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 30, 2020

CPCA Applauds Paint Manufacturers’ Stewardship Commitment

The Canadian paint and coatings industry has been a leader in post-consumer paint recycling for more than 25 years with the first program launched under Product Care in British Columbia in 1994, says the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA). Since the Canada-wide ‘Action Plan on Waste,’ initiated by the Canadian Council of Ministers on the Environment (CCME), all 10 provinces have had legislated paint-recycling programs for most of the past 10 years. “We are very pleased with the full support our manufacturer members have shown for paint recycling right across Canada,” says Richard Tremblay of Benjamin Moore and chair of CPCA. Manufacturers are the ‘obligated stewards’ under these provincial programs and, without the full commitment of those companies, there would be no paint recycling in Canada. To date, the total cost to paint manufacturers for all these programs across Canada since inception is approximately $450 million, $200 million of that amount in Ontario alone since 2010. All of these paint programs are meeting or exceeding targets for waste recovery and recycling.

Strong Year Expected For Metal Roofing

The metal roofing industry is predicted to have another strong year, holding steady and even trending up slightly in 2020, says the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), a non-profit trade association group. This assumption is based on F.W. Dodge market share data, which states that the 2018 U.S. metal re-roofing residential sector was 13 per cent of the overall total (up from 11 per cent in 2017), making it the second most preferred roofing material. “Durability is the biggest reason why so many homeowners are turning to metal roofing in Canada,” says Philippe LaPlante of Ideal Roofing Co., an MRA member based in Canada. “Customers are looking for a lifetime roof with less work and headaches as possible – something they can protect their house and family with by putting on just once and having that security last for 40 to 50 years or more.” MRA says heightened environmental concerns among U.S. and Canadian citizens also may pique greater interest in metal roofing this year.

Lowe’s Canada Ranks As A Best Employer

Lowe’s Canada, a home improvement retailer operating or servicing close to 600 corporate and affiliated stores under different banners in Canada, has been selected one of Canada's ‘2020 Best Employers’ in a Forbes survey. The retailer ranks in second place for best employer among Canada’s home improvement retailers. “At Lowe's Canada, we are fortunate to count on over 26,000 dedicated employees working at our corporate stores, our distribution centres, and our Boucherville (QC) head office,” says Marc Macdonald, senior vice-president, human resources. “Working in the constantly evolving retail industry, we are always looking for new opportunities to improve the professional experience of our staff, notably by empowering them and encouraging them to contribute in a significant way to achieving our goals. We intend to continue working in this direction.”

Training Program Offers Business Opportunity

Duradek offers a turnkey business opportunity for contractors into the specialty trade of vinyl membrane waterproofing for decks, balconies, and flat roof decks subject to pedestrian traffic. Duradek will train and educate contractors so they become authorized ‘Duradek Dealers.’ A complete ‘Starter Package’ is provided with all of the marketing tools, literature, and promotional items needed for professional representation of the Duradek brand. In addition, all the specialty tools needed to get started are provided in a ‘Starter Kit.’ The training extends to support for initial projects. A Duradek specialist will do on-site training for the first Duradek project while travelling trainers are available to assist in subsequent jobs on request at minimal investment. Technical support and lead generation is ongoing.

DEWALT Offers New 10-inch Wet Tile Saw

DEWALT has launched a 10-inch, High Capacity Wet Tile Saw (D36000). This tool is a lightweight, accurate, and portable choice for cutting small- and large-format tile. It provides capacity for up to 37-inch rip cuts, as well as cutting 24- by 24-inch tile on a diagonal. It also offers 18-inch cutting clearance to the left of the blade and 8-1/2-inch cross cut capacity before the column. The rubber-matted cutting cart provides consistent accuracy to within 1/32-inch over a 30-inch rip cut. This tile saw provides water containment, allowing for set up in a finished space. Durable aluminum framing and stainless-steel rails are built to stand up to tough jobsite environments.

Sales, Earnings Up At Stanley B&D

Stanley Black & Decker had net sales of $3.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2019, up two per cent compared to net sales of $3.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. The tools and storage segment had a sales increase of one per cent year-over-year, the industrial segment had a sales increase of nine per cent, and the security segment had a sales increase of one per cent. Gross margin rate for the quarter was 31.2 per cent. EBIT was $236.8 million compared to $171 million in the year-ago period. Net earnings were $199.1 million compared to a loss of $106 million last year.

January 29, 2020

Retail Sales Growth Slows To A Crawl

Overall retail sales increased just 0.7 per cent year-over-year for the three months ending November. While an uptick was reported in the media for November alone, this was in comparison to the previous month, October, which was particularly weak. However, for retail sales numbers, one month does not a trend make, says Ed Strapagiel, a retail consultant. After 11 months of 2019, year-to-date overall retail sales were up just 1.5 per cent, well below the approximate 3.5 per cent pace needed to keep up with population growth and price inflation. “It's virtually certain that 2019 retail sales growth will end up at a 10-year low.” The underlying 12-month trend peaked two years ago in late 2017, and has been declining ever since. The shorter term three-month trend continues to underperform even that, indicating more weakness ahead. Unusually low growth in the food and drug sector since mid-2019 is probably the most responsible for the recent deterioration of overall retail sales. eCommerce sales were up 15.9 per cent year-over-year for the three months ending November. This was much higher than for location-based retail which gained just 0.7 per cent.

Consumers Shifting To Value Retailers

Despite the persistent threat of a recession, U.S. consumers remain confident about their financial well-being and are contributing to CPG (consumer packaged goods) sales growth, says consumer data company IRI in its 2019 fourth quarter ‘Consumer Connect Survey.’ However, as consumers prioritize saving time, effort, and money, they are shifting their shopping habits to channels they feel best support them. Value retailers, which include dollar stores and eCommerce, have seen 1.4- and six-point increased in penetration, respectively, since 2016. While consumers still favour traditional channels such as grocery, drug, and mass, the penetration in those channels has decreased over the same period, suggesting that they are losing shoppers to other channels. The study also says that, when deciding where to shop, consumers weigh in-store experiential concepts and easy navigation services, as well as price, as heavy motivations for their choices. The ease and value of the dollar channel has led consumers to increase the frequency of trips per month and per-trip spending compared to a year ago, relative to competing channels. eCommerce platforms also experienced a greater number of trips, but saw average basket size decrease, as shoppers get more comfortable with the platform and the expectation of quick delivery.

Hurst Appointed Lowe's Canada President

Anthony T. (Tony) Hurst has been appointed president of Lowe’s Canada, pending work authorization which is expected in February. Most recently, he was senior vice-president of enterprise and strategy transformation with Lowe’s and also held the position of division president for the west region. Tony Cioffi will continue to act as interim president and, after the transition, will resume his previous role as group financial officer (GFO) and leader of the affiliated dealers, real estate, and Dick's Lumber businesses.

Acquisitions Increase 3M Sales

3M had sales of $8.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 2.1 per cent compared to sales $7.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Organic local-currency sales declined 2.6 per cent year-over-year while acquisitions increased sales by 5.1 per cent. Total sales were flat in the consumer segment and down 4.8 per cent in the safety and industrial segment. Operating income for the quarter was $1.3 billion compared to $1.8 billion in the year-ago period. Operating margins were 16.3 per cent compared to 22.4 per cent. The company says it has entered the next stage of its transformation journey which includes a new global operating model and streamlined organizational structure.

Retail, Manufacturing To Drive Robotic Spend

The retail supply chain and manufacturing industries will be two of the top spenders on robotic systems and drones through 2023, says a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC). Spending is forecast to reach $128.7 billion in 2020, an increase of 17.1 per cent over 2019. IDC expects this spending will reach $241.4 billion by 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.8 per cent. Robotics systems will be the larger of the two categories throughout the forecast period with worldwide robotics spending forecast to be $112.4 billion in 2020. Spending on drones will total $16.3 billion in 2020 but is forecast to grow at a faster rate (33.3 per cent CAGR) than robotics systems (17.8 per cent CAGR). The industries that will see the fastest growth in robotics spending over the 2019 to 2023 forecast are wholesale (30.5 per cent CAGR), retail (29.3 per cent CAGR), and construction (25.2 per cent CAGR). Consumers will dominate spending on drones, followed by the utilities sector, construction, and manufacturing.

January 28, 2020

Independents Have Options Due To Size

Due to their smaller operational size and customer base, independent retailers are in a unique position to quickly implement new technologies and initiatives, says Lightspeed’s ‘Trend Report: Future of Retail: Retail isn’t dead – it’s evolving.’ This gives them the opportunity to be more competitive in a time when discussions surrounding technology are not always positive. While customers today still prefer to shop in physical stores, eCommerce sales are growing at a faster rate than sales at physical stores. As a result, brick-and-mortar retailers who embrace omnichannel sales and new technologies are being rewarded with record growth, increased customer engagement, and the ability to reach new global markets. Independents can implement cloud-based technology, sustainable order fulfillment, and returns processes and win more enviro-conscious customers more quickly than their larger counterparts. They are also at an advantage to provide their customers with a personal experience at all touchpoints. The report says independents should also look at new payment options and pricing strategies to further their ability to compete.

VELUX North America Announces Management Promotions

Bill Charlton has been named director of sales, with responsibility for residential sales activities in the U.S. Ross Vandermark has been named the director of national product management. Chan Hoyle has been promoted to director of national marketing communications, continuing management of all U.S. marketing communication activities and now supporting some VELUX Canada marketing activities. The promotions follow the December announcement about the creation of VELUX Group North America, led by CEO Timothy B. Miller. There will be no structural changes to VELUX Canada Inc.

Soft Demand Affects Whirlpool Sales

Whirlpool Corporation had net sales of $5.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of 4.9 per cent compared to net sales of $5.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Organic net sales increased 1.2 per cent year-over-year and North American sales decreased 0.3 per cent. Net earnings were $288 million (5.4 per cent of sales) in the quarter, an increase over net earnings of $170 million (three per cent of sales) in the year-ago period. Ongoing EBIT was $389 million (7.2 per cent of sales) compared to $348 million (6.2 per cent of sales). The company says results reflect soft industry demand.

Opportunities Abound At Germany Hardware Fair

In addition to discovering products, visitors to the 2020 ‘EISENWARENMESSE - International Hardware Fair’ can learn about current developments and trends in the hardware industry. This year, the show once again features ‘EISENforum,’ which offers lectures, panels, awards, and networking opportunities. Back too is ‘DIY Boulevard,’ a presentation area for the DIY supplier. Visitors can also learn about additive and spare part production and 3D printing at the ‘Special Show 3D.’ The show takes place March 1 to 4 in Cologne, Germany. For more information, visit EISENWARENMESSE

January 27, 2020

November Retail Sales Edge Up

In November, retail sales rose 0.9 per cent to $51.5 billion, largely offsetting the 1.1 per cent decline in October, says Statistics Canada. The increase was primarily attributable to higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at food and beverage stores, both of which were down in October. Higher sales were reported in six of 11 subsectors, representing 70 per cent of retail trade. After removing the effects of price changes, retail sales in volume terms increased 0.7 per cent. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (+2.1 per cent) were up for the first time in the last five months. Furniture and home furnishing stores has an increase of 0.3 per cent year-over-year while sales at electronics and appliance stores decreased 19.9 per cent. On an unadjusted basis, retail eCommerce sales amounted to $2.4 billion in November, accounting for 4.4 per cent of total retail trade. On a year-over-year basis, retail eCommerce increased 6.6 per cent, while total unadjusted retail sales were up 2.2 per cent.

Richelieu Acquires MIBRO Group

Richelieu Hardware has acquired Toronto, ON-based MIBRO Group. MIBRO is a supplier of power tool accessories and other hardware and hand tool related products. Its products are carried by most major retailers in Canada, the U.S. and Central South America, with an extensive offering for its customers’ private-label brands. In addition, MIBRO supplies rope, chain, and accessories with the brands KingChain, KingCord, and DitchPig. For the woodworker, it offers the Wolfcraft brand, a German brand of specialty tools. This addition for Richelieu expands the enterprise offering combining a broad range of products and services to hardware retailers for the do-it-yourselfer and professional.

Simpson Strong-Tie Largest Post Base Now Code Listed

Simpson Strong-Tie has received code listing from the International Code Council Evaluation Services (ICC-ES) for the largest size of its MPBZ moment post base. The MPBZ received ICC-ES code listing for moment resistance in 2018 for its 4x4 (inches) and 6x6 sizes, and now has a code listing for the 8x8 size. As a first-of-its-kind product, there was no code acceptance criteria for the MPBZ. Simpson Strong-Tie worked with the ICC Evaluation Service to develop criteria for code listing, a process which included industry expert input, public hearings, and code enforcement official committee review and approval. With the inclusion of the 8x8 post base, all sizes of the MPBZ are now code listed under ICC-ES ESR-3050 for uplift, download, and lateral resistance, as well as for allowable moment in reinforced concrete footings.

Strong Growth Forecast For Tile Grout

The global tile grout and adhesives market is forecast to reach $3.88 billion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8 per cent during the forecast period, says a report from Allied Market Research. The rise in adoption of thermally treated tiles, a surge in popularity of outdoor entertaining areas among residential end-users, and an increase in residential and non-residential construction activities are a few drivers behind the growth. While substitute products may impede this growth to a certain extent, growing emphasis toward utilization of low-VOC grout and adhesives is expected to pave the way for several opportunities in the near future. Based on type, the adhesive segment accounted for three-fourths of the global grout and adhesives market share in 2018, and is expected to dominate throughout the forecast period. The grout segment, on the other hand, is anticipated to cite the fastest CAGR of 7.4 per cent by the end of 2026. The ability of grout to offer chemical resistance and compressive strength and stiffness is estimated to lead the growth of the segment. Based on application, the residential segment contributed to nearly three-fifths of the global grout and adhesives market revenue in 2018, and is projected to lead the trail till 2026.

January 24, 2020

Uncertainty Lingers Among Business Leaders

A significant number of Canadian business leaders are pessimistic about the prospects of the national economy over the next 12 months, says a survey by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). Roughly 30 per cent of professional accountants in leadership positions are pessimistic, basically unchanged from the previous quarter. Optimism among those surveyed sits at 26 per cent. The largest group – 45 per cent – are neither optimistic nor pessimistic. The top challenge to the country’s economic growth is cited as uncertainty surrounding the Canadian economy. Other issues include protectionist trade sentiments in U.S., a lack of skilled workers, and the state of the U.S. economy. Respondents continue to be more confident in the outlook for their own organization as opposed to the national economy. Half of respondents are optimistic about the prospects for their business over the next 12 months, up slightly from the previous quarter. Only 21 per cent report pessimism about their organization's prospects in 2020 and 28 per cent report feeling neutral.

Quebec Investors To Acquire Canam’s Canadian Operations

Placements CMI (Marcel Dutil family), the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and Fonds de solidarité FTQ (the Fonds) plan to acquire all of Canam Group's Canadian operations, as well as certain assets in the U.S. and overseas, from equity firm American Industrial Partners. The company will now be owned equally by this group of Québec investors. The acquisition brings together the Canam Buildings plants located in St. Gédéon-de-Beauce and Boucherville, QC; Mississauga, ON; and Calgary, AB; as well as Canam Bridges plants located in Quebec City, Laval, and Shawinigan, QC. The engineering and drafting offices in Brasov, Romania, and Kolkata, India, and Stonebridge's erection operations in South Plainfield, New Jersey, as well as Canam Bridges U.S.'s assets located in Claremont, NH, will also be part of the new company. The operations of U.S. subsidiaries Canam Steel Corporation and FabSouth are not affected by this deal. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Uniboard Launches Exterior Panel

Quebec-based Uniboard has launched an exterior panel called Nexos. The panel resistant to moisture and made from 100 per cent pre-consumer recycled and recovered wood fibre with no added formaldehyde. They are designed for non-structural and paint-grade applications such as exterior millwork, window boards, mouldings, signs, and exterior cladding. The panels are available in standard North American sizes and thicknesses and will be manufactured and stocked at Uniboard’s MDF plant in Mont-Laurier.

Resolute To Product Cellulose Filaments

Resolute Forest Products Inc. is building a commercial plant to specialize in the production of cellulose filaments, a sustainable biomaterial derived from wood fibre, at its Kénogami paper mill in Quebec. It also intends to optimize the mill. “Our investment in cellulose filaments represents an opportunity to enter into non-traditional growth markets,” says Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer. Cellulose filaments are derived from wood fibre that is mechanically processed without chemicals or enzymes. They are manufactured entirely from renewable sources, resulting in a low carbon footprint. They offer a wide variety of uses and a number of benefits; the filaments can be integrated into commercial and consumer products from many industries, including transportation, construction, and energy, increasing the resistance and durability of those products.

Richelieu Sales Rise

Richelieu Hardware had sales of $265 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to sales of $258.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Sales to the manufacturers market increased four per cent and sales to hardware retailers and renovation superstores decreased 8.2 per cent year-over-year. Sale in Canada increased four per cent, with sales to hardware retailers and renovation superstores decreasing 5.6 per cent. Overall EBITDA was $31.2 million compared to $29.2 million in the year-ago period and EBITDA margin was 11.8 per cent compared to 11.3 per cent. Net earnings increased 5.3 per cent over last year.

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