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News

CHHMA Sets Spring Conference Date  

The Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association (CHHMA) 2008 spring conference and annual general meeting is set for April 1 and 2 in Toronto, ON. The theme is ‘Looking Ahead – Managing Change.’ The aim of the conference is to provide the information and the tools needed to help do that. For more information, visit http://www.chhma.ca/
 
Platon Carried By CertainTeed

Armtec and CertainTeed have reached an agreement that will make Armtec’s Platon air gap membrane product line available through CertainTeed’s Foundations division in the U.S. market. The agreement is designed to make it easier for Platon customers in the U.S. to purchase these products in an efficient, cost effective manner.
 
Lennarson Now With Brite

Kurt Lennarson is joining the sales team at Brite Manufacturing Inc. The former vice-president of sales for Millenium Decking has more than 15 years experience in the building materials industry having worked for Sauder, Nelson Homes, and RONA. He is based out of Edmonton, AB.
 
Self-Checkout Speed Boosted

Consumers who hate to wait may soon be able to check themselves out even faster thanks to the availability of the NCR RealScan 78OFX scanner/scale. This enhancement to NCR FastLane will help make self-checkout quicker and even more convenient for consumers. It provides advanced technology to equip retailers with enhanced investment protection and operational efficiencies. 
 
2,000 Expected At BC Show

An unprecedented number of exhibitors will at this year’s BC Landscapers & Contractors Expo. Targeting landscape, build and maintenance, and light construction trade members, 2,000 attendees are expected to source the latest in compact equipment, construction and landscape supplies, power products, technology, and trucks and trailers. It takes place January 22 and 23 in Vancouver , BC. For more information, visit http://landscapingexpo.net/vancouver/list.html
 
EnerQuality Awards Handed Out

The 2007 EnerQuality Awards have been handed out at the Ontario Building and Renovation Forum 2008. Mattamy Homes, Doug Tarry Homes, and Corvinelli Homes each received the ESNH Builder Award in recognition for their work. Empire Communities and Fusion Homes both won the EnerGuide Builder of the Year award for their dedication to labeling homes under the EnerGuide Rating Service. Similarly, Starward Homes received the R-2000 Builder of the Year award from Natural Resources Canada for its role in upholding R-2000's 25-year legacy of best-in-class energy efficiency. Reid's Heritage Homes was honoured with the Building Innovation and Excellence Award for its consistent technical excellence and commitment to innovation in energy efficient and green building practices. It also received the Best Green Marketing Award for leading edge projects. The Leader of the Year Award was presented to Kathleen Hunt, of Enbridge Gas, and to Reid's Heritage Homes. Air Solutions Inc. took home the Evaluator of the Year Award and its president, Gord Cooke, was presented with the prestigious EnerQuality Hall of Fame Award for his nearly 20 years of advocacy for energy efficient new home construction.

Extra Sales Activity Can Mean Millions

Shifting two hours a week from administrative duties to selling and carefully allocating activities between new-business developers and account managers can mean millions of dollars in incremental sales for companies, says a study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. In addition, appropriately structuring variable pay can help improve expected sales results. It's 2008 Report on Sales Effectiveness and Compensation found that just two hours more of sales activity a week can lead to as much as $225 million in additional expected revenue for a company with 1,800 new-business developers. Reallocating time and resources between new business developers and account managers can create as much as $600 million in additional expected sales for a FORTUNE 100 company with $20 billion in sales.

Selkirk Celebrating 75th

Selkirk Corporation is proud to announce that 2008 marks its 75th year in Canada. Selkirk Metal Products began manufacturing chimney and gas vents in 1933 in Winnipeg, MB. In Canada, it goes to market under the brand names Selkirk, SuperVent, SuperPro, Vesta (fireplaces), and Selkirk Metalbestos (commercial/industrial chimney and venting). Today, it operates three Canadian manufacturing facilities and is headquartered in Stoney Creek, ON.
 
NCR Offers Self-Service Returns Solution

NCR has introduced a device to speed up the return process. FastLane Self-Return allows shoppers to return goods for a refund on their own by first scanning the item and entering relevant product information. Next, the item is inspected by a store associate who can approve the return. A reimbursement is then issued in the manner the item was originally purchased – debit, credit, cash, or gift card. A recent NCR survey in the U.S. showed that 64 per cent of consumers consider the ease of returns as somewhat or very important.

Technology Top Growth Enabler

When asked to identify the top growth enabler for their organizations, Canadian IT and business executives at midsize and large organizations rank the use of technology to improve staff productivity and efficiency as the number one factor, says a survey by Microsoft Canada Co. While IT is clearly a priority for those surveyed, executives at midsize and large businesses indicated differing priorities when it comes to areas of investment. When asked to identify technologies they see as top staff productivity enablers, midsize businesses ranked improved access to company/business data as the top consideration, followed by new or upgraded desktop software and new or upgraded intranet and portal software. Enterprises, however, see a need for new communications tools or technology, better integration between offices, and better access to company/business data as the top enablers of productivity.


Permit Value Down In November

The value of building permits fell in November, but remained slightly above the $6 billion mark for a seventh consecutive month, says Statistics Canada. Municipalities issued building permits worth $6 billion, down 9.9 per cent from October. Fewer construction intentions for both residential and non-residential buildings contributed to the decline in November. On a year-to-date basis, the total value of building permits issued by municipalities from January to November hit $68.1 billion, up 12.4 per cent from the total for the first 11 months of 2006. This total was also 2.8 per cent higher than the previous annual record of $66.3 billion set in 2006.
 
Tembec Reduces Production

Tembec is reducing production, via a reduced work week, at its Elko, BC, and Canal Flats, BC, sawmills and planer mills. Over the next three months, it will take the equivalent of three weeks of production downtime, through reduced shifts at the mills. These curtailments will reduce production by approximately 24,000 million board feet. The sharp decline in demand for lumber given poor housing market conditions in the United States, low lumber prices, and the impact of the high valued Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. currency are being cited as the reasons.

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Furniture Trends On Display

Home Furniture dealers were given a full preview of 2008 furniture trends and styles at Home Hardware Distribution Centre in St. Jacobs , ON. The Live and In Colour show featured 20,000 square feet of the latest in home furnishings and accessories. The event celebrated the 30th anniversary of Home Furniture.
 
Product Training Now Available

The North American Retail Hardware Association Canada will provide product knowledge training to Canada’s regional building supply associations. The Canadian Retail Building Supply Council – representing the Building Supply Industry Association of British Columbia, the Western Retail Lumber Association, the Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario, L’association des détaillants de matériaux du Québec, and the Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association – is making NRHA Canada’s product knowledge training available to all members.

RONA Acquires Best-MAR

RONA has increased its presence in the specialized plumbing and heating market in Ontario by acquiring the operating assets of Best-MAR Plumbing and Heating Supplies Inc. The three Best-MAR locations will be integrated to Noble Trade's existing network of 19 branches. Best-MAR was founded in July 1994. Today, it generates close to $20 million in sales and operates in Cornwall, Ottawa, and Brockville.
 
Housing Starts Surpass 2006

Housing starts in 2007 are estimated at 229,600, surpassing 2006 starts, and reaching their second highest level in nearly two decades, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. However, housing starts in December decreased to 187,500 units from November's 233,300 units. "Growth in 2007 housing starts was driven by low mortgage rates, solid employment, income growth, and a high level of consumer confidence,” says Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre.

Mercier Partners With All State

Mercier Wood Flooring will use All State Flooring Distributors Ltd. as distributor of its products in New York and New Jersey . All State will share those territories with Bayard Sales Corporation.
 
Home Owners Cleaning Less

A report from independent market analyst Datamonitor finds that consumers are now becoming less house-proud, preferring to adopt a low maintenance approach to cleaning the home and doing the laundry. This idea mirrors one of the most noticeable interior design trends of recent years, as there has been a switch to hard flooring surfaces within the home in order to achieve low maintenance as well as making more areas of the home hard-wearing.
 
TIM-BR MARTS Makes Staff Changes

TIM-BR MARTS Ltd. has hired a vice-president of finance and a controller for its Calgary, AB, head office. Mike Powell is vice-president of finance. He brings extensive experience from both sides of the LBM industry having worked with IKO Industries, Totem Building Supplies Ltd., BURNCO Rock Products, and, most recently, with Star Building Materials Ltd. as vice-president and general manager. Craig Malone will replace Scott Friesen as controller when he departs in February 2008. He was most recently with the Calgary Tower Facilities Ltd., a high volume tourist attraction. Friesen will become vice-president of finance for Shoemaker Drywall Supplies Ltd. in Calgary.
 
Keynote Speakers Announced

Dr. Ernest L. Nichols, Jr., director of the FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management at The University of Memphis, will co-present the keynote address with Dick Raman, president and chief executive officer of TIE Commerce, Inc. at the American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s 2008 Hardlines Technology Forum. This year’s event is dedicated to the business professional, dealing with such issues as customer service, sales calls of the future, supply chain visibility, and eliminating chargebacks. It takes place in Memphis, TN, April 21 to 24. For more information, visit www.ahma.org/htf

Mutual Hardware Dissolves

Hardware buying group Mutual Hardware Inc. suspended its operations, effective January 3. Dave Nisbet, Mutual Hardware’s general manager, says he has sent an official letter out to all vendors regarding the group’s dissolution. Although his contract was cancelled last month, Nisbet says he is staying on “to clean up the group's 2007 business.”
 
Craighead Joins Castle
Ron Craighead has joined Castle Building Centres Group Limited/Commercial Builders Supplies Inc. (CBS) .He will lead and co-ordinate its efforts under CBS on a national level as business development manager.
 
October Sales Unchanged

Retail sales in Canada were virtually unchanged in October, says Statistics Canada. Sales edged up slightly to an estimated $34.5 billion. Since 2004, retail sales in Canada have grown rapidly, but have stagnated for the past several months. Sales at building materials and outdoor home supplies stores rose for a third straight month (0.3 per cent), primarily due to specialized building materials and garden stores which were up 3.8 per cent. Home centres and hardware stores saw their sales decrease 0.6 per cent after having been stable in September.

TruServ Sets Market Dates

TruServ Canada Inc. will hold its Spring National Merchandise & Planning Market April 18 to 21 in Winnipeg, MB. The theme this year is ‘Working ON Your Business.’ More than 700 independent retailers have the opportunity to attend this market to plan their business for the next six months and to co-ordinate their fall and Christmas product purchase. The dates for the Fall 2008 Market are October 3 to 5 in Winnipeg.
 
New Emphasis On Lifestyle  

The International Home & Garden Show, running in conjunction with Successful Gardening, has moved its dates a week earlier so homeowners can get a head start on the season. It takes place March 6 to 9 in Toronto, ON. The show will feature 400 exhibits with an emphasis on lifestyle and continuing commitment to greening our lives. For more information, visit www.internationalhomeshow.ca
 
U.S. Pavilion Features New Exhibitors

More than 50 manufacturers will participate in the American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA/USA Pavilion program at the International Hardware Fair/Practical World in Cologne , Germany , scheduled for March 9 to 12. The pavilion offers many product categories including hand tools, power tools, and paint and decorating. The pavilion has been a staple at International Hardware Fair/ Practical World since 1983. For more information, visit www.ahma.org/cologne

Plug Pulled On NHS Canada

The 2008 National Hardware Show Canada will not be held. After surveying customers, strategic partners, and industry stakeholders on their business and market objectives, Reed Exhibitions, producers of the event, determined that the National Hardware Show held in Las Vegas in May presents a more viable marketplace for both domestic U.S. and Canadian companies. “We have determined that the Las Vegas show covers the depth and breadth of the international retail home enhancement marketplace satisfactorily,” says Dean Russo, senior vice-president, National Hardware Show.
 
Composite Index Unchanged

The composite leading index was unchanged for a second straight month in November, says Statistics Canada. These were the first months without growth since July 2001. Ongoing weakness in export demand for manufactured goods was reinforced by a drop in the stock market in mid-November. Consumers remained the major source of growth, reflecting strong labour market conditions.
 
Country Depot Store Opens

The Mitchell, ON, Country Depot store has opened. Doug Eidt and Doug Rohfritsch, partners in the new operation, opened the store to replace the only local store which closed three years ago. “People in our area had to drive at least 45 minutes to the closest town if they wanted lawn and garden, equine, or work wear items,” says Rohfritsch. “With the high price of gas we knew that shopping closer to home would be welcomed.” The store has 4,500 square feet with a full greenhouse addition. The store is a member of TruServ Canada Inc.
 
NCR Offers Self-Checkout With Two-Sided Receipt Printing

NCR Corporation’s two-sided thermal receipt printing technology (2ST) is now available for NCR FastLane, its self-checkout product. By printing on both sides of a receipt, retailers can reduce their paper roll needs.  Because it uses less paper, the technology also requires fewer paper roll changes, which further improves availability and helps consumers finish their shopping trips faster.

RONA Acquires Lessard

RONA is continuing to grow its presence in the specialized home renovation store market by acquiring Centre de Renovation Andre Lessard Inc., an independent dealer under the PRO hardware banner. The Centre de Renovation Andre Lessard is located in St-George de Beauce, QC, and consists of one store with 18,000 square feet of retail space, 35,000 square feet of warehouse space and a 40,000-square-foot lumberyard. The company has been in business for 30 years.


Congress 2008 Shows Off New Products

The ever-popular New Product Showcase will return to Congress 2008, Canada’s foremost exhibition for those in the horticultural lawn and garden trade. More than 250 products will be featured, including many which offer industry professionals the opportunity to take a greener, more environmentally conscious approach to the horticultural lawn and garden trade. It takes place January 8 to 10 in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit www.locongress.com

Castle Quits Reliance

Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. is resigning from the Reliance Buying Group, effective December 31. It says the move is a strategic shift to ensure its’ role as ‘Canada’s Premier Lumber & Building Materials Buying Group’ for the independent. Ken Jenkins, Castle president says “we will continue to protect and grow our ability to offer the best programs and services for independent LBM operators in Canada.” Castle is a member owned co-operative with 220 member locations operating in all provinces and territories of Canada.
 
Kingfisher Selling Taiwan Joint Venture

Kingfisher plc will sell its 50 per cent joint venture stake in B&Q Taiwan to its joint venture partner, Test Rite International. Proceeds will be used to reduce debt. Taiwan was Kingfisher's first entry into Asia in 1996 with a highly adapted B&Q format. Today it operates 21 stores. Limited opportunities for future market share growth prompted the decision to leave Taiwan.

Goodfellow Distributes Uniboard

Goodfellow and Uniboard will be the exclusive distributors of the MultiLook Laminate Flooring products throughout Canada. This new agreement represents the re-birth of the product’s range on a national scale. In order to answer to the current market’s needs, 25 new models have been developed jointly by Goodfellow and Uniboard.


Sustainable Packaging Curriculum Released

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and the Packaging Association of Canada (PAC) have released their sustainable packaging curriculum, The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging. This is a two-day introductory course to sustainable packaging that will be taught in locations across North America in 2008. The inaugural course will be held January 22 and 23 in Chicago, IL. A pilot course is being offered on January 15 and 16 in Toronto, ON. Walter Soroka, author of Fundamentals of Packaging Technology, and Mike Richmond, co-founder of Packaging and Technology Integrated Solutions (PTIS) and Global Sustainability Solutions, Inc. (GSSI), have collaborated on the development of the course. For more information, visit www.pac.ca or  www.sustainablepackaging.org/essentials
 
Canadians Spending Average Of $1,447

The average Canadian plans to spend $1,447 this year on holiday gifts and non gift-related expenses, says a Retail Council of Canada (RCC) study. This represents an increase of $137 over the $1,310 cited in RCC's 2006 holiday survey. For Holiday 2007, 94 per cent of Canadians plan to give gifts to others, spending an average of $733. These same consumers also plan to spend an average of $714 on non-gift-related expenses such as travel, decorations, meals, and entertainment this holiday season.

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Home Depot Opens Project Store

The Home Depot Canada hopes to change the way customers shop for home improvement projects with the opening of its first project-oriented store. The 115,000-square-foot store in Richmond Hill, ON, has been redesigned both functionally and aesthetically based on customer demand. It features a new layout that creates a project-oriented shopping flow; redesigned departments for greater access to project information and expertise; project-oriented customer service; and more than 40,000 products.
 
Housing Starts Unchanged

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 227,900 units in November, essentially unchanged from 227,600 units in October, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Urban starts increased in two of Canada's five regions –12.7 per cent in Ontario and 16.9 per cent in British Columbia. The Atlantic region, the Prairies, and Quebec all recorded an easing of activity in November.
 
RONA ‘Project Guide’ Service Underway  

RONA inc. has launched its ‘Project Guide’ service across its big box stores and most of its proximity stores in Canada. More than personal shoppers, the guides are specially-trained, knowledgeable employees who can assist customers through home improvement projects by advising them on products and helping them co-ordinate the necessary work. They will also manage installation services for customers who require them; obtain estimates from certified professionals; and schedule work.

Lowe’s Sneak Peek

Lowe’s will open its first big box stores in Canada December 10. Stores in Brampton, ON, Hamilton, ON, and Brantford, ON, feature an emphasis on lighting, paints, and appliances. Stores in Toronto, North Brampton, and East Gwillimbury will open in January 2008, while a store in Maple, ON, will open in February.
 
Single-family Housing Drops

The value of building permits remained above the $6 billion mark for the sixth month in a row in October. However, intentions in the residential sector remained stable at $4 billion, says Statistics Canada. In the housing sector, strong growth in multiple housing was offset by the drop in the single-family component. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings surged 21.8 per cent in October to $1.6 billion, the second highest level since December 2005. The number of single-family units authorized declined by 6.6 per cent to 9,782.
 
RONA Picks Branding Agencies

RONA inc. has selected two new partners for its marketing communications and advertising. Cundari has been chosen as RONA's brand agency across Canada while Saint-Jacques Vallee Young & Rubicam has been selected for Reno-Depot. In addition, RONA has concluded agreements with existing partners Quebecor World to print its flyers and Transcontinental to distribute the flyers. CARAT maintains its mandate for media planning and buying as well as sponsorship management.

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RONA Opens Hardware-renovation Concept

RONA inc.’s newest store makes everything simpler for do-it-yourselfers, trade professionals, and contractors by putting all the products and materials they need to get their projects done right under one roof. The 120,000-square-foot store in Brossard, QC,  is based on RONA’s latest big box concept. It makes finding products for a given project easier because items are displayed and grouped in different departments, with wider aisles, improved lighting, and upgraded signage. Besides building and finishing materials, there are special departments for doors and windows, kitchens and bathrooms, floor coverings, tools, stoves and fireplaces, seasonal products, paint, decoration, shelving and more.
 
Call Centres Closing

Home Depot will close call centres in Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX, and Tampa, FL. The closings are to its home services installation business, which deals with building and closing job quotes, specifically for flooring, millwork, and decor. The move is an attempt to restore the customer-associate relationship in the store by giving customers a local point of contact for their installation purchases.
 
Canfor Closing Mill

Canfor Corp. is closing another West Coast sawmill. The mill in Chetwynd, BC, has a capacity of 244 million board feet of production annually. It will close after log supplies are used up and finished products shipped, expected to be late January or early February. Poor lumber markets and the impact of a high Canadian dollar are being cited as the reasons.

RONA Opens London Store

RONA inc. is continuing its expansion in Ontario and has opened its new RONA London store. The 100,000-square-foot big box store is its 21st big box store in Ontario. It now operates a network of more than 165 stores in the province.
 
The Must-Do For Landscapers And Contractors

The three 2008 Landscapers & Contractors Expos promise mid-winter joy for landscapers and contractors. The annual B.C. and Alberta shows take place at the start of the season, when contractors and landscapers are gearing up for their year. The BC Landscapers Expo takes place January 22 and 23 in Vancouver, BC; the Northern Alberta Landscapers Expo runs January 29 and 30 in Edmonton, AB; and the Southern Alberta Landscapers Expo is held February 5 and 6 in Calgary, AB. For more information, visit http://landscapingexpo.net/vancouver/list.html, http://landscapingexpo.net/northernalberta/list.html and http://landscapingexpo.net/southernalberta/list.html

Residential Construction Achieves Record

Residential construction investment achieved a new record in the third quarter of 2007, reaching $24.3 billion, an increase of nine per cent over the same quarter in 2006, says Statistics Canada. Increases were seen in new housing (10.1 per cent), renovations (8.4 per cent), and acquisition costs (5.7 per cent). Renovation spending grew 8.4 per cent from the third quarter of 2006 to $9.8 billion. This accounted for 40.3 per cent of total residential investment.

 
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Dominican Republic Trip Presented

René Labbé is the winner of a one-week trip for two to the Dominican Republic. The prize was presented at the BMR LE GROUPE show. Labbé dropped off his winning ticket at the BMR Matco Ravary store in Blainville, QC. Pictured are Alain Lajoie, manager of Matco Ravary Blainville; René Labbé and his partner Sylviane Lepage; and Yvon Charest, merchandising and special events manager, BMR LE GROUPE Inc.   
 
Kingfisher Reports Stronger Sales

Kingfisher, parent of European and Asian DIY chains including B&Q, Trade Depot, and Castorama, reported stronger third-quarter sales, particularly in Eastern Europe and Asia. While sales at the company’s United Kingdom-based B&Q stores rose 0.8 per cent, profit declined 11.9 per cent. B&Q stores are being renovated en masse, the company said, with larger format stores and more streamlined displays replacing an older retail format. In France, sales at Castorama and Brico Depot stores rose 5.6 per cent. In the rest of Europe, sales rose 18.6 per cent. In Asia, sales rose 8.6 per cent.

Homes Becoming More Flexible, Practical

Contemporary lifestyles and evolving environmental concerns mean homes are becoming much more efficient and will focus on flexibility and practical spaces. That was one of the messages at a 2007 HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo seminar on building and planning new homes. Wayne Cassidy, of Cassidy & Co. Architectural Technologists, and Frank Cohn, of Cohn Construction Ltd., said the ‘work at home phenomenon’ means boundaries between workspace and personal environments are blurring. Kitchen spaces are expanding, becoming family hubs where multi-tasking can take place. Living room popularity is in decline, as open-concept great rooms, with higher, more dramatic ceilings, become bigger and incorporate libraries, parlours, and home offices in one.
 
RONA Adds Commercial Division

RONA inc. has a new division dedicated to the commercial and professional market. The commercial and professional market includes commercial accounts such as manufacturers and office buildings as well as contractors, plumbers, electricians, and other professionals providing renovation and maintenance services. In terms of volume, it represents a potential market of twice the size of the retail business. “Our increased presence in the commercial and professional market in recent years is a natural extension of our business model. In our view, this market has such potential on its own that we felt it was best to consolidate all related operations into one single division,” says RONA President and CEO Robert Dutton.

Sales Down In September

Retail sales edged down 0.2 per cent in September to an estimated $34.4 billion, due mainly to a decline in sales by new car dealers, says Statistics Canada. This is the third decrease in overall sales since May 2007. Since 2004, retail sales have generally been rising at a rapid clip. The second largest decrease was observed in furniture, home furnishings and electronics stores (-2.2 per cent). September sales remained relatively stable for home centres and hardware stores (+0.1 per cent) and specialized building material and garden stores (-0.1 per cent). In the third quarter of 2007, sales rose 1.7 per cent in the building materials and outdoor home supplies stores sector, continuing a quarterly sales growth trend that has been uninterrupted since the first quarter of 2004.
 
Homeowners Willing To Pay Premium For Green

Not only is the environment a top-of mind issue for many Canadian homeowners, but the majority are also willing to ante up a higher purchase price in support of their beliefs. The TD Canada Trust Green Building Poll found that 73 per cent of Canadian homeowners or those considering buying a home would be willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly features. They would consider choosing environmentally friendly features in their homes because they believe future energy cost savings are very important and that green features can improve the resale value.

CanWel Exclusive Distributor For Subflor

Longlac Wood Industries has named CanWel Building Materials Ltd. as the exclusive distributor for its Subflor brand basement subfloor system. The agreement will make this modular subfloor system available through independent lumberyards, buying groups, and regional chain stores across Canada. Subflor is a modular system designed for use over concrete floors.

Wal-Mart Best Employer For 50-Plus

Wal-Mart Canada is one of nine best employers for Canadians age 50 and above, says the Workplace Institute and a panel of professionals specializing in mature workforce issues. The only retailer on the list, Wal-Mart was recognized for its training, recognition, and workplace culture. Specific to its associates age 50 and up, the company is renowned for its creation of the greeter role and, more recently, for its focus on providing retiring Wal-Mart associates the opportunity to return as consultants, special project managers, or mentors on all matters of the business.

Home Depot Recycles Bulbs

The Home Depot Canada is rallying its employees and calling on its customers to recycle 1.5 million compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs by 2011. The challenge coincides with the in-store launch of its national CFL Bulb recycling program at all 160 The Home Depot locations. “To achieve our goal, all we need to do is recycle just one bulb from 1.5 million homes – that’s less than all of the homes in the GTA,” said Annette Verschuren, president of The Home Depot Canada and Asia. Because CFL bulbs should not be disposed of with regular household waste, Canadians can now bring in their expired CFLs to any The Home Depot store and be assured that each bulb will be recycled safely. 
 
Tembec Sales Decline

Tembec’s consolidated sales for the fourth quarter ended September 29 were $675 million, down from $781 million in the comparable period last year. Its net earnings were $22 million compared to a net loss of $52 million in the corresponding quarter ended September 30, 2006.

Lowe’s Profit Drops

Lowe's Cos. is citing a weak sales environment amid a continuing slump in the housing sector as reasons for a 10.2 per cent drop in third quarter profit. It earned $643 million for the three months ended November 2, down from $716 million a year earlier. Revenue rose to $11.6 billion from $11.2 billion a year earlier.
 
GE Money Adds Home Improvement Financing  

GE Money will let homeowners apply for home improvement financing without visiting a bank or retailer through its Website. The financing can be used with any GE-approved contractor to purchase materials and for a range of home improvement projects including room additions; kitchen and bath remodeling; the installation of windows, siding, and roofing; landscaping; pools; spas; and even energy-efficient improvements such as solar panel installations.
 
RONA Opens Fabrication Shop

RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop has opened in East Vancouver. RONA and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) have partnered with community organizations to launch the fabrication shop. It has been common practice at major multi-sport events to establish a Fabrication Shop to manufacture and supply many of the items that bring Games venues to life and complete the athlete and spectator experience.

Robichaud Wins National Award

U.J. Robichaud TIM-BR MART, in Meteghan Centre, NS, has won Canada’s prestigious Laurier de la PME 2007 – an award that recognizes the importance of francophone businesses outside Quebec to the Canadian economy. Marc Robichaud, great-great-grandson of founder Jean Pierre Robichaud and 5th generation running the family business, says “Receiving a national award for entrepreneurial excellence when we are celebrating our 140th anniversary tells us we are doing the right things at the right time.” U.J. Robichaud TIM-BR MART took the ‘Service’ category, beating out national competitors from a variety of industries like IT, television production, vacation resorts, and even farming operations.
 
Simple, Natural Paint Tones Predicted

A simplicity of colours will be the leading trend for paint in 2009 with an emphasis on grayer scales and an appreciation for rawness and natural blends – bringing whites, blacks, sandy hues, and warm organic greens to the forefront. Sonu Mathew, senior manager of residential and commercial design, outlined Benjamin Moore’s annual colour trends forecast for 2009. She says they don’t simply pull these predictions out of the air every year. Her team travels the world and closely measures the strongest, most promising movements. She says its evolving perception of the earth as a fragile environment, with limited resources, means colours will tone down and return to nature in 2009, giving rise to complex, yet sophisticated, blends featuring exciting new browns, copper, and orange.
 
Wal-Mart Outlines Efforts To Be Greener

Wal-Mart has detailed dozens of programs ranging from environmental to economic development and employee healthcare and ethics in overseas factories where it buys goods in a 64-page report. Most have been reported previously, but the is the first comprehensive catalogue of dozens of programs, from organic cotton clothes to low-energy freezer cases, launched since it set three green goals in October 2005. Those goals are to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that help sustain resources and the environment.

Composite Index Up In October

The composite index rose 0.1 per cent in October after a downward-revised gain of 0.3 per cent in September, says Statistics Canada. Of the 10 components, six increased, while four declined, the highest number of components to decline since October 2006. The weakness was concentrated in housing starts and new orders, which returned to more normal levels after exceptional gains in September. Growth was sustained by consumer spending and the financial sector.
 
Buyers Have Same Needs

Existing home buyers and those who buy brand-new houses both find their purchased homes fail to meet their expectations, says a report by the U.S. National Association of Realtors' Center for Real Estate Research. Existing home buyers usually don't get as large a house as they wanted. They ended up with less bedrooms or bathrooms, not enough closets and storage, and a smaller kitchen than they wanted. New home buyers fell short of these goals too, however, by not by as much.
 
Theft Costs World's Retailers $98.6 Billion

Global retail shrinkage (stock loss from crime or waste expressed as a percentage of retail sales) cost retailers $98.6 billion, representing an annual 'tax' on honest consumers of $287.70 per household in the U.S. and Europe, says the first edition of the Global Retail Theft Barometer. At the same time, the global costs of retail crime (the cost of theft by customers, disloyal employees, and suppliers and vendors, plus the cost of loss prevention) were $108.1 billion. The largest source of shrinkage was customer theft, responsible for 42 per cent of losses, or $41.5 billion. Employee theft accounted for 35.2 per cent ($34.6 billion), while 16.5 per cent ($16.2 billion) of the global cost was caused by internal errors and administrative failures such as pricing or accounting mistakes). Supplier or vendor theft and fraud are responsible for the remaining 6.3 per cent ($6.2 billion). In the U.S., Canada, and Australia, retailers reported that employee theft was higher than theft committed by customers.

Life Cycle Approach To Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging requires more than simply changing package weights or increasing recycling measures. The hard-hitting message at the Sustainable Packaging Technical Conference & Expo, hosted by Wal-Mart and the Packaging Association of Canada (PAC), was it takes a collective effort by all management to consider a “life cycle analysis” of a product. It begins by examining the design of a product and its packaging, right down to wasteful marketing practices, pallet requirements, and shipping areas – in turn, affecting fuel consumption and harmful CO2 emissions. Mario Pilozzi, president and CEO of Wal-Mart, spoke to more than 400 of its suppliers – the largest gathering on sustainable packaging in Canada to date. He said Wal-Mart is in “a unique position to affect positive change” and that they’re committed to reducing packaging by at least five per cent over the next five years.
 
Canfor Closes Mill

Canfor will permanently close a panel and fibre mill located in New Westminster, BC, after fibre inventories are used and mill equipment decommissioned. The mill makes specialty products including hardboard panels, erosion control wood mulch, and baled fibre. Canfor has interests in 33 facilities in B.C., Alberta, Quebec, Washington state, and North and South Carolina where it produces softwood lumber in Canada and oriented strand board, plywood, remanufactured lumber products, and specialized wood products.

Home Depot Earnings Slip

The Home Depot had net earnings of $1.1 billion for 2007, compared with $1.5 billion in 2006. Sales totaled $19 billion, a 3.5 per cent decrease from the third quarter last year. This reflects negative comparable store sales of 6.2 per cent.
 
Industry Addressing Manager Turnover  

The U.S. retail industry is accelerating efforts to reduce turnover in store management ranks, says a study by Career Management, a retail executive recruiting firm. The industry’s moves to make store management positions more appealing was underscored by the fact that more than 80 per cent of the companies surveyed indicated that their managers now average under 50 hours per week. Not too long ago, most managers worked at least 55 to 60 hours per week. The survey also found that store managers were eligible for performance bonuses at 92 per cent of surveyed companies.

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RONA Unveils Eco-Responsible Initiatives

RONA unveiled a series of ‘eco-responsibility’ initiatives. The initiatives include a selection of eco-responsible products and a new private brand product line, RONA Eco, to be launched in spring 2008. Eco-responsible products will be identified through a partnership with the International Industrial Chair in Life Cycle Assessment Methodology at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. The 2008 Spring Tradeshow – whose theme, ‘Building Canadian Potential,’ reflects its commitment to sustainable development–  brought together dealer-owners and managers from more than 670 RONA stores across Canada, as well as many of the company's suppliers.

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BMR Stars Beliveau

BMR Le Groupe marked the end of its 40th Anniversary year by bringing in a special guest speaker at its gala event to close its annual tradeshow. Montreal Canadien hockey playing great Jean Beliveau brought his best wishes to the 1,600 attendees at the event.

CICA Seeks Comment On Accounting Framework

The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) has released a draft version of a simplified accounting framework aimed at owner-managed businesses. "We believe the proposed framework will make the financial statements for these businesses easier to understand and more relevant to their needs," says Ron Salole, CICA vice-president, standards. "The framework is based on the existing CICA Accounting Handbook, but has its focus strictly on supporting owner-managed businesses." There are 1.7 million owner-managed businesses in Canada employing approximately 32 per cent of Canadian workers. The draft document, ‘Framework for Owner Managed Enterprises,’ can be found at www.cica.ca. Comments are being invited until January 31, 2008.
 
Canadian Tire Earnings Increase

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited had third quarter net earnings of $105.7 million, an increase of 10.8 per cent compared to $95.4 million in the third quarter of 2006. For the first nine months, net earnings were $292.5 million, up 18.8 per cent from $246.3 million for the comparable period in 2006.
 
Private Equity Firm Acquiring Restoration

Specialty home furnishings retailer Restoration Hardware Inc. agreed to sell itself to private equity firm Catterton Partners. If Restoration Hardware shareholders approve the deal, they will receive $6.70 in cash for each share they own. Several institutional shareholders of Restoration Hardware agreed to receive equity in Catterton Partners or one of its affiliates instead of cash as part of the deal.
 
Wal-Mart Sales Increase

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s October U.S. same-store sales climbed 0.4 per cent. Total sales for the four-week period ended November 2 grew 8.4 per cent to $27.92 billion. Wal-Mart Stores sales gained five per cent to $17.44 billion, while Sam's Club sales rose 5.3 per cent to $3.3 billion. International sales soared 19.2 per cent to $7.19 billion.

RONA Results Up  

RONA Inc.’s financial results are up in the third quarter of 2007. Sales for the quarter totalled $1.35 billion, up 6.7 per cent over the third quarter of 2006. RONA also improved its operating income by 11 per cent during the quarter, a result attributed to efficiency gains in the current network of 673 stores and eight distribution centres.


Home Stores Win Awards

Home Hardware – Lethbridge in Lethbridge , AB, is the Hardware Store of the Year and Home Building Centre – Vernon in Vernon , BC, is the Contractor-Specialist Dealer of the Year. Both were honoured at the Outstanding Retailer Awards during the National Hardware Show Canada. Receiving an award earlier this year was Adam Busscher, dealer-owner of Picton Home Hardware, in Picton, ON. He was honoured as the Best Young Retailer by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA).
 
Trex Swings To Loss

Trex Co. Inc., a manufacturer of decking, railing, and fencing products, swung to a loss in its third quarter due mainly to a large reserve for replacing defective decking material manufactured at one of its plants. For the quarter ended September 30, the company reported a loss of $41.2 million, compared to a profit of $4.6 million in the prior year quarter.

True Value Sales Down

True Value reported sales of $478.5 million for the third quarter, down 3.9 per cent from $497.9 million for the same period in 2006. The company saw a 1.6 per cent growth in warehouse shipments to True Value retailers. The company blamed sales declines in part on the timing of its annual fall market held within the fourth fiscal quarter. Revenue and profit from market activities benefited the third quarter in 2006 but will benefit the fourth quarter in 2007.
 
Wal-Mart Joins ‘Climate Initiative’

Wal-Mart Stores will join the Clinton Climate Initiative, a program sponsored by former President Bill Clinton with the goal of using purchasing resources to lower prices on ‘green’ products. The partnership also has the goal of collaborating on the design and development of new environmentally friendly products and practices, including developing specifications for new products and testing them.
 
Ainsworth Settles Law Suit

Canadian wood products manufacturer Ainsworth has become the second defendant to opt out of a U.S. class action law suit against oriented strand board (OSB) producers by agreeing to an $8.6 million settlement. In a prepared statement, the company denies all of the plaintiffs’ claims and says it has not violated U.S. anti-trust or any other laws. The decision to enter into the settlement is based on a need to avoid prolonged, expensive litigation.

IRLY Joining TIM-BR MARTS

IRLY Distributors Ltd. will join TIM-BR MARTS Ltd. effective January 1, 2008. Garry Anderson, Irly’s general manager of IRLY, says “By joining TIM-BR MARTS Ltd., we are able to meet a number of objectives, the most important being that we wanted to remain independent.” However, he also said that “joining a buying group with a national presence, especially one with a large west coast dealer network, lets us expand our distribution centre’s business base and realize shipping efficiencies.”
 
Canadian Operation Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Lumber producer Pope & Talbot has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada. The company cited a stronger Canadian dollar, coupled with record low demand for lumber as the reasons it needs protection from creditors. It produces market pulp and softwood lumber at mills in the United States and Canada.
 
Owens Corning Sales Fall

Owens Corning’s net income rose to $112 million from $62 million a year ago. However, sales fell as the housing market sagged. It has implemented a cost-cutting plan including cutting staff and capacity and reducing operational and corporate expenses in an effort to save $100 million in operating costs. Most of the plan is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter.
 
Currency Drives Down Prices

Sears Canada Inc. and Wal-Mart Canada are both moving their prices down to be more in line with U.S. prices. Both cite the rise in value of the Canadian dollar as the reason. Sears has identified categories where Canadians are being disadvantaged given the currency exchange rate and has taken action on prices in these categories. Wal-Mart will sell all books, magazines, greeting cards, and gift wrap at U.S. list prices.

RONA Opens New Concept Store

RONA Inc. has unveiled its new RONA Waterdown store. RONA Waterdown is the company's second big box store in Ontario to use only the name ‘RONA’ with no additional designation such as ‘Home & Garden.’ RONA is using this approach to gradually standardize the names of its stores. It is taking place as new stores are built and existing stores renovated.

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50 Years In Business

Lawrence and Cindy Gulka celebrated 50 years of their family being in the hardware business in Hudson Bay, SK. Lawrence's parents, Frank and Mary, began as Macleods store owners in May of 1957. Lawrence and Cindy were presented with a ‘Golden Hammer’ at TruServ’s Fall Buying Market in Winnipeg. From left are Wilf Gerhardt – regional manager for Western Canada; Cindy and Lawrence Gulka – Hudson Bay True Value owners; and Bill Morrison – president of TruServ Canada.

RCC Likes Tax Cuts

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has responded positively to the announcement in the fall Economic Statement that the federal government intends to reduce personal and corporate taxes. RCC believes that any tax measure, including the GST cut to five per cent, that puts money back into the pockets of Canadians is a positive step. Along with most economists, RCC's top priority was for reductions in the personal income tax burden in a way that is particularly beneficial for lower and middle income Canadians. The statement includes plans to cut these taxes as well.
 
Showcase Dates Set

The WRLA 2008 Prairie Showcase Buying Show and Convention will take place in Saskatoon, SK, January 17 to 19, 2008. One of the largest shows of its kind in Canada, it attracts retailers and other representatives of the lumber and home improvement industry from across Canada. For more information, visit http://www.wrla.org/ 

Pro Retail Forms Team Ace

Pro Retail Services has formed Team Ace Canada to work with ACE Hardware Corp. and renew the brand for the Canadian market place. The Ace Brand will be led from the Pro Retail Services office in Mississauga, ON. Team members include Tony DiEmanuele, vice-president, business development, who will have executive responsibilities to lead the Ace growth in Canada; and Janice Mundell, brand manager, responsible for launching the Vision 21 program that outlines the brand’s best practices.
 
Store Features Automated Customer Pick-up Service

Canadian Tire has opened a state-of-the-art facility, featuring the first automated customer pick-up service in the network. The 70,000 retail square foot store in Toronto, ON, was designed specifically to meet the needs of the surrounding communities and includes environmental features focused on energy conservation and sustainable urban solutions.
 
Sears Sales Down

Sears Canada reported third quarter net earnings of $105.2 million, a 178 per cent increase over net earnings from the same quarter last year. However, its revenues of $1.36 billion were down 2.9 per cent from last year’s $1.41 billion. The company’s earnings jump was due mostly to $55.9 million in real estate sales for the quarter.

Festival Focused On Green Building

The third annual Green Building Festival 2007 focused completely on sustainable building. Conference sessions featured the Holcim Foundation Awards for Sustainable Construction, Okotoks, The Brick Works, and others offering the best in green building design and execution. The tradeshow included more than 70 exhibitors from the sustainable building industry.
 
Black & Decker Earnings Drop

The Black & Decker Corporation’s net earnings for the third quarter of 2007 were $104.6 million, down from $125.1 million for the third quarter of 2006. Sales increased one per cent for the quarter to $1.6 billion. Sales in the power tools and accessories segment decreased three per cent, reflecting lower sales in North America. Sales in the Hardware and Home Improvement segment increased six per cent, driven by price increases and Kwikset's SmartSeries products.
 
CEO Emphasizes Commitment To Co-op Model

Bob Taylor, president and CEO of Do it Best Corp., says the co-op business model is the right fit for Do it Best Corp. During his annual address at the 2007 Do it Best October Market, he announced the highest rebate in the company’s history – $126.2 million. “So, while others might look to move away from a co-op structure, we embrace it and see it as the perfect way to align the interests of Do it Best Corp. with those of our members and keep our team focused on our number one goal … helping members grow.”
 
Newell Rubbermaid Profit Up

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. had a 56.9 per cent increase in third quarter profit, a result of a solid rise in sales. For the three months ending September 30, the maker of Sharpie pens, Rubbermaid trash cans, Graco car seats, and Calphalon cookware earned $170.2 million, compared to a profit of $108.5 million for the same period a year earlier.
 
Female Friendly Format Previewed

True Value has revealed its newest store format. The new store features a softer, more ‘female-friendly’ format. Focused on small home improvement projects, its intent is make hardware shopping less intimidating.”

Retail Sales Slipping For 2007

Overall, total retail should be up 5.5 per cent for the year. However, that is less than the 6.2 per cent annual gain recorded last year, says Kubas Consultants’ Retail Sales Outlook, Canada Q4 2007. Profitability could improve for retailers who rely on imports because of the recent appreciation of the Canadian dollar. However, consumers appear to be impatient to see price savings passed on. Its projection for 2008 total retail sales is $433 billion, a gain of 4.9 per cent, but another growth decline. However, this is still a higher annual growth rate than in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
 
Wal-Mart Spends Outside U.S.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will increase its spending on new stores outside the United States as it cuts back on growth at home amid slowing U.S. sales. It says 80 per cent of new stores abroad next year will be opened in just three of the 13 countries where it operates: Canada, Mexico and China. It plans to cut growth of U.S. stores to about 140 annually by 2009 from 195 this year and a past track record of about 280 a year.
 
Paslode Changing Name

Paslode Industrial is changing its name to ITW Industrial Fasteners. The subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works manufactures both the Paslode and Duo-Fast brands. The name was prompted by the segmentation of Paslode into two separate businesses – Paslode Construction and Paslode Industrial. Each of these businesses has its own business model and strategies and focuses on different trades. The name change to ITW Fastening underscores these differences and helps eliminate confusion.
 
PRIMCO Distributes Mercier Flooring

PRIMCO Limited will be the exclusive distributor of Mercier Wood Flooring in Western Canada and the Prairies. PRIMCO has more than 650 stores in its territory. 
 
HomeBuilder Show Returns

The 19th annual Concrete Canada, Construct Canada, DesignTrends, and PM Expo will again be part of HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo. Canada’s largest residential trade exposition attracts builders, renovators, architects, contractors, and specifiers. It takes place November 28 to 30 in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit http://www.homebuilderexpo.ca/
 
RONA Whitby Celebrated

RONA Inc. is celebrating the opening of its first big box in Ontario to use only the name ‘RONA,’ with no other designation such as ‘Home & Garden.’ RONA Whitby represents the 169th point of sale in Ontario for RONA and boasts a large greenhouse, a 16,000-square-foot outdoor garden centre, a 27,000-square-foot lumberyard, and more than 30,000 different products.
 
Grande Prairie Store Wins

Woodland TIM-BR MART, in Grande Prairie, AB, is the winner of the 2007 Outstanding Retailer Award  in the Best Building Supply/Home Centre of the Yearcategory. Steve Stremecki, vice-president of retail services, says “from their customer service philosophy to truly understanding the business needs of the contractor in their marketplace, Greg Bartolotta and the Woodland Grande Prairie Team are a great example of how to be an exceptional retailer.”

Retail Sales Increase In August

After two consecutive decreases in June and July, total retail sales increased 0.7 per cent in August to an estimated $34.5 billion, says Statistics Canada. The building and outdoor home supplies stores sector saw an increase of 0.7 per cent in its sales in August, offsetting most of the one per cent decline in July sales. The increase in this sector's sales was attributable to home centres and hardware stores which experienced a 1.2 per cent rebound in sales that had decreased in the previous two months. Sales by specialized building material and garden stores decreased for the second month in a row by 1.6 per cent.
 
2007’s National Hardware Show Canada Makes Strides

Home improvement retailers, wholesalers, distributors, dealers, and importers/exporters came together October 16 and 17 for the National Hardware Show Canada (NHSC). The show, a counterpoint to the spring National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, featured nearly 600 exhibitors and provides North American retailers with buying opportunities twice a year. Scott Temple, managing director of the show, says 70 per cent of this year’s show featured Canadian products – a sharp improvement from 2006. “It should become a truly national show … a buying and sourcing show for the entire country.” Temple says there were around 100 new exhibitors and that attendance increased by 10 per cent this year over last.
 
American Standard Wins Innovation Award

American Standard has won The Home Depot’s 2007 Innovation Award for its Speed Connect drain system. The annual award recognizes the most revolutionary new products that provide true benefits to consumers and the companies that exceeded expectations in sales, service, and program execution. Cub Cadet/MTD Products, Inc. received first runner-up honors for the industry's first zero turn lawn tractor and Cash Acme won second runner-up honors for its SharkBite Push Fittings, which provide an instant push-fit connection for water distribution pipes.  

Exit Planning Opportunities Discussed

The greatest generation of entrepreneurs in history is set to retire, and designing a successful exit strategy for them was the theme at the ‘$10 Trillion Dollar Opportunity’ seminar. Financial advisors and business owners learned how experts and authors are creating succession plans for this in-flux of business owners, which represents over $1 trillion in wealth in Canada. Richard E. Jackim, of The Exit Planning Institute, and Perry Phillips, of ESOP Builders Inc. – co-authors of ‘The $10 Trillion Opportunity - Canadian Edition’ – were on hand to talk about the need for and value of exit planning and the benefits of an employee share ownership plan (ESOP) for transitioning businesses.

RCC Defends Prices

Criticism of retailers over the prices on imported consumer goods is unfair, says The Retail Council of Canada (RCC). It says critics fail to fully recognize the business facts facing Canadian retailers in this current economy. The reality is that, in most cases, retailers have not been able to reduce their prices because their merchandise costs have not declined, despite the strengthening of the Canadian dollar. As well, Canadian manufacturers, importers, and wholesalers have retained the benefits of the appreciation of the dollar and have not passed the savings on to retailers and their customers. Retailers report that their merchandise costs for identical national-brand products supplied by brand owners and their Canadian representatives, are anywhere between 20 and 50 per cent higher than prices offered to U.S. retailers.
 
Home Depot Adds RenewABILITY System

RenewABILITY Energy’s Power-Pipe Drain Water Heat Recovery systems is now being sold on The Home Depot Canada website. It conserves energy by transferring the heat from an outgoing warm drain to incoming cold freshwater. It can be used with any type of plumbing systems.

Recalls Increase Concerns

Each product recall results in increasing concerns about manufacturing and distribution processes and decreasing consumer trust, says a report from the National Quality Institute. "Product recalls are becoming a major concern for consumers and manufacturers," says Allan Ebedes, the institute’s president and CEO. The study recommends that manufacturers and suppliers share the responsibility of design excellence and quality controls.
 
Wal-Mart Retrofits Store Lighting

Wal-Mart Canada plans to retrofit 1.75 million lights in its entire chain of 293 outlets with higher efficiency bulbs, ensuring year-round energy reductions with no effect on lighting quality in stores. The move follows Wal-Mart's summertime two-thirds lighting program in which store lights nationwide were dimmed by one third to reduce energy use, summer smog, and store impacts on local power grids.

TruServ Newsmaker Of Year

TruServ Canada Inc. has been chosen as the 2007 Newsmaker of the Year. The award is given each year to a retail organization that has distinguished itself in the news and in the industry. TruServ Canada’s taking over the management of CanWel Hardware’s retail banner business under ProRetail Services; its successful implementation of a new state-of-the-art ERP system; the maximization of its channel opportunities outside the home improvement industry; and its conversion to a corporation were cited as the reasons for the award. The National Hardware Show Canada also saw the 2007 Outstanding Hardware Retailer Awards presented. They are Best Hardware Store – Home Hardware, Lethbridge, AB; Best Large Store Retailer – RONA Regina, Regina SK; Best Contractor/Specialist Dealer – Home Hardware Building Centre, Vernon, BC; Best Young Retailer – John Albi, RONA Hardware, Newcastle, ON; and Genevieve Gagnon, Cheneville, QC, BMR; and Best Building Supply Dealer – Woodland TIM-BR-MART, Grande Prairie, AB.
 
Bombay Sold

Home decor retailer Bombay Company would continue operating in Canada under a deal which would all of its U.S. assets liquidated. Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources won an auction for the company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. The two investment groups have proposed that Canadian retailers Bowring and Benix help keep the Canadian stores open. The company operates a total of 384 retail outlets in the United States and Canada.

Someone Needed Onsite

The great majority of Chinese companies want to produce quality goods, but are not always sure how to do that, says Sue Dempsey, of OnSpex. Speaking on ‘Sourcing standards – ensuring quality and standards for offshore products’ at a Hardlines session at the National Hardware Show Canada, she said anyone doing business with China who wants to avoid the recalls that have arisen in recent months needs to have someone onsite to ensure standards are being met.
 
Composite Index Up In September

The composite leading index rose 0.4 per cent in September, a slight improvement on its 0.3 per cent gain in August, says Statistics Canada. More importantly, the index showed little or no effect from the turmoil in some parts of financial markets that began in mid-August. In particular, there were concerns that unsettled financial market conditions would affect output and employment, but strong gains in housing starts and jobs in September showed that these were unfounded.

Spring Shows Up In October

Spring was in the air October 11 at The Home Depot Canada’s semi-annual Product Showcase. Held at Toronto’s Distillery District Fermenting Cellar, the event featured Home Depot’s newest products available for Spring 2008. Vendors were on hand demonstrating innovative lines from tools and lawn and garden to décor and lighting. The show also highlighted Home Depot’s recently expanded focus on Eco Options products – aimed at helping consumers save more money, time, and resources.

Pro Retail Partners With Ace

Pro Retail Services and Ace Hardware Corp. have developed an enhanced partnership to build the retail brand in Canada providing independent hardware and lumber retailers with a strong brand alternative. The new partnership gives Pro Retail access to Ace’s world-wide buying power and programs, control brands, and global distribution program for import products. Tony DiEmanuele, vice-president, business development for Pro Retail Services, says “The combination of Ace Hardware’s worldwide buying power and successful retail models allows us to provide our independent operators with the best brand alternative and, arguably, the best choice.”
 
Older Consumers Greener

As consumers get older, their concern about environmentally friendly products increases, says research from the NPD Group. In the category of home insulation products, 82 per cent of respondents 55 years and older believe buying eco-friendly materials is important. Comparatively, 77 per cent of those aged 44 to 54 agreed, 70 per cent of those aged 35 to 44 agreed and 63 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 agreed. In home lighting, 68 per cent of respondents 55 and over said eco-friendly products are important, while 64 per cent of those between 45 and 54 agreed.
 
Impact Of Currency Examined

Has the dollar provided some relief for manufacturers and importers faced with years of rising costs and shrinking margins? The answer is a qualified “somewhat,” but certainly nowhere near what it would appear just looking at the exchange rate in isolation, says ‘Costs vs. Currency,’ a position paper by the Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association. The consensus of respondents is that the market will adjust through time as current inventories and the hedged dollar obligations work their way through the system, but this will take months. However, it warns that if the dollar starts to free-fall, the already fragile hardware and housewares industry in Canada will not be able to ward off drastic people cuts, factory and distribution centre closings, and a general decline in service from vendors located in Canada.

Permits Top $6 Billion

The value of building permits surpassed the $6 billion mark for the fourth consecutive month in August with strong performances in both residential and non-residential sectors, says Statistics Canada. Municipalities issued permits worth $6.3 billion, up 1.4 per cent from $6.2 billion in July, pointing to a busy fall in the construction industry. The value of permits hit its highest level on record at $6.9 billion in both May and June.

RONA Expands Rewards Program

RONA has expanded its relationship with Alliance Data Systems Corporation's Canadian Air Miles Reward Program. A subsidiary of RONA, Reno-Depot, will now offer Air Miles Reward Miles to customers including do-it-yourself renovators and professionals at its 15 big box stores in the province of Quebec.

Fewer Renovations Will Cost More

While fewer Canadian home owners are planning to renovate than in previous years, home improvement spending is on the rise, says a study by RBC/Ipsos Reid. The study shows renovation plans are down almost everywhere in Canada except for Saskatchewan and Manitoba. While intentions are down overall, renovators anticipate spending more on their renovations with the average spend moving to $9,850 from $8,982 in 2006 and $8,834 in 2005.

Code Does Little To Support Energy Efficiency

The Consumers Council of Canada says the majority of Canadian provinces and territories have inadequate energy efficiency provisions in their building codes for houses. As well, its ‘Energy Efficiency in Building Codes’ report provides a series of recommendations to help protect home buyers from rising energy costs and fight global warming. The National Building Code, which does not consider energy efficiency or even incorporate a minimum level of insulation and thermal efficiency for windows, has been adopted by Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Territories. The only provinces with building codes that consider energy efficiency in new house construction are British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and to a lesser extent Alberta.

Richelieu Has Satisfactory Results

Richelieu Hardware had its 47th consecutive quarter of sales and earnings growth for its third quarter ended August 31, 2007. The third quarter brought the strongest sales increase since the beginning of the year, yielding sales of $111.9 million, up by 16.3 per cent or $15.7 million. Sales to retailers including renovation superstores were up by 19.2 per cent due to significant growth in all product categories and the initial benefits of the agreement Richelieu recently concluded with a major Canadian renovation chain, to whom it will supply a line of functional hardware products over several years.

Canadian Tire Gets Bigger, Better

Canadian Tire Corporation’s strategic direction for the 2008-2012 period is to build a bigger and better Canadian Tire through a continued focus on growth and productivity. It plans to pursue a number of avenues for growth over the next five years, including growth of each of its retail businesses through ongoing expansions and store upgrades and a broadened assortment of merchandise within the retail network.
 
Home Depot Tests Female Friendly Stores

Home Depot plans to build two showroom-style Home Depot Design Centers’ which it hopes will be friendly to female shoppers. The showrooms, in California and North Carolina, will include a large, upscale furnishings showroom and more decorative items catered to residential consumers, particularly women.

Sustainable Packaging Conference Set

Mario Pilozzi, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Canada, will give the keynote address at the Sustainable Packaging Conference & Exposition. With space for 100 exhibitors, it will discuss real solutions to issues of sustainable packaging. It takes place November 13 in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit http://www.pac.ca/.
 
Cocoon Cellulose e-branded As GreenFiber

US GreenFiber, LLC, is re-branding Cocoon insulation, changing the name to GreenFiber to promote the natural fibre advantages of the company’s cellulose insulation. The company has re-designed its packaging and Website to reflect the brand’s unique positioning in the marketplace. “The name GreenFiber represents our product’s content and sustainability, and it offers a clear and immediate explanation of one of its key benefits,” says Harold Pinkston, director of marketing for US GreenFiber. It is made of 85 per cent recycled content with the company diverting approximately 500,000 tons of paper product from landfills each year.
 
Sears Canada Moves Head Office

Sears Canada Inc. is moving its head office to Toronto's Eaton Centre, just a few blocks away from its current Jarvis Street location in Toronto, ON. The new headquarters will fill the top four floors of the eight floors that Sears occupies at the building. The four floors have recently sat empty.

Beaulieu Speaks At NBMDA

Brian Beaulieu, executive director of the Institute for Trend Research, will discusses the real threats that face today's global business cycle at the North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) 2007 Annual Convention & Tabletop Business Session. Set for November 3 and 4 in Colorado Springs, CO. the event is designed to be an executive-level interchange between trading partners coupled with stimulating educational opportunities. For more information, visit http://www.nbmda.org/events/.
 
Lowe’s To Open New Stores

Lowe's Cos. plans to open another 135 to 145 new stores in the U.S. In a presentation to investors, the company said it plans to open stores in large metropolitan areas. In addition to opening its first store in Canada this year, it has more than 20 stores in development and stores in Mexico in the works.

etail Sales Dropped

Retail sales decreased for the second consecutive month in July as a result of widespread declines, says Statistics Canada. Retail sales fell 0.8 per cent to an estimated $34.3 billion, mainly due to a decline in the automotive sector and a slight decrease in five other retail sectors. A significant decrease was observed in the building and outdoor home supplies stores sector (-1.1 per cent). Sales in the sector declined after sharply increasing in May (+5.4 per cent) and edging up in June (+0.3 per cent). The decline was mainly due to lower sales in home centres and hardware stores (-0.9 per cent) for the second consecutive month, as well as in specialized building material and garden stores (-1.8 per cent).

Castle Grows In West

Castle Building Centres has added Lumberworld Inc. in Victoria, BC, as a member. Serving the consumer, contractor, and builder requirements of the southern Vancouver Island market, Lumberworld joins its growing base of independent members in western Canada.

Arrow Joins TIM-BR-Marts

Arrow Construction Products Limited has joined TIM-BR MARTS Ltd. In business since 1979, Arrow has grown to become an independent wholesaler of specialty construction materials. With six locations throughout the Atlantic provinces, four in New Brunswick and one each in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and a 100 per cent construction customer-base, this new union will strengthen TIM-BR MART’s presence in Canada’s eastern provinces.
 
Moen President Earns Award  

Mike Dennis, president of Moen Incorporated Canada and Latin America , has been awarded the Joseph K. Seidner Award at the annual Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating’s (CIPH) Annual Business Conference.  Dennis received the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Canadian plumbing codes and standards. Dennis is a 13-year member of CIPH’s plumbing industry advisory council, including six years as chair. He is also a founding member of, and active participant on, the Canadian Advisory Council on Plumbing.

Lowe’s Stores Open In December

Lowe's Cos. Inc. will open its first three stores in Canada December 10. The opening of the Toronto area stores will be followed by the launch of the three stores in late January or early February. The first six stores will all be in Southern Ontario. A seventh store will open soon after. Lowe's has gained an edge by appealing to women, who drive many of the buying decisions in the home improvement market. The stores carry a wide array of appliances, and focus on home décor items such as lighting and carpets.
 
Home Depot Closes Landscape Supply Stores

The Home Depot Inc. plans to close its 11 Landscape Supply stores within the next two months. The closures of the five stores in the Atlanta area and six stores in the Dallas area are part of Home Depot's efforts to focus more resources on its core retail business. Home Depot's first Landscape Supply store opened in 2002. The stores catered to the specific needs of the professional customer, as well as the project-oriented do-it-yourselfer.

Composite Index Up In August

The composite leading index rose 0.3 per cent in August, equalling its average monthly gain over the last three months, says Statistics Canada. Household demand remained the engine of growth, led by robust housing market conditions. Financial market conditions softened over the summer, but manufacturing activity firmed. Household demand advanced across the board. Housing starts rebounded in August, offsetting a dip in the sales of existing homes.

RONA Buys Dick’s

RONA has increased its presence in British Columbia by acquiring lumber, building materials, and hardware specialist Dick's Lumber. With the addition of Dick's Lumber’s three specialized stores in the Vancouver area, RONA will have 54 stores in BC. Dick's Lumber is a family-owned private company founded in 1964 by Dick and Delma Alexander. The company generated more than $100 million in sales in the last 12 months. 

Theft Cost $40 Billion

Customer and employee theft cost the average small independent retailer in Canada about $13,000 in the last year, says Steve Levy, president, Canadian market research, Eastern Canada, Ipsos Reid. Presenting the ‘2007 Canadian Security Report’ at the Retail Council of Canada’s annual Retail Loss Prevention Conference, he said the total cost to the industry last year was $40 billion. Most incidents involved the theft of items under $50.
 
Canadian Tire To Sell Invention

Hang & Level, the picture hanging tool invented in a Calgary couple's basement and first sold last year, is going on sale at Canadian Tire stores across the country. Liette Tousignant, an interior decorator, and her husband Kelly Krake, a business consultant, set out 10 years ago to eliminate the frustration from hanging pictures. They sold the first Hang & Level at a small hardware store in Calgary, AB, and this week, it enters Canadian Tire. It solves the picture hanging problem by marking exactly where a nail or hook goes, meaning you only make one hole in your wall. It allows you to hang pictures exactly where you want them on the very first try.

Castle Adding Two Brands

Castle Building Centres Group plans to launch two new banner brands, says James Jones, its vice-president of national marketing. Speaking to a CHHMA breakfast, he said the plan is an attempt to capture more independents in the home improvement sector. A commercial building specialty banner, Commercial Building Supplies Inc., was created two months ago to attract dealers who do significant commercial and industrial business. The other banner will attempt to attract specialty dealers in windows and doors and kitchen and bath. 

Conference Celebrates Business Innovation

Innovation and opportunity will also be the focus of a presentation by Jim Thompson, senior vice-president, merchandising, for Wal-Mart Canada, at the Hardlines Conference at the National Building Show Canada. Marketing ‘green’ products to consumers and contractors will be the focus of other sessions. For more information, visit http://www.nationalhardwareshowcanada.ca.

Home Hardware Show Opens

More than 10,000 Home Hardware Dealers and vendors are expected to gather for Home Hardware’s 2007 Fall Market. Its dealer/owners attend the market to learn about new products and network with fellow dealers, suppliers, and staff from across Canada. Dealers also have the opportunity to preview and purchase the latest merchandise for the spring/summer season. “I have always believed that any renovation project, large or small is really about managing change and meeting the needs of tomorrow,” says Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO, Home Hardware Stores Limited. “The Home Hardware Markets provide a great forum for our dealers to discuss best practices and help our company continually renovate our business as we grow and evolve together to meet the needs of consumers.”
 
Do it Best Profits To Members Exceed $126 Million

Do it Best Corp. ended its 2007 fiscal year with a 3.4 per cent increase in overall profitability, driven by a 4.4 per cent increase in sales through distribution. The co-op will be returning a record-setting $126.2 million rebate to its member/owners. “This year, the Do it Best Corp. team and our member/owners turned in the most positive bottom line performance in our company’s history,” says Bob Taylor, president and CEO. “What makes this even more impressive is that this was accomplished in the face of a slumping housing market, softness in some regional economies, and continued high fuel prices. Once again, our team’s ability to control expenses and increase productivity has been a key factor in controlling overhead and helping us maintain our position as the most efficient co-op in the industry.”
 
New Products Unveiled At Garden Expo 2007

New products are the main draw for attendees at Garden Expo/Florist Expo, a trade show that caters to the lawn, garden, floral, and outdoor living industries. “This is truly a one stop shopping experience for our trade,” says Paul Day, trade show manager. “More than 250 new products will be introduced at this year’s show will make it to the store shelves for spring. Our first-ever New Products Showcase is designed to highlight trends and what’s hot.” The new product introductions will be on display at Garden Expo October 16 and 17 in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit www.gardenexpo.ca.

Home Show Celebrates Sustainable Thanksgiving

With more than 400 exhibits, Green Street, and a new Condo City Living section, the 22nd annual International Home Show running Thanksgiving Weekend (October 5 to 8) in Toronto, ON, is helping consumers enhance their homes by offering eco friendly and economical choices that will improve their daily living and the environment. For more information, visit www.internationalhomeshow.ca

First INTERAC Chip Debit Card Transaction Carried Out

As part of its commitment to providing the safest and most secure payment network, Interac Association has completed Canada’s first INTERAC debit card transaction at the point-of-sale terminal using chip technology. The transaction was processed by TD Merchant Services using a BMO Bank of Montreal chip debit card at Mercato Giovanni's Fresh Food located in downtown Toronto, ON. Beginning in fall 2007, merchants and cardholders will start to see the introduction of cards, Automated Banking Machines, and merchant terminals that feature chip technology and, within three years, it is expected that the majority of Canadians will be able to fully benefit from this new technology.

IRLY Joins NRHA Canada

IRLY Distributors, the B.C.-based buying group and wholesale distributor, has become a member of the North American Retail Hardware Association Canada. IRLY’s board of directors wanted to access NRHA Canada’s product knowledge training programs for each of its 43 member dealers. “We felt strongly that this training was an important tool for the independent dealer,” says Garry Anderson, IRLY’s general manager. “A couple of our dealers had already tried it and insisted we make it available to all our members. It’s effective because each dealer can monitor the progress of their staff as they go through all the courses.”
 

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