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News

April 20, 2018

Groupe Godin Returns TO RONA

Five stores owned by Groupe Godin have returned to the RONA family. Founded in 1979, Groupe Godin opened its first store in Namur, in the Outaouais, QC, region. In addition to its first store, it has stores in Lachute and Grenville, QC; and in Ontario in Dunvegan and L’Orignal. Four of the group’s five stores have been renovated in recent years to better meet the needs of local customers. In 2015, Groupe Godin was awarded the Conqueror award by the Quebec Hardware and Building Supply Association (AQMAT) for its numerous growth and improvement projects. Today, the company is co-directed by the founders’ children ‒ Joël, Jérôme, Marc, and Nathalie. RONA is a banner of Lowe’s Canada.

 


IKEA Canada Opens Kingston Collection Point

IKEA Canada has added a collection point location in Kingston, ON. Customers can now shop online for IKEA home furnishings and have them delivered to this collection point for $29, regardless of the size and value of the purchase. Customers who wish to have home delivery can do so for $49. The collection point is not an IKEA store and is owned by third party service provider Dicom. Products are not available for purchase at the location. IKEA Canada has also lowered the price of home delivery in the Ottawa, ON, market as part of a service pricing test. Customers within the region can now have their store or online purchases delivered to the room of their choice in their home or business for a flat rate beginning at $29. Parcel deliveries are now $7 and Click & Collect purchases are $5.


Homeowners Spending More Time Outdoors

More than half of U.S. homeowners spend more time entertaining outside after completing landscaping projects, says the ‘Houzz 2018 Landscaping Survey.’ As well, more than a quarter of homeowners report that their usable outdoor area is significantly larger than that of their home. The study shows that homeowners invest in a variety of elements during landscaping projects that make their outdoor areas more livable including ample seating for family and guests with lounge furniture (43 per cent), dining furniture (34 per cent), and benches (27 per cent). The addition of fire pits (38 per cent), ceiling fans (15 per cent), and patio heaters (14 per cent), allow people to entertain outdoors year-round and new string lights (35 per cent) and rugs (14 per cent) suggest a focus on exterior ambiance. Technology also plays a role in making the yard entertainment-ready. Of the nearly one in five homeowners who added or upgraded entertainment systems during their landscaping projects (18 per cent), 59 per cent opted for a new television, followed by wired and solar speakers (48 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively). Homeowners also added wired and solar charging stations (14 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively).


Wood Moulding Demand Sluggish To 2022

Demand for wood moulding and trim is projected to increase 3.7 per cent annually to $5.5 billion in 2022, the slowest rate of advance of any material type, says a report by the Freedonia Group. However, wood will still account for more than half of moulding and trim sales in 2022. Demand growth will be driven by a strong rise in office, commercial, and institutional building construction activity, growth in interior trim product sales, and the need to replace worn or damaged existing wood products. Interior moulding is expected to continue to account for the majority of wood moulding and trim demand. However, wood is used extensively in all three product segments, which distinguishes it from other materials.

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April 19, 2018

Castle Gains Western Canada Member

Bamfield Builders Supply Ltd. has joined Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. The Bamfield, BC, dealer has been serving the local area for more than 20 years. Owners Bob Baden and Kelly Bartlett have built their business on serving the needs of the Bamfield community and neighbouring First Nations village of Anacla. The dealer offers an extensive selection of building material products and hardware, while also catering to the local community and climate by providing a selection of sporting goods and outdoor gear. The independent business owners chose Castle because they felt it was the best choice for their business and brand, offering them the ability to expand product lines with support for growth at a more rapid pace. The store will undergo a rebranding to Castle Building Centres and is planning a grand re-opening to the community in late spring.


GMREB Lauds Residential Support Program

The Greater Montréal Real Estate Board (GMREB) welcomes the city of Montréal's creation of the new Residential Acquisition Support Program. Because homeownership is a real issue for people wanting to acquire a property in Montréal, GMREB says thousands of citizens, including families, will benefit from financial assistance ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 when purchasing a home, depending on the type of buyer and property. “We particularly welcome the fact that buyers of an existing home will be entitled to a subsidy ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 to pay the transfer taxes,” says Mathieu Cousineau, president of the GMREB board of directors. Statistics Canada says the homeownership rate in the Montréal census metropolitan area stands at 55.7 per cent. The national average is 67.8 per cent. GMREB says it applauds all measures that allow for the reimbursement of transfer taxes and encourages other municipalities to follow suit in order to facilitate homeownership.


Renoworks Creates Coronado Stone Visualizer Software

Renoworks Software Inc. has partnered with Coronado Stone Products to create Stone Visualizer, a web-based design experience built upon Renoworks' visualization software and technologies. Stone Visualizer allows Coronado affiliates (distributors, contractors, and homeowners) to design homes with a variety of manufactured stone veneer, thin brick, tile, and precast products. The visualization capabilities allow users to access photo-realistic displays of products, colours, and textures.


Demand For Metal Roofing On The Rise

Making homes climate-ready is driving strong demand for materials like metal roofing that offer greater durability to protect homes, says the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA. Its latest survey shows that interest in metal roofing is continuing to rise, with no signs of slowing. Research by the MRA indicates that homeowners prize durability over other factors when choosing a new roof with severe weather and climate-related factors being top of mind for many. Homeowners are also interested in lessening the impact on the earth’s resources. Metal roofing lasts 50 years plus, can be recycled at the end of its long life rather than dumped into the landfill, and is energy efficient. Quality metal roof coatings can also mean lower long-term maintenance by naturally resisting moss and fungus. That reduces the need for strong chemical treatments that can be harmful to the environment.


UFPI Has Record First-quarter Sales

Universal Forest Products, Inc.’s gross sales for the first quarter of 2018 increased 18 per cent over gross sales for the first quarter of 2017. The retail and industrial markets gross sales increased 19 per cent and the construction market increased 16 per cent. Net earnings were $32.8 million for the quarter, up 56 per cent year-over-year. EBITDA was $53.4 million, up 14 per cent over the year-ago period. New product sales were $103.9 million, up from $86.2 million last year.


April 18, 2018

Manufacturing Sales Increase Slightly

Manufacturing sales increased 1.9 per cent to $55.8 billion in February, following two consecutive monthly decreases, says Statistics Canada. The growth was due mainly to higher sales in the transportation equipment industry. Sales were up in 14 of 21 industries, representing 72.2 per cent of the total Canadian manufacturing sector. In constant dollars, sales rose two per cent, slightly more than the gain in current dollar sales, reflecting a slight decrease in prices of products sold by Canadian manufacturers. Sales rose in six provinces; Ontario and Quebec were the main contributors to this growth. British Columbia posted the largest monthly decrease (1.3 per cent) and its fourth consecutive monthly decline. Total inventories rose 1.3 per cent to a record high $77.4 billion in February. This was the fifth consecutive monthly gain in inventories, with 14 of 21 industries posting increases. The inventory-to-sales ratio edged down from 1.4 in January to 1.39 in February. The inventory-to-sales ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level. Unfilled orders rose three per cent to $89.7, the second consecutive monthly gain. New orders rose five per cent to $58.4 billion.


Changes Needed To Keep Retail Competitive

Eighty-three per cent of Canadian shoppers made an online purchase from an international retailer, indicating a need for competitive prices and priority international shipping, says the ‘UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper’ study. As well, while online shoppers still find value in shopping at physical stores, higher prices and lack of product availability are driving Canadians to shop internationally, more so than all the other countries surveyed. While using a single channel is the preferred purchase method for 60 per cent of Canadians, four out of 10 online shoppers in Canada are searching on one channel and purchasing via another, highlighting the importance of both the online and in-store experiences. Consumers also expect quick fulfillment of online orders, speedy delivery, and simple returns. Sixty-four per cent of Canadians have shipped back an item to the retailer versus returning it to a physical store and 51 per cent indicate they found it easier to return online.


North Bay Home Of Newest Member

New North Exteriors, located in North Bay, ON, has joined the Castle Building Centres group. It will offer a full line of building material products, while specializing in the supply and install of exterior products and serving the building material needs of the community and surrounding area. Owners David Bruneau and Sophie Belanger have over 30 years of experience and purchased the business location just over a year ago. They realized that to grow their business to the next level, they needed to join a buying group.


Positive Home Sales In Montreal CMA

The Montreal census metropolitan area (CMA) had 12,311 residential sales in the first quarter of 2018, a seven per cent increase compared to the first quarter of 2017, says the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB). This was the 15th consecutive quarterly increase in sales and the best first quarter sales result in seven years. Among the three property categories, condominiums took the lead with a 17 per cent jump in sales. The 4,278 condo transactions that were concluded in the first quarter of 2018 represent a new first quarter sales record. Sales of single-family homes (7,005) registered a more modest increase of two per cent, while sales of plexes with two to five dwellings (1,019) rose by five per cent. All the main areas of the Montréal CMA registered an increase in sales.


Duradek Launches Visualizer Tool

Duradek has launched Dek-Vision, an online design tool to assist homeowners, builders, and remodelers create deck makeover plans with Duradek vinyl waterproof membranes. The tool is available on the Duradek website and is free to use. It comes pre-loaded with eight deck image options that cover a variety of the most common deck types. Users can experiment with the deck surface, the railing colour, and the siding. They can also upload a photo of their own deck and try out options of vinyl deck patterns and colours.


April 17, 2018

Quebec Residential Sales Increase

The province of Quebec had 22,050 residential sales for the first quarter of 2018, a three per cent increase compared to the first quarter of 2017, says the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB). This was the 15th consecutive quarterly increase in sales and the best start to the year since 2012. In total, 15,020 single-family homes, 5,260 condominiums, and 1,679 plexes changed hands in the quarter. The number of properties for sale continued to fall as the drop in supply continued for a ninth consecutive quarter. In total, 68,423 residential properties were listed on the Centris system in Québec, a nine per cent decrease compared to the first quarter of 2017. The number of active listings decreased for all three property categories, falling eight per cent for single-family homes, 13 per cent for condominiums, and four per cent for plexes.


ECO Product Program Rolled Out

Lowe's Canada has rolled out of its ECO product program in all corporate and participating affiliated RONA, Reno-Depot, and Lowe's stores across the country. The program aims to help consumers reduce the environmental footprint of their home improvement and construction projects by offering and clearly identifying with the ECO seal over 3,500 products that represent more environmentally-friendly alternatives. "Lowe's Canada acknowledges having a role to play in improving the environmental performance of the construction and home improvement industry in Canada which is why offering our customers a range of products characterized by a smaller environmental footprint is one of the three pillars of our corporate responsibility approach," says Jean-Sébastien Lamoureux, senior vice-president, communications, public affairs and compliance, at Lowe's Canada. "With this program, we want to make it easier for consumers who want to choose products that reduce the environmental footprint of their projects by clearly identifying ECO products in stores and online and by highlighting the many benefits these products offer." The ECO product selection process is based on recognized environmental certifications as well as on the life cycle approach.


BMR Gets New Dealer

RONA D.E. Landry in Saint-François-de-Madawaskamoves has joined Groupe BMR. This is the third New Brunswick dealer to join the banner in less than a month. Joey Landry, fourth-generation owner of the family business as of last March, decided to join BMR because of its quality products and services. “BMR is very aware of its impact on local communities and its values align perfectly with ours,” he says. Groupe BMR now has 12 stores in the province.


Structube Opens Ontario Megastore

Contemporary and modern home furniture retailer Structube has opened its first Ontario megastore in Hamilton, ON. The 18,000-square-foot store will provide a large selection of SKUs and free instore pick-up for all online purchases. The company currently operates over 60 showroom locations across Canada, which range in size between 3,000 to 50,000 square feet. The brand initially launched the megastore concept in 2017 in Montreal, QC; the Hamilton store is the second location.


Giant Tiger Opens In St. Thomas

Giant Tiger has opened a store in St. Thomas, ON. The 23,300-square-foot store will offer home and family fashions, brand-name groceries, and everyday necessities.


2018 Structural Panel Production Remains Steady

Structural panel production in North America projected to be over one billion square feet in 2018, says the ‘2018 Structural Panel & Engineered Wood Yearbook,’ released by APA – The Engineered Wood Association. It says little has changed in terms of the supply-side constraints that have inhibited homebuilders and apartment developers from responding to the increased demand for new housing units. Unemployment in the construction industry is at an historic low and lot supply is tight. Adding to these concerns for the prospective level of residential construction is the policy decisions made in Washington, DC. However, despite concerns, household growth in the U.S. has picked up and housing starts in 2017 of 1.2 million units were insufficient to keep up with demand for both owner and renter occupied units. The forecast calls for housing starts in the U.S. to approach 1.3 million units in 2018. Single-family starts are projected to account for roughly 70 per cent of the starts. Canadian housing starts in 2017 were near 220,000 and projected at 210,000 units in 2018.


April 16, 2018

March Home Sales Improve Slightly

National home sales edged higher from February to March, says the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Home sales inched up 1.3 per cent with actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity down 22.7 per cent from last year's all-time March record. The number of newly-listed homes rose 3.3 per cent from February to March and the MLS Home Price Index

(HPI) in March was up 4.6 per cent year-over-year. The national average sale price declined by 10.4 per cent year-over-year. Sales were up from the previous month in over half of all local housing markets, led by Ottawa, ON, and Montreal, QC. Monthly sales gains were offset by declines in British Columbia's lower mainland, the Okanagan Region, and Chilliwack and in Calgary and Edmonton, AB. CREA says government policy changes have made home buyers and sellers increasingly uncertain about the outlook for home prices. These changes are fueling demand for lower-priced homes while shrinking the pool of qualified buyers for higher-priced homes.


Castle Holds AGM In San Diego

Castle Building Centres Group returned to the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA, to celebrate its 55th Annual General Meeting.

The iconic hotel seen the likes of 12 American presidents, countless Hollywood stars, and the rich and famous from all over the globe. The event drew close to 450 Castle shareholders, vendor partners, and their families. Throughout the week, guests experienced exclusive events on and off-site and had the opportunity to participate in educational presentations including Castle360 business sessions. Peter Mansbridge, Canadian journalist and public figure, delivered the keynote address highlighting some of his most memorable journeys around the world.


Spring Market Theme 'One Solution'

Home Hardware Stores Limited's '2018 Spring Dealer Market' launched at the company's main warehouse in St. Jacob's, ON, on Sunday. The theme of the market is 'One Solution' and will include the unveiling of the latest Beauti-Tone colour card with the Toronto Blue Jays and keynote speaker Marnie McBean, a three-time Olympic gold medallist in rowing.

The event takes place until April 17 and is not open to the public.


Lowe's Canada Raises Funds For Locker Room

Lowe's Canada is launching a fundraising campaign to renovate the Humboldt Broncos locker room in the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt SK.

For the next month, RONA and Lowe's customers across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba will be invited to donate $1 toward this cause. Lowe's Canada will match every dollar collected up to $10,000. "I have been in close contact with the Broncos for many years, and, like many of us in Humboldt, I felt compelled to help our community heal by taking action after the tragedy," says Evan Pronych, owner of the RONA Humboldt Lumber Mart dealer store and instigator of this initiative.

"Several people within the Broncos organization and the Humboldt community have suggested that giving the Broncos a new locker room, which needs renovations, could help us grieve and, when the time comes, move forward as a community." Sixteen people died, including 10 players, and another 13 were injured after a transport truck and a bus taking the Humboldt Broncos to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game on April 6 collided at a rural intersection.


Employers Offering Perks To Stand Out

Canadian employers are offering a variety of perks to their employees to supplement typical compensation and benefits packages, and to set themselves apart from competitors. The Conference Board of Canada's 'Perks at Work report' shows that at the top of the range in terms of value are perks such as perquisite and car allowances, while the most common perks include professional membership reimbursement, mobile phones, employee parking, and education grants. Of the Canadian organizations surveyed, 90 per cent offer professional membership reimbursement and 86 per cent offer mobile phones. A majority of responding organizations also offer employee parking (76 per cent), employee education grants (60 per cent), and car allowances (56 per cent). The most common perks offered to all employees tend to be those available on location at an organization's office such as on-site fitness centres and on-site child care.


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