Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


January 14, 2020

Shoppers Like To Research Online

Canadian shoppers who bought products or services and visited a physical store, used an app, or used a website before making the purchase visit three digital channels on average before buying, says a report by Eagle Eye, a SaaS technology company. Roughly one-third of consumers are likely to visit a social network before making a purchase either online or in-store. Sixty-one per cent of consumers conduct at least one online shopping activity prior to purchase in-store. In addition, 64 per cent of consumers say relevant marketing is very important to them and 59 per cent collected or used loyalty points or vouchers within two weeks of taking the survey. Eagle Eye says by examining how Canadian consumers now conduct the search, browsing, discovery, and buying phases of their shopping journeys, businesses can be better prepared to meet customers' expectations both online and in-store. This information also ensures retailers' overall marketing efforts will deliver the most value for customers and generate positive returns on their investment.

Elastic Path Acquires Moltin

Elastic Path, a commerce solutions company, has acquired fellow commerce technology company Moltin to create a commerce platform that will offer microservices to business owners. Elastic Path says the acquisition comes as global demand grows for extensible, flexible, and scalable enterprise commerce solutions. It will bolster the company’s mission to empower businesses to transform every customer interaction across B2C, B2B, B2B2C, and B2B2B use cases into unique and engaging digital commerce experiences. Through business user tools, a library of ready-to-use commerce experiences, and the ability to extend commerce functionality, Elastic Path can now help brands, manufacturers, and retailers deliver digital customer journeys that are fully tailored to their businesses.

Thalberg Named Chief Brand And Marketing Officer

Marisa F. Thalberg will be executive vice-president, chief brand and marketing officer, with Lowe’s Companies, Inc., effective February 10. Most recently, she was global chief brand officer with Taco Bell.

Weak Demand Affects Acuity Brands Sales

Acuity Brands, Inc. had net sales of $834.7 million for the first quarter of its fiscal 2020 year, a decrease of 10.5 per cent compared with net sales of $932.6 million in the year-ago period. Operating profit for the quarter was $83.6 million, a decrease of 28 per cent compared with operating profit of $116.4 million. Net income was $57 million, a decrease of 28 per cent compared with net income of 79.6 million last year. Adjusted operating profit decreased 11.3 per cent to $119 million. The company says net sales were down due to weaker than expected market demand.

January 13, 2020

Retailers Must Adapt To Consumer Behaviour

“Because digital is becoming a more intrinsic shopping experience, retailers need to become data-driven to reach customers through online experiences; deliver promotions, offers, and prices that reflect each shopper's preferences; and orchestrate communications across mobile apps and devices and virtual assistants. Personalization opportunities are shifting rapidly to digital omnichannel touch-points,” says Brian Crain, head of global business development at Precima. A survey by the company shows that consumers are increasingly shopping online and 55 per cent prefer personalized promotions. Crain says retailers need to meet customers’ online shopping expectations understanding that trust, quality, convenience, choice, and personalized promotions and offers make the difference. They also need to adapt the store format to shoppers’ behaviour. Crain is speaking at the ‘NRF’s 2020 Big Show’ in New York City, NY, on January 14 to reveal findings of the survey and what they mean to retailers.

Strong Growth Forecast For Smart Home Market

The market for smart homes is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 per cent from 2019 to 2024, says a report by Mordor Intelligence. The smart home system requires a smartphone application or web portal as a user interface to interact with an automated system. Smart HVAC systems are a significant contributors to the market. The smart HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) systems are critical with respect to the environmental controls around the house. They comprise of smart thermostats, sensors, control valves, smart actuators, air conditioning systems, and smart room heaters. Across the globe, owing to the increasing government regulations across developed and developing countries, most of the new buildings need smarter heating and cooling systems, thus augmenting the growth of HVAC systems. The introduction of innovative wireless technologies, including HVAC controller, security and access regulators, and entertainment controls, is also expected to foster market growth.

Nielsen Acquires Precima

Nielsen Global Connect (NGC) has completed its acquisition of Precima, a software as a service (SaaS)-based provider of retail and customer data applications and analytics, from Alliance Data Systems Corp. Through this acquisition, NGC will deepen its portfolio of personalized and addressable pricing, promotion, and assortment capabilities by leveraging Precima's consumer loyalty and retailer analytics solutions. The addition of Precima into NGC’s portfolio will allow Nielsen to accelerate its new product capabilities while also strengthening existing products within its analytic suite. It will also achieve a heightened advantage in the loyalty and personalization space, furthering its ability to help brands plan and measure the impact and success of personalized consumer offerings.

Pinterest Partners With SmartCommerce

Pinterest has partnered with SmartCommerce to enable its 320 million active monthly users to add products they discover on the platform to a shopping cart. Leveraging SmartCommerce Click2Cart technology, brands can create eCommerce experiences on digital touchpoints like websites, digital ads, social posts, and online videos. Pinterest’s research shows that 47 per cent of its users use the platform to ‘buy or shop for products’ versus 15 per cent who say the same for traditional social media. As well, more than 76 per cent of consumers are already buying at least some CPG (consumer packaged goods) products online, says data from SmartCommerce. “SmartCommerce Click2Cart functionality helps CPG brand partners make it simple to cart products straight from recipes, projects, regimen, and similar Pins, increasing the likelihood of inspiration-fueled purchase,” says Jennifer Silverberg, CEO of SmartCommerce. “In fact, our CPG clients have seen some of their highest rates of conversion to carts from Pinterest, so we are very excited about broadening this partnership.”

Revenue Down At Chase

Global specialty chemicals company Chase Corporation had revenue of $66.7 million for the first quarter of its fiscal 2020 year, a decrease of eight per cent compared to revenue of $72.5 million in the first quarter of its 2019 year. Operating income decreased 13 per cent to $10.7 million from $12.3 million in the year-ago period. Net income for the quarter was $7.4 million, down 17 per cent from $8.8 million last year. EBITDA was $14.1 million, down 14 per cent compared to $16.4 million. Revenue for the adhesives, sealants, and additives segment was $25.8 million compared to $26.7 million in the year-ago period; revenue for the industrial tapes segment was $30.1 million compared to $33.5 million; and revenue for the corrosion protection and waterproofing segment was $10.9 million versus $12.3 million a year ago.

January 10, 2020

December Housing Starts Trend Lower

The trend in housing starts was 212,160 units in December, compared to 219,921 units in November, 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. The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 197,329 units in December, a decrease of three per cent from 204,320 units in November. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by four per cent to 185,934 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by five per per cent to 138,049 units while single-detached urban starts increased by one per cent to 47,885 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11,395 units. “The declines are primarily led by lower-trending multi-family starts in Toronto (ON), Montreal (QC), and Ottawa (ON),” says Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC. “However, the stable starts at year-end in Vancouver (BC) and significant growth in Calgary (AB) helped to partially offset the declines in other major centres.”

November Building Permits Slide

The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities decreased 2.4 per cent to $8.1 billion in November, says Statistics Canada. Declines were reported in six provinces, with the largest decrease in Ontario (-5.7 per cent). Quebec (+10.3 per cent) offset some of this decline. The total value of permits issued in Nunavut jumped from $500,000 in October to $16 million in November. The increase was largely due to a mixed-use residential and commercial project in Iqaluit. This was the largest increase in the value of residential permits in Nunavut since December 2018. National non-residential permits were largely unchanged in November (-0.1 per cent), however, there was notable movement within the components. The value of industrial permits rose 24.5 per cent and the value of institutional permits rose 14.5 per cent. Commercial permits declined by 13.5 per cent and offset the industrial and institutional gains.

Yale Home Introduces Smart Storage Products Line

Yale Home has launched a smart storage product line which will expand its smart home portfolio beyond smart locks for front and interior doors. The line will include a variety of products, including the Smart Delivery Box, Smart Cabinet Lock, and Smart Safe. They will all feature security solutions and convenient access capabilities. The products will be compatible with the Yale Access mobile app and the Yale Connect Wi-Fi Bridge. This will enable users to remotely access and manage their smart storage products – lock and unlock, share access, view 24/7 access history, receive notifications whenever the lock is opened, and check the lock’s battery life – directly from their phones. The product line can also be upgraded with a Yale Keypad, allowing users to control the lock with an entry code.

Hamel Named Business Development Manager

Richard Hamel is business development manager in the eastern Quebec and northern New Brunswick region for Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. He has extensive experience in the building supply industry.

WD-40 Has Slow Quarter

WD-40 Company had total net sales of $98.6 million for the first quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, a decrease of three per cent over net sales of $101.3 million in the first quarter of it’s 2019 year. Net income for the quarter was $12.2 million, a decrease of eight per cent compared to $13.3 million in the year-ago period. Gross margin percentage was 54.3 per cent compared to 55.1 per cent year-over-year. EBIT was $14.3 million compared to $16.1 million. The maintenance products segment net sales decreased by three per cent year-over-year and the homecare and cleaning products net sales increased one per cent.

January 9, 2020

December Dodge Momentum Index Rises

The Dodge Momentum Index increased 1.5 per cent in December to 156.2 from the revised November reading of 153.9. The index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for U.S. non-residential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. Both components of the index rose over the month – the institutional component gained 2.3 per cent, while the commercial component rose 0.9 per cent. For the full year, the index averaged 141.9, a decline of 3.7 per cent from 2018’s average. In 2019, the commercial component was 2.3 per cent lower than the previous year, while the institutional component dropped 5.9 per cent. Last year’s slip in the dollar value of projects entering planning suggests that construction spending for non-residential buildings could see a setback in the year to come. However, the index did end the year on a high note indicating that a decline in 2020 construction is likely to be modest in nature.

Giant Tiger Will Open Two Ontario Locations

Discount retailer Giant Tiger will open two Ontario stores, one in North Bay and one in Sault Ste. Marie. The North Bay store is the second Giant Tiger in the community and offers 18,000 square feet of retail space. It officially opens on July 25. The Sault Ste. Marie location also offers 18,000 square feet of retail space and will open its doors on July 25. Giant Tiger carries home décor, family fashions, and groceries. Further details on the grand openings will be available on the retailer’s social media sites.

Orckestra Launches Digital Channel Solution

Orckestra Technologies Inc., an omnichannel commerce platform for retailers and subsidiary of Mediagrif Interactive Technologies Inc., has launched Orckestra Commerce Cloud 4. This update provides new features and enhancements, including Orckestra's new Unified Product Management solution. With this solution, retailers can be up and running faster with product management and merchandising that's built for digital commerce. The solution streamlines the process for capturing, enriching, and publishing product information and digital assets all in one place and simplifies the work of developers who are leveraging the platform to build unique commerce solutions.

Orgill Shakes Up EVP Team

Randy Williams is executive vice-president (EVP), distribution at Orgill. Previously, he was general manager and senior vice-president of distribution. John Sieggreen is EVP, retail and will also maintain his current role as president for Central Network Retail Group (CNRG). Greg Stine is EVP, marketing and communications. Most recently, he headed up the marketing team for Tyndale Advisors. Brett Hammers continues in his role as EVP, sales and purchasing. Eric Divelbiss will also continue in his current position as EVP and chief financial officer.

RPM Has Record Income

RPM International Inc. had net sales of $1.4 billion for the second quarter of its fiscal 2020 year, an increase of 2.8 per cent over net sales of $1.36 billion in the second quarter of its 2019 year. Net income for the quarter was $77 million, up 56.5 per cent compared to net income of $49.2 million in the year-ago period. Income before income taxes (IBT) was $101.8 million, up 52.8 per cent compared to $66.6 million last year. EBIT was up 23.3 per cent to $119.3 million. Sales for the construction products group increased 6.9 per cent year-over-year; sales for the performance coatings group increased 0.3 per cent; sales for the consumer group increased six per cent; and sales for the special products group decreased from $178 million to $158.2 million. The strong bottom line growth for the quarter was primarily driven by the company’s ‘2020 MAP to Growth’ operating improvement plan, says Frank C. Sullivan, chief executive officer.

January 8, 2020

Spindle, Stairs & Railings Partners With Spindle Factory

Calgary, AB-based Spindle, Stairs & Railings has partnered with Edmonton, AB-based Spindle Factory to bring improved service and specialized product selections to new home builders and renovation contractors in Alberta and western Canada. Both companies produce curved and straight stair and interior railing components and offer full service supply and installation divisions as well as wholesale and contractor supply divisions. The Spindle Factory plant also has a custom iron shop that produces locally made iron products for interior and exterior railings and stairs.

FBM Closes Acquisition

Foundation Building Materials, Inc. (FBM), a specialty distributor of wallboard, suspended ceilings, metal framing, and complementary products in North America, has closed its acquisition of Associated Drywall Suppliers, Inc. Associated is an independent distributor of drywall, metal framing, and suspended ceiling systems based in Kentucky.

J.D. Irving Plans To Hire Over 9,500 People

Over the next three years, J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI), the parent company of Kent Building Supplies, is forecasting over 6,800 full time hires as well as 2700+ student hires across the company's diverse operations in Canada and the U.S. The company says 87 per cent of the jobs will be in Atlantic Canada. The three-year forecast is a result of anticipated retirements, business growth, and normal workforce turnover. Across the organization, the areas with the highest number of job opportunities include operations, shipping, supply and logistics, retail sales, and engineering.

PPG Appoints Leaders

Chancey Hagerty will be vice-president, global automotive refinish coatings, with PPG, effective March 1. Currently, he is vice-president, global industrial coatings. Kevin Braun will be vice-president, global industrial coatings. He is currently vice-president, industrial coatings, Americas. Andrew Carroll will be will be vice-president, industrial coatings, Americas. He is currently global technical director, industrial coatings. Gary Danowski, current vice-president, global automotive refinish, will retire March 1.

Slow Sales Mean Pier 1 Will Shutter 450 Locations

Pier 1 Imports, Inc. had net sales of $358.4 million in the third quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, a decrease of 13.3 per cent compared net sales of $413.2 million in the third quarter of its 2019 year. Comparable sales for the quarter decreased 11.4 per cent year-over-year. Gross profit for the quarter totalled $110.3 million, or 30.8 per cent of net sales, compared to $130.5 million, or 31.6 per cent of net sales. The company had a net loss of $59 million compared to a net loss of $32.6 million last year. The company says that in order to better align its business with the current operating environment, it will reduce its store footprint by up to 450 locations and close associated distribution centres to reduce its corporate expenses. It will also reduce its corporate headcount.

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