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 21, 2020

Moneris Partners With Bookmark

Moneris Solutions Corporation has entered into a strategic partnership and will make an investment in Bookmark Your Life, Inc., a Toronto, ON-based company. Through this partnership, Moneris and Bookmark will offer a complete online business solution from website creation to payment acceptance for small businesses seeking a robust, easy-to-manage online presence. The partnership makes Moneris the exclusive payment processing solution for Bookmark customers in Canada. Bookmark is a website building platform that utilizes artificial design intelligence to create full-featured business websites. Moneris will work with Bookmark to promote the relationship and integration in market with the goal of educating small businesses on the importance of having an online presence that allows them to expand their business and increase sales.

SMBs Still Not Meeting Consumer Needs

Canadians are increasingly looking to shop online – but less than one third of small- and medium-sized businesses have eCommerce capabilities, says a report from Visa Canada. The report says that consumer behaviour is changing with 90 per cent of consumers saying they are motivated to shop at a business if they have an easy-to-use website. An online presence is a must because half of consumers often search online (46 per cent) and/or check the business website (47 per cent) before visiting a new business. With only 32 per cent of small businesses selling product and services online, having a digital commerce presence can provide a huge opportunity for Canadian businesses. Digital payments can also improve profitability, says the report. Eighty-five per cent of consumers say digital payment methods – including card payments – are their number one preferred payment option. However, only 52 per cent of small businesses accept digital payments. Forty per cent of small businesses that started to accept digital payments saw an increase in sales by an average of 7.1 per cent.

Red Rock Introduces Capped Screw

Red Rock Distribution has introduced Znal, a zinc/aluminum capped screw with an innovative patent-pending design that is designed for speed and productivity. The screw’s nick tip enables a faster cutting speed and the cap design reduces waste because it is firmly attached to multiple points on the body of the screw. The product cap is made of Zamak 5 (Zink Alloy 5), which has a higher copper content than traditional screws made from Zamak 3. The indented cap seats properly with all major brands of hex driver bits, which will reduce ‘walking’ of the fastener. Znal is available in #12 and #14 diameters from 7/8- to 2-1/2-inches in length. It is ideally suited for the construction industry, including metal buildings, wood buildings, self-storage units, pole barns, and decks. It is sold exclusively in North America through Red Rock Distribution.

Lowe’s Cos. Launches Super Bowl Campaign

As the 2020 presenting sponsor of the NFL's ‘Super Bowl Experience,’ Lowe's Companies, Inc.’s plans for Super Bowl LIV will encourage NFL fans to ‘Bring It Home’ and prepare for the big game with products, tips, and team-inspired dwellings. “Just as the two teams in the Super Bowl will be looking to bring home a championship, Lowe's is stepping up its game and helping fans bring the NFL experience to homes across the country,” said Bill Boltz, executive vice-president, merchandising. “Fans can find inspiration from their team's ‘dwelling’ at ‘Super Bowl Experience’ in Miami as well as shop more than 10,000 NFL-branded products, appliances, and grills at Lowe's to create updated spaces for the ultimate Super Bowl parties.” As part of Lowe's presenting sponsorship of the NFL's Super Bowl Experience in Miami, 'Lowe's Hometown' is the first of its kind interactive fan experience featuring custom built dwellings representing all 32 NFL teams. This neighbourhood will showcase an idyllic community founded upon the love of the NFL and the unique characteristics of each team and the city in which they call home.

Robotic Mowers To Drive Mower Sales

The global lawn mower market is forecast to reach $14.59 billion by 2026 at 5.1 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), says a report by Allied Market Research. The industry was at $9.75 billion in 2018. Rise in consumer interest in gardening activities, increase in adoption of cordless lawnmowers, and usage of lawnmower equipment to maintain public facilities have boosted growth of the market. As well, the emergence of remote-controlled and GPS-equipped products is expected to create lucrative opportunities in the near future. The robotic mowers segment is expected to register the fastest CAGR of 10.1 per cent during the forecast period, owing to rapid launches of new products by market players to improve product portfolio and compete against intense competition.

January 20, 2020

U.S. Holiday Sales Up 4.1 Per Cent

U.S. holiday retail sales during 2019 grew 4.1 per cent over the same period in 2018 to $730.2 billion, says the National Retail Federation (NRF). The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants. Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6 per cent over the year before at $167.8 billion and are included in the total. “This is a consumer-driven economy and, by any measure, the consumer has put the economy in a solid position for continued growth,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF. “This is a strong finish to the holiday season and we think it’s a positive indicator of what’s ahead.” The growth rate is nearly double the weak 2.1 per cent seen during the 2018 holiday season, which was slowed by a government shutdown, stock market volatility, and interest rate hikes. Sales during December 2018 were down 0.2 percent from the year before. Building materials and garden supply stores were up one per cent year-over-year during the November/December period, furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2.6 per cent, and electronics and appliance stores were down two per cent.

U.S. Builder Confidence Edges Down

U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes edged one point lower to 75 in January, says the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo in its ‘Housing Market Index (HMI).’ However, the last two monthly readings mark the highest sentiment levels since July of 1999. The HMI index charting traffic of prospective buyers increased one point to 58, the highest level since December 2017. The gauge measuring current sales conditions fell three points to 81 and the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months held steady at 79. Privately-owned housing starts were up 16.9 per cent in December over November and up 40.8 per cent over December 2018, says the U.S. Commerce Department. Single-family housing starts were up 11.2 per cent compared to November. U.S. housing starts for all of 2019 were up 3.2 per cent over 2018.

Bestar Acquires Bush Industries

Quebec-based Bestar, a Novacap portfolio company, has acquired Bush Industries, an American manufacturer of case goods and RTA (ready to assemble) furniture for the office and home. The companies share some customers across the North American market and will leverage each other's strengths to continue to accelerate current growth. Together, they will provide a large and growing product offering across several categories and leverage shipping and manufacturing capabilities. The combined companies will have a workforce of over 600 employees, including more than 200 in Canada.

TOUGHBUILT To Launch Hand Tool Products

ToughBuilt Industries, Inc. will launch 14 categories of hand tools for the professional and DIY markets in the first half of 2020. “We are looking forward to launching our innovative pro grade hand tools with several patents in targeted markets,” says Michael Panosian, chief executive officer. “Hand tools are higher velocity items and we will be marketing both domestically and throughout Europe in 2020.”

Boise Cascade Makes Leadership Changes

Nate Jorgensen will be chief executive officer of Boise Cascade Company. He joined the company in 2017 and was named chief operating officer in 2019. Rob Johnson is vice-president of engineered wood products (EWP) sales and marketing. He has been with the company since 2014, and was most recently a director with EWP sales and marketing. Chris Seymour is vice-president of manufacturing operations, wood products. He began his career at Boise Cascade in 2000 and has held several leadership roles in the company’s manufacturing division. Jeff Strom is vice-president and general manager, eastern region, building materials distribution. He joined the company in 2006.

Vending, Onsite Drive Fastenal Sales

Fastenal Company had net sales of $1,276.9 million for the fourth quarter of its 2019 year, an increase of 3.7 per cent compared to net sales of $1,231.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2018. Drivers of the increase included industrial vending and onsite locations. Sales of fastener products grew 1.8 per cent on a daily basis year-over-year and represented 33.6 per cent of sales. Sales of non-fastener products grew 5.1 per cent and represented 66.4 per cent of sales. Gross profit for the quarter was $598.4 million and 46.9 per cent of sales, up 1.8 per cent compared to gross profit of $587.8 million and 47.7 per cent of sales. Net earnings were $178.7 million, up 5.9 per cent compared to net earnings of $168.8 million.

January 17, 2020

Slight Gains Forecast For U.S. Renovation Spending

National spending for improvements and repairs on owner-occupied homes in the U.S. is expected to rise only modestly this year, says Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that home remodeling expenditures will increase by just 1.5 per cent in 2020 compared with annual gains of five to seven per cent in recent years. “While homebuilding and sales activity are now firming, softness from earlier last year will continue to pull on remodeling spending growth in 2020,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center. “However, the slowdown should begin to moderate by year-end as today’s healthier housing market indicators will ultimately lead to more home renovation and repair.” The centre says, however, that even with the lacklustre forecast, home improvement and repair expenditures in the U.S. are still set to expand to over US$330 billion this year.

Beacon Roofing Rebrands

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. will rename its 40 brands across the U.S. and Canada that sell exterior products to Beacon Building Products. The name reflects the company’s ability to supply customers with a broad range of residential and commercial building products. The new name and logo will be adopted at over 450 Beacon one-step exterior products branches. In addition, the company has invested in its omni-channel approach. A single website is serving customers more seamlessly by providing connectivity to its exclusive Beacon Pro+ eCommerce site and the Beacon 3D+ estimating platform. Beacon’s OTC (On-Time & Complete) Network has been further developed to support in-store and online customers with enhanced product availability, delivery tracking, and notification. Beacon’s interior, insulation, weatherproofing and two-step branches will continue to operate under current brand names.

APA Publishes Updated Engineered Wood Guide

APA – The Engineered Wood Association has released its updated ‘APA Engineered Wood Construction Guide, Form E30.’ The 100-page guide features information on engineered wood products and recommendations for their use in a wide range of applications in residential and commercial construction. It includes illustrations and information on typical specifications for engineered wood products and design recommendations for floor, wall and roof systems, diaphragms, shear walls, fire-rated systems, and finishing methods. A free electronic copy is available on the APA website.

Trex Company Launches Composite Cladding

Trex Company has added Trex Cladding to its portfolio of products. The composite cladding replaces hardwood planks in modern rainscreen systems and is resistant to fading and stains while eliminating the need for sanding and sealing. The open-joint façade system promotes airflow over the water-resistant barrier behind the cladding. The product uses square-edge Trex Transcend deck boards to create a modern design and can be applied horizontally or vertically. The boards are made from 95 per cent recycled plastic and reclaimed wood scrap and are backed by a 25-year product and fade and stain warranties for both commercial and residential projects. It is available in three board lengths and 10 colour options.

Glass For Windows And Doors Market To Grow

Demand for glass used in windows and doors is forecast to increase 4.3 per cent per year from $3.6 billion in 2018 to $4.4 billion in 2023, says a study by The Freedonia Group. The ‘Window & Door Components’ study says demand is created by above average advances in residential replacement window sales and homeowners’ tendency to trade up to higher quality products when selecting replacement fenestration. As well, ongoing efforts by home and commercial building owners to reduce energy costs by investing in higher value windows and doors with better insulative properties is also increasing demand. The trend of larger window and patio doors, including multi-panel and multi-fold patio doors, also support the glass market, as does expanding interest in advanced glass tinting technologies such as ‘smart glass’ products that can be controlled via smart devices.

Craig Named CFO

Gregory Craig will be executive vice-president and chief financial officer with Canadian Tire Corporation, effective March 2. He has been with the company for more than 25 years, most recently as president and chief executive officer of Canadian Tire Bank.

January 16, 2020

Third Quarter Renovation Product Sales Strong

Retail sales in Canada reached $160.8 billion in the third quarter of 2019, up 1.6 per cent from the same quarter of 2018, says Statistics Canada. Higher sales were recorded in 10 commodity groupings. The largest increase in dollar terms came from motor vehicles (+4.4 per cent). Sales of hardware, tools, and renovation and lawn and garden products were up 5.2 per cent in the third quarter. Higher sales of renovation materials and supplies (+4.6 per cent) led the gains, followed by hardware and tools (+7.5 per cent). The largest decline in sales was posted by automotive and household fuels (-4.7 per cent), which posted its third consecutive quarterly decline. Lower revenue from automotive fuels (-4.7 per cent) accounted for the majority of this decline.

December Home Sales Inch Lower

Home sales edged down 0.9 per cent in December, ending a streak of monthly gains that began last March, says the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Activity is currently about 18 per cent above the six-year low reached in February 2019 but ends the year about seven per cent below the heights recorded in 2016 and 2017. There was an almost even split between the number of local markets where activity rose and those where it declined, with higher sales in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Calgary, AB, and Montreal, QC, offsetting declines in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ottawa, ON. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 22.7 per cent compared to a quiet month of December in 2018. Transactions surpassed year-ago levels across most of Canada, including all of the largest urban markets. The number of newly listed homes slid a further 1.8 per cent in December, leaving new supply close to its lowest level in a decade. December's decline was driven mainly by fewer new listings in the GTA and Ottawa – the same markets most responsible for the decline in sales. Listings available for purchase are now running at a 12-year low.

Business Owners Will Keep Investing

Many Canadian entrepreneurs will continue investing in their companies in 2020 despite growing uncertainty about world economies, says a survey by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Canadian entrepreneurs in the manufacturing and services sectors expect to see their businesses' sales grow and they intend to hire workers to meet a sustained demand for their products and services. Overall, business owners plan to increase their investments in technology, marketing initiatives, intellectual property, and employee training. This is in line with a shift toward a services economy and the digitization of businesses. However, investments in tangible assets such as real estate, machinery, and equipment will decline, a trend BDC identified in previous studies. Investment intentions are highest in Ontario and Quebec where manufacturing, technology, and services are the strongest sectors. Investment intentions are declining in British Columbia where spending intentions on machinery and equipment have significantly decreased. Business owners are the most pessimistic in the Prairies, mostly because of low commodity prices and limited cash flow. Labour shortages are of concern in some areas, notably Quebec, where they are the top factor limiting investment.

Lowe’s, Wayfair Partner With Google Cloud

Google Cloud has partnered with Lowe’s Companies Inc. and Wayfair to help the retailers deliver better customer experiences and run operations more efficiently. Google Cloud’s technology foundation for Lowe’s includes investments toward modernizing the retailer’s eCommerce, merchandising, supply chain management, and pricing systems to provide a more fluid, ‘channel-less’ customer experience spanning from product discovery to return visits. Lowe’s is in the early stages of a large-scale, multiyear technology transformation, investing more than $500 million annually through 2021 and hiring up to 2,000 engineers to continue to build out future retail experiences. Wayfair debuted its hybrid cloud strategy earlier this year. Wayfair now uses several different Google Cloud solutions – including compute, storage, and networking, data and analytics, and G Suite productivity tools – to enhance a shopping experience that delights customers from product discovery to final delivery.

IKEA Canada Closes Pick-up Points

IKEA Canada will close its Pick-up and Order Point units in Kitchener, London, St. Catharines, Whitby, and Windsor, ON, effective January 29. In 2015, the retailer launched the Pick-up and Order Point concept as part of a global test program to learn more about how our customers want to shop with IKEA in new retail formats. With the test concluded, IKEA Canada has decided to close the existing units. The company says that to best meet its customers’ needs in these markets, it will explore new solutions with a focus on enhancing digital tools and improving its local service offer.

January 15, 2020

Digital Technology Will Transform Coatings Industry

In 2018, paint and coating manufacturers were putting digital technology to use in only a limited number of digital domains. Since then, the use of digital technology by these coatings companies has accelerated and, today, all leading formulators now have digital initiatives across multiple domains, says research from Frost & Sullivan. The research and consulting firm says that new digital business models such as data monetization and coatings-as-a-service will completely transform the way the paints and coatings industry operates in the next 10 years. As well, the role of digital leadership, especially chief digital officers (CDO), is poised to explode in 2020, addressing the lack of top-level digital strategy management that remains a challenge for the paints and coatings industry to date. The proper adoption of digital concepts will be disruptive for the industry, and it requires a different way of thinking. With a CDO at the helm, companies can realize their digital transformation goals quickly and effectively.

Business Leaders Lack Plans To Build Trust

Trust is a key matter for business leaders around the world, but there are significant gaps between business leaders’ thoughts and actions, says the ‘2020 Global Pulse Survey’ by YPO, a global leadership community. The survey says 96 per cent of chief executives rate building and maintaining trust with stakeholders as a high priority, with close to half (42 per cent) saying that the importance of building trust with stakeholders has increased in the past five years. Yet, only 40 per cent of chief executives find it easy to build trust with employees, and they find it even more challenging to do so with their customers (36 per cent). Most chief executives understand the weight of their role, with 89 per cent agreeing that they, as business leaders, are under pressure to embody their organizations' values through their actions. Over 60 per cent of business leaders have yet to measure employee trust within their business and only a third (34 per cent) have defined specific plans within their business for building/maintaining employee trust.

NL Retailer Named gia Winner

St. John’s, NL-based HOME on water st. was named the gia winner for 2019-2020 in Canada by the International Housewares Association’s (IHA) ‘Global Innovation Awards’ (gia) program. The award recognizes outstanding home and housewares retailers from 31 countries around the globe to foster innovation and excellence. The competition honours independent and multiple-location home and housewares retailers for excellence in several business categories including overall mission statement, vision, and strategy; store design and layout; visual merchandising, displays, and window displays; marketing, advertising, and promotions; customer service and staff training; and innovation. Each winner is invited to IHA’s ‘Inspired Home Show’ in Chicago, IL, where the global gia jury will select up to five gia global honourees and the winners of the ‘Martin M. Pegler Award for Excellence in Visual Merchandising’ and the ‘gia Digital Commerce Award for Excellence in Online Retailing.’ Winners will be honoured at an awards dinner at the show on March 14.

Nairn Named HBC President

Iain Nairn has been appointed president of Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). Most recently, he was chief executive officer of kikki.K, a global Swedish design and stationery business with product lines available in over 147 countries.

BB&B Sales Slide

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. had net sales of $2.8 billion for the third quarter of its fiscal 2019 year, a decrease of nine per cent compared to net sales of $3 billion in the third quarter of its 2018 year. Comparable sales declined 8.3 per cent year-over-year. Gross profit was $914 million compared to $1 billion. The company had a net loss of $38.6 million, which compared to net earnings of $24.4 million in the year-ago period. The adjusted net loss was $46.9 million compared to net earnings of $2.7 million.

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