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News

February 7, 2020

Building Construction Prices Edge Up

Prices for residential building construction increased 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, while the cost of non-residential building construction rose 0.4 per cent, says Statistics Canada. At the national level, construction costs for different types of residential and non-residential buildings increased during the fourth quarter, with growth ranging from 0.3 per cent to 0.5 per cent. The largest quarterly price increase among residential buildings was for apartment buildings (+0.5 per cent), while construction costs for non-residential buildings increased the most for factories (+0.5 per cent). Residential building construction costs increased the most in Halifax, NS (+0.8 per cent), followed by Montreal, QC, and Vancouver, BC, (both up 0.7 per cent). Builders in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario part), Montreal, and Halifax reported that higher residential building construction costs were largely related to shortages in skilled trades and to contractors charging higher prices because of increased demand for housing.


Aklands-Grainger Rebrands To Grainger Canada

Acklands-Grainger is rebranding as Grainger and aligning under one brand in North America. The Canadian division will be referred to as ‘Grainger Canada.’ The legal name will stay the same – Acklands-Grainger Inc. – so no changes will be required to existing contracts. The company says it will also expand its Canadian services by increasing its product selection, integrating faster operational processes, and providing more insights into industry trends. It will optimize its customer service centre and add a dedicated service team as well as optimize its online ordering and shipping services. This comes three years after the company announced it would restructure its Canadian operations, which included plans to shutter 59 of its 144 branches.


Housewares Store Inventory To Be Auctioned Off

Thornhill, ON-based Cayne’s The Super Houseware Store is closing it’s doors. All of the inventory of the company’s 55,000 square feet of retail space and warehouses will be auctioned off online, including its warehouse equipment, store fixtures, and office furniture. The store was known as a go-to place for deals on small appliances, kitchen gadgets, and housewares for 33 years. Late last year, the owners announced their decision to wind down the store operations. For more information, visit Cayne’s auction


Moss To Lead ROCKWOOL North America

Rory Moss will be president, ROCKWOOL North America, effective April 1. He joined the company in 2007 and is currently managing director, ROCKWOOL Nordics.


ASSA ABLOY Has Steady Sales Growth

ASSA ABLOY had net sales of SEK24,946 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, an eight per cent increase over net sales of SEK23,167 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company says it had strong organic growth in the Americas, good growth in its global technologies segment, and stable growth in its entrance systems. EBIT was SEK4,047 million for the quarter, also up eight per cent over the year-ago quarter, which had EBIT of SEK3,746 million. Operating margin remained flat at 16.2 per cent. Net income was SEK2,767 million, up seven per cent compared to SEK2,588 million last year.


February 6, 2020

CFIB Wants Tax Changes For Small Business

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is urging the federal government to put an end to excluding family members from the lifetime capital gains exemption when business owners sell their companies to family members. The recommendation was part of the CFIB’s list of small business owners’ top priorities for the upcoming federal budget. According to CFIB research, 72 per cent of small business owners plan on exiting their business within the next decade – representing a potential transfer of assets of more than $1.5 trillion. Many wish to do this by selling their business to their children. “We think that making it easier for small business owners to sell to their kids is something that all the parties can get behind – and it would be a big win for entrepreneurs,” says Dan Kelly, president of CFIB. The CFIB also urges the government not to raise the capital gains inclusion rate. It warns that such a move would be “seriously damaging” to small businesses, particularly business owners who are looking to sell or retire. Raising the rate would significantly decrease the retirement income of small business owners, many of whom rely on the lifetime capital gains exemption, which would be directly affected by such an increase. In addition, CFIB also says that rising CPP premiums are making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to hire and retain employees and called for the elimination of credit card processing fees on GST and HST.


Technology, Isolation Top Trends

‘Clean machine’ and ‘together in isolation’ are two trends set to impact the global household care market over the next decade, says Mintel, a market research firm. Clean machine is about the rapid advancement of technology that will enable consumers to create hyper-personalized approaches to managing their home and their health. “Over the next 10 years, expect to see home automation become commonplace, with new capabilities adopted to meet specific consumer needs. At the same time, some markets will see a backlash against the growing dependence on machines driving consumers to rediscover a sense of community,” says Jamie Rosenberg, senior global analyst. Together in isolation reflects the evolving consumer views about the world that will lead to changes in what they expect from sustainability and corporate responsibility over the next decade. This trend allows homecare brands to find success by creating products and services that contribute to making the world a better place.


L.J. Smith Offers Online Installation Videos

Stair system manufacturer L.J. Smith has launched a series of installation videos to its library of resources. The 12 new videos provide information for contractors, builders, and homeowners on how to install L.J. Smith’s interior stair systems. Additionally, the company has cable system and IronPro iron baluster fastener installation videos on the site, for a total of 14 videos. The manufacturer also offers a full array of support materials on its website including information on finishing tips, building codes, ordering guidelines, and product drawings. Product brochures and an inspiration gallery are also available. For more information, visit L.J. Smith


Insulation Slows ROCKWOOL Earnings

ROCKWOOL International A/S had sales of €715 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of 0.6 per cent over sales in the fourth quarter of 2018. EBIT for the quarter was €94 million, up 13 per cent over the year-ago period. EBIT margin was up 1.5 per cent to 13.2 per cent. Sales in the insulation segment were €517 million compared to €529 million last year, and sales in the systems segment were €198 million compared to €180 million last year.


Higher Sales Drive Simpson Income

Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. had net sales of $262.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up 8.5 per cent compared to net sales of $241.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. North America net sales increased 10.8 per cent year-over-year. Gross profit for the quarter was $110.1 million, up 12.1 per cent compared to $98.2 million in the year-ago period. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales increased to 41.9 per cent from 40.6 per cent. Income from operations was $36.6 million, up 94.4 per cent compared to income of $18.8 million, primarily due to higher net sales and a decrease in spending. North America income from operations increased 137.8 per cent year-over-year. Net income was $28.1 million compared $12.8 million last year.


February 5, 2020

Ontario Chamber Partners With BarterPay

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has partnered with BarterPay Canada Inc. to bring the BarterPay trading platform to members of the Ontario Chamber Network. Through the platform, small- and medium-sized businesses can obtain a wide variety of goods and services that they need by trading excess, slow-moving inventory or idle time instead of using cash. Members of participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade will be given exclusive benefits such as reduced activation fees, special promotions, and access to BarterPay Small Business Barter Loans at zero per cent interest. BarterPay converts the value of traded goods and services into TRADEdollars (at retail value) which allows the business owner to extract the actual things they need from the network versus trading directly one to one. In addition, BarterPay It Forward, a separate charitable foundation, provides a unique opportunity for small businesses to contribute to community charities and create social impact with the TRADEdollars they generate instead of having to dip into their cash.


ODL Adds Sizes To Doorglass

ODL, Inc., a building products supplier of decorative and clear doorglass and entry treatments, has launched more size options in ZEEL, its doorglass frame offering. ZEEL is the result of market research conducted by ODL that revealed a gap in the doorglass frame market and a need for a sleeker, more streamlined option. The frame offers a clip system that eliminates the need for screws and is made from FiberMate Plus, a doorglass frame material made by ODL that has a higher percentage of fibreglass to increase durability and reduce water seeping. The frames are now available in four new sizes – 22- x 48-inches, 20- x 64-inches, 8- x 80-inches, and 22- x 80-inches – and can be used in conjunction with most doorglass, including the clear and decorative options offered by ODL. These additions now complete the line with all sizes across Classic, Deco, and Blinds-Between-Glass (BBG) doorglass.


Government Invests In Insulation Innovation

As part of its Innovation Solutions Canada (ISC) program, the Government of Canada is collaborating with small businesses to reduce pollution and help create a greener, more sustainable environment. It will invest $300,000 in the first phase of the Biofoam Insulation Challenge, aimed at developing greener insulation products from forest residues. The investment will be split between two recipients whose concepts are comparable in price and performance to traditional insulations, are bio-based (predominantly derived from domestic forest residue), fully recyclable, and generate fewer emissions during production. The recipients are Sherbrooke, QC-based Mecanum Inc. and London, ON-based Western Maple Bio Resources Inc. (WMB). Mecanum is developing a thermo-acoustic foam insulation panel using a minimum of 60 per cent kraft lignin, a wood pulp component used to generate energy. WMB is using pine sawdust and forest residue to develop a biofoam made with more than 70 per cent bio-content.


Higher Paint Sales Volume Boosts Profit

The Sherwin-Williams Company had net sales of $2.36 billion for the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 4.8 per cent compared to net sales in the fourth quarter of 2018. Net sales from stores in U.S. and Canada open for more than twelve calendar months increased 4.6 per cent in the quarter over last year's comparable period. The Americas group segment profit increased to $449.4 million, or 19 per cent of net sales, from $413.4 million, or 18.3 per cent of net sales, in the prior year quarter due primarily to higher paint sales volume. Net sales in the consumer brands group increased 0.9 per cent to $539.4 million over the year-ago period and segment profit increased to $29.7 million, or 5.5 per cent of net external sales, from $12 million, or 2.2 per cent of net external sales. Net sales of the performance coatings group decreased five per cent to $1.21 billion in the quarter due to softer sales outside of North America and segment loss was $7.4 million compared to the year-ago period.


February 4, 2020

Strong Growth Forecast For Smart Home Market

The global smart home market revenue is expected to reach $158 billion in the next four years, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent, says a report by PreciseSecurity.com. The global smart home ecosystem is set to continue its rapid expansion, mostly due to the speed of 5G implementation. Recent IoT investments by Google, Apple, Amazon, and Alibaba have also transformed the landscape noticeably, providing opportunities for various companies. In comparison, the global smart home market was worth $43.4 billion in 2017. Since then, the industry revenue doubled and is expected to reach $91 billion value this year. Smart home technology provides homeowners security, convenience, energy efficiency, and comfort by allowing them to control smart devices through smart home apps. Household penetration is forecast to reach 9.3 per cent this year and continue growing to 19.3 per cent by 2024. Smart appliances will generate the largest profit, followed by control and connectivity devices.


Desjardins Acquires Reno-Assistance

Desjardins is now the majority shareholder of Reno-Assistance, a company that pairs clients with contractors for large-scale residential or commercial renovation projects. Desjardins is also supporting the company's plan to increase its footprint outside of where it currently has most of its business – Greater Toronto, ON, and Greater Montreal and the Quebec City region in Quebec. For the foreseeable future, Reno-Assistance will remain open to the public but, Desjardins hasn't ruled out the possibility of capitalizing on synergies with different entities in its organization.


Deans To Lead Habitat For Humanity Canada

Julia Deans will be president and chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Canada, effective February 24. Most recently, she was the founding CEO of the Canada Children’s Literacy Foundation.


Good Weather Negatively Impacts Beacon Sales

Beacon (formerly Beacon Roofing Supply) had net sales of $1.68 billion for the first quarter of 2020, a decrease of 2.7 per cent over net sales of $1.72 billion in the first quarter of 2019. The sales decline was mainly influenced by decreased hurricane-related demand compared to the prior year. Residential roofing product sales decreased 4.1 per cent, non-residential roofing product sales increased 0.2 per cent, and complementary product sales decreased 3.1 per cent compared to the prior year. The company had a net loss of $23.4 million for the quarter compared to a net loss of $0.9 million last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $94.3 million compared to $121.7 million in 2019.


February 3, 2020

Home Depot Opens Flatbed DC

Home Depot has opened its first ‘flatbed distribution centre’ (FDC) in Dallas, TX, to improve its delivery capabilities. An FDC is one of several new types of delivery centres that are part of the company’s $1.2 billion investment to build roughly 150 facilities across the country to reach 90 per cent of its U.S. customers with same-day and next-day delivery. The facility is capable of loading a variety of products – such as 80-pound bags of concrete, concrete blocks, a bunk of lumber, and some drywall – onto a flatbed truck to deliver directly to a professional customer on a jobsite. The FDC will increase the accessibility and speed of these types of deliveries. The retailer plans to build 40 FDCs in the 40 largest markets in the U.S.


Saint-Gobain Moves Forward With Continental Acquisition

Saint-Gobain will move ahead with its acquisition of Continental Building Products now that the latter has obtained shareholder approval and the legal waiting period has expired. The deal will broaden Saint-Gobain’s asset portfolio and enhance its ability to provide a wider customer base with innovative solutions. As well, Continental provides a strong geographic complement to Saint-Gobain’s North American operations. The deal is expected to close February 3.


Slab Has Many Applications

Belgard Hardscapes’ Galiano Slab is an architectural slab for residential, municipal, and commercial projects. The smooth face mix profile is available in mountain ash or Tofino grey colour blends. The slabs are available in two sizes (300x300mm and 600x600mm) and the 50mm thickness make them ideal for applications such as walkway/path, patio, pool area, and pedestal use. They are compatible with Lafitt Grana and Lafitt Slate slabs.


Ventilation Fan Market To Grow 7.7 Per Cent

The global ventilation fan market size is expected to reach US$3.85 billion by 2025, registering a 7.7 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period, says a report by Grand View Research, Inc. Rising demand from residential, commercial, and industrial buildings is anticipated to drive the growth. Increasing installation in bathrooms, kitchens, dryer rooms, garages, and attics of residences is expected to drive the product demand. Brick-and-mortar hardware stores are the major distributors of ventilation fans. Most of these channels have a liaison with contractors, architects, and builders which enhances the total sales for these distributors. The Millennial market is most majorly dependent on the eCommerce industry so online retailers of ventilation fans have adopted strategies such as product discounts and cashbacks to attract this demographic.


Tariffs Impact Spectrum Earnings

Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. had net sales of $871.5 million for the first quarter of its 2020 year, a decrease of one per cent compared to net sales of $880.3 million in the first quarter of its 2019 year. Sales in the hardware and home improvement (HHI) segment decreased 2.4 per cent year-over-year; sales in the home and personal care segment increased 1.5 per cent; sales in global pet care increased 0.5 per cent; and sales in the home and garden segment decreased 13.9 per cent. Gross profit margin for the quarter decreased 380 basis points due to higher tariffs, timing of capitalized manufacturing variances, and restructuring costs. The company had an operating loss of $45.9 million and a net loss from continuing operations of $37.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA decreased 11.4 per cent to $103.3 million compared to the year-ago period.


Amazon.com Sales Up 21 Per Cent

Amazon.com, Inc. had net sales of $87.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 21 per cent compared to net sales of $72.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Operating income increased to $3.9 billion in the quarter, compared with operating income of $3.8 billion in the year-ago period. Net income was $3.3 billion compared to $3 billion last year. The online retailer says more people joined its Prime loyalty program this quarter than ever before and it now has over 150 million paid Prime members around the world. The number of items delivered to U.S. customers with Prime’s free one-day and same-day delivery more than quadrupled compared to the year-ago period.


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