September were down 0.1 per cent seasonally adjusted from August, but up 4.5 per cent unadjusted year-over-year, says the National Retail Federation (NRF). The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants. Building materials and garden supply stores sales were up 2.5 per cent year-over-year, but down one per cent month-over-month seasonally adjusted. “The pullback in September compared with August is possibly a reaction to increased fears over U.S.-China tensions,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist with NRF. “While uncertainty around trade policy and other issues has dampened consumer sentiment recently, consumers still have a lot going for them as evidenced by longer-term trends and factors like the tight labour market.” As of September, the three-month moving average was up 4.9 per cent over the same period a year ago, compared with 4.1 per cent in August. September’s results build on gains of 0.5 per cent month-over-month and 4.7 per cent year-over-year in August.


Laguna Tools Expands Industrial Division

Laguna Tools has is expanding the line of professional industrial woodworking machinery products. Over a decade ago, the company expanded its product line to include the CNC division, which has expanded to include CO2 lasers, fibre lasers, and plasma machines. Around this same time, it also created a wholesale network and developed an entire line that was designed specifically for the high-end hobbyist and light industrial market. Laguna has lowered the price of every industrial machine in the line and has also created an online ordering system. The products are also available at dealers.


PGT Innovations Launches Innovation Lab

Window and door manufacturer PGT Innovations has opened its 24,500-square-foot iLab, an extension of the business that serves as a product incubator and micro-factory. Located in North Venice, FL, the iLab team will provide window and door solutions to customers with projects that require new and inventive features, custom needs, or one-of-a-kind products. Departments within the iLab span from design engineering and code compliance to testing and the production factory. Operations include creating prototypes, developing initial product builds, and, if needed, assisting in setting up mass-production plans for products. To date, the iLab has introduced a bi-fold door, a lift-and-slide door, and a pivot door to the marketplace. The product designs and enhancements seen in these three doors incorporate the features most requested by homeowners. After their launch, the products were added to the product portfolio of WinDoor, PGT Innovations’ luxury brand.


Furner To Head Walmart U.S.

John Furner will be president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., effective November 1. He has been with the company since 1993 and is currently chief executive officer of Sam’s Club.


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 Rebrands To GKS

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


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