Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


February 13, 2020

Canada Supports Small Business Innovation

The government of Canada is supporting small business to develop innovative solutions to plastic pollution. As part of the initiative, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (ECCC) sponsored the ‘Plastics Innovation Challenges,’ whereby small- and medium-sized businesses receive $1 million each to develop prototypes of new technologies designed to address plastic waste from food packaging and construction. Among the winners of the challenge are GreenMantra Technologies of Brantford, ON, and MgO Systems of Calgary, AB. GreenMantra will transform polystyrene insulation waste into new insulation and MgO Systems will use PVC waste from construction to produce new insulating materials. The government will launch six new ‘Plastics Challenges’ and three ‘Clean Technology Challenges’ through its Innovative Solutions Canada program. Goals of the new challenges include seeking solutions for air purification, recycling plastic into ceiling tiles, and developing energy producing window coverings.

Benjamin Moore Launches Color Portfolio App

Benjamin Moore has launched its Color Portfolio app and integrated Benjamin Moore ColorReader device. Designed to enhance and simplify the colour selection process, the app, in conjunction with the Benjamin Moore branded ColorReader device by Datacolor, is available for mobile devices and is compatible with iOS and Android. The app supplements physical colour tools using augmented reality. It features virtual fan decks, photo and video visualizers, and renderings to apply Benjamin Moore colour to surfaces in real-time. When the ColorReader is connected to the Color Portfolio app, users can colour match interior and exterior flat surfaces and materials to more than 3,500 Benjamin Moore colours.

Klein Tool Launches Tone And Probe Test Kit

Klein Tools has introduced the VDV500-705 Tone & Probe Test and Trace Kit, designed to give users an opening price point solution for simple toning and tracing as well as wire map testing of non-energized wire. The unit’s tone generator traces wire when used with the probe that has a non-metallic, conductive tip. It includes a work light on the probe tip for use in dark spaces and has an adjustable volume control dial. It includes an RJ45 to RJ45 test cable.

Strong Growth Forecast For Doors And Windows Market

The global market valuation for doors and windows will cross US$235.2 billion by 2026, says a report by Global Market Insights, Inc. Continuous focus on home improvement and interior renovations will generate market demand in the projected time period. Growing building and construction activities, coupled with technology modifications, are also expected to drive demand. In-home, inside interior pocket doors are registering a significant demand while metal-based doors remain most popular for the exterior. Rising interest in green products and home automation technology are also driving market growth. Automated/smart product demand is expected to follow a positive growth trend due to enhanced security and comfort. As well, the industry has been experiencing a boost in metal-framed window and door demand due to additional benefits such as durability, superior efficiency, and strength.

Lower Lighting Sales Impacts Masco Earnings

Masco Corporation had sales of $1.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, matching sales in the fourth quarter of 2018. In local currency, sales increased one per cent year-over-year. The plumbing products segment net sales increased two per cent year-over-year and the decorative architectural products segment net sales decreased three per cent, with growth in paints and other coating products offset by lower sales in lighting. Gross profit for the quarter was $565 million, also flat compared to gross profit of $568 million in the year-ago period. Income before taxes was $217 million compared to $236 million last year. During the quarter, the company closed the sale of its Milgard Windows and Doors business and signed an agreement to sell its cabinetry business.

West Fraser Has Fourth Quarter Loss

West Fraser Timber Company Ltd. had sales of $1.13 billion for the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease over sales of $1.27 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Adjusted EBITDA was $80 million for the quarter compared to adjusted EBITDA of $120 million in the year-ago period. Operating loss was $31 million compared to operating earnings of $15 million. The lumber segment had adjusted EBITDA of $69 million compared to $39 million in the third quarter of 2019; the panels segment had adjusted EBITDA of $13 million, flat compared to the third quarter; and the pulp and paper segment had an adjusted EBITDA loss of $1 million compared to adjusted EBITDA income of $13 million in the third quarter.

February 12, 2020

Used Battery Collection Catching On

Call2Recycle Canada, Inc., a national consumer battery collection and recycling program, says it has had the highest battery collection results since inception. Thanks to increased participation of Canadian residents, almost three million kilograms of household batteries were recycled in 2019, a nine per cent increase over 2018 results. There was also a more than 10 per cent increase in batteries collected in regulated provinces – British Columbia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec – where Call2Recycle serves as the stewardship program. The organization has been administrating its consumer battery collection and recycling program for 21 years and has more than 30,000 collection sites across North America, including retailers, municipalities, businesses, and schools.

FGIA Brands As United Organization

The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) has developed a united brand. As part of the campaign, the organization has developed a logo and promotional video has been launched. On January 1, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) officially came together to form a new, united organization – the FGIA. The branding is a representation of the organization going forward. The positioning of campaign is, ‘Your trusted resource, setting the standards for fenestration and glazing.’ As part of the branding process, primary personality traits of the brand were developed to help convey the character of the new organization – precise and detailed, knowledgeable, insightful and enlightening, design-driven, innovative, and evolving.

Combination Hammer Has Vibration Control

DEWALT has launched the 60V MAX 1-3/4-inch SDS MAX Combination Hammer (DCH614). This combination hammer achieves 10.5 joules and 380 RPM for fast and efficient drilling in concrete. The drilling range is between 5/8-inch and 1- 1/4-inch. It is part of the DEWALT PERFORM & PROTECT line of power tools, designed to provide a high level of one or more of the following – control, dust containment, or low vibration. It includes SHOCKS Active Vibration Control System that reduces vibration felt by the user at the handles. It also incorporates wireless tool control so the user can pair the extractor with the tool for remote activation.

Howlett Named Chief Accounting Officer

Heather Howlett has been promoted to vice-president and chief accounting officer of the future Trane Technologies, the rebrand of Ingersoll-Rand plc. She was vice-president and corporate controller.

Reduced OSB Shipments Affect LP Sales

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) had net sales of $537 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of nine per cent compared to net sales of $589 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The decrease was primarily due to reduced OSB prices and a reduction in OSB shipments. The decrease was partially offset by increased revenue growth (11 per cent) of the company’s SmartSide Strand product. Net sales for the siding segment increased eight per cent year-over-year; net sales for the OSB segment decreased $83 million; and net sales for the engineered wood products (EWP) segment increased 16 per cent. Net loss for the quarter was $51 million, a decrease over net income of $17 million in the year-ago period. Adjusted EBITDA was $49 million, down 25 per cent over $65 million last year.

February 11, 2020

December Building Permits Rise 7.4 Per Cent

The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities increased 7.4 per cent to $8.7 billion in December, says Statistics Canada. Increases were reported in five provinces, led by Ontario (+10.5 per cent) and Quebec (+15.8 per cent). For 2019 overall, municipalities issued $102.4 billion worth of permits, up 2.6 per cent compared with 2018. The total value of permits for multi-family dwellings was up 15.9 per cent to $2.9 billion in December, mostly due to large projects in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Montreal, QC, and Vancouver, BC. Conversely, the total value of permits for single-family dwellings decreased 3.2 per cent to $2.2 billion, with the largest decline in Ontario (-$76 million). The value of commercial permits rose 19.7 per cent and the value of institutional permits rose to its highest level since September 2017 at 10.8 per cent. Industrial permits declined 21 per cent. In 2019, municipalities issued $102.4 billion worth of permits, up 2.6 per cent compared with 2018. Gains were reported in six provinces, with the largest increase in Ontario (+$2.8 billion). Alberta recorded the largest decrease (-$1.8 billion), with declines in all building types.

January Housing Starts Unchanged

The trend in housing starts was 210,915 units in January 2020, compared to 212,212 units in December 2019, 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 213,224 units in January, an increase of 8.8 per cent from 195,892 units in December. The SAAR of urban starts increased by 9.8 per cent and multiple urban starts increased by 13.6 per cent while single-detached urban starts decreased by 0.9 per cent. Quebec had the strongest increase in housing starts at 79 per cent over January 2019 followed by Saskatchewan at 77 per cent. The largest year-over-year decrease was in Prince Edward Island at -47 per cent, followed by British Columbia at -40 per cent.

TIMBER MART Show To Provide Opportunities To Members

More than 150 building material and hardware vendors are scheduled to exhibit at the ‘2020 TIMBER MART National Buying Show.’ As well, TIMBER MART members will have access to new programs, a wide assortment of deals, and networking opportunities. The show takes place February 14 to 15 at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal, QC. The show is not open to the public; registration is by invitation only.

Fast Dry Spackling Decreases Repair Time

DAP has launched its Fast Dry Premium Spackling to speed up the time it takes to repair large holes in drywall. This product is a professional-grade spackling developed specifically for large drywall repairs. It offers a smooth, one-strike application that leaves a solid coat that won’t sink, shrink, or crack. It also offers impact resistance and is paint ready in as little as just 15 minutes. It can be sanded after an hour providing a surface for painting that doesn’t need to be primed and won’t flash when finished. It is also low-odour, can be cleaned up with water, and can be used for indoor and outdoor repairs.

Tall Cabinets To Lead Cabinet Sales

Demand for kitchen cabinets is projected to rise 4.6 per cent annually to $17.3 billion 2023, with unit demand totalling 101.8 million, says a report by the Freedonia Group. Gains will be supported by homeowner interest in installing more and larger cabinets to provide additional storage space for foodstuffs and kitchenware. Design trends, such as kitchen islands and counter-style seating, which incorporate more cabinets into residential kitchens, are also driving demand. As well, manufacturer efforts to include more amenities – such as LED lighting, pull-out shelves, and racks – in kitchen cabinets that raise their average sale price is boosting sales. Base cabinets accounted for the largest share of kitchen cabinet demand in 2018 and will continue to do so through 2023. However, tall and wall cabinets will post the more rapid demand gains as consumers increasingly opt for these cabinets (instead of such options as open shelving and racks) to provide increased storage space. Demand for tall cabinets is expected to rise at the most rapid pace of all cabinet types, growing five per cent annually to $2.8 billion in 2023.

February 10, 2020

Dodge Momentum Index Slides

The Dodge Momentum Index fell 2.7 per cent in January to 152.5 from the revised December reading of 156.7, snapping a four-month streak of gains. The index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for non-residential U.S. building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. The decline in the overall index was the result of an 11 per cent drop in the institutional component, more than offsetting a 2.7 per cent gain in the commercial component. A similar pattern exists when comparing year-over-year growth in the components of the index. The institutional component was down 7.4 per cent when compared to January 2019 while the commercial component was 17.4 per cent higher than a year ago. These conflicting trends pushed the overall index up 7.1 per cent from January 2019.

Mercury Wood Products To Distribute For Uniboard

Mercury Wood Products is now the distributor for Uniboard’s composite wood panels, MDF, and particleboard lines in Ontario. Uniboard says the appointment of Mercury Wood Products is in line with its strategy of pursuing value-added composite wood panel product growth.

Tyson Named Interim President

Charles E. Tyson has been named interim president and principal executive officer of Lumber Liquidators. He is the company’s chief customer experience officer. Tyson will share the duties of these positions with Mary A. Walsh, chief financial officer. Dennis R. Knowles, formerly president and chief executive officer, has resigned. The company is searching for a replacement.

Sales Up At Fastenal

Fastenal Company had net sales of $1,276.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 3.7 per cent over net sales of $1,231.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The increase was driven by higher unit sales at industrial vending and onsite locations. Gross profit for the quarter was $598.4 million, or 46.9 per cent of sales, up 1.8 per cent over gross profit of $587.8 million and 47.7 per cent of sales. EBIT was $236.4 million, up 2.9 per cent compared to EBIT of $229.8 million in the year-ago period. Net earnings were up 5.9 per cent to $178.7 million.

Sourcing Expo Closed For Coronavirus Concerns

The International Housewares Association (IHA) will not open the ‘International Sourcing Expo’ at the ‘Inspired Home Show 2020’ in response to concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak in China. The IHA consulted with Chinese pavilion organizers and exhibitors and made the decision “to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the industry from concerns about exposure to the virus,” says Derek Miller, president of IHA. The rest of the home show will continue as planned. It takes place March 14 to 17 in Chicago, IL. For more information, visit ‘Inspired Home Show 2020

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.

Acklands-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.

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