Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


February 16, 2018

Home Sales Decline Sharply

National home sales fell sharply in January, says The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), declining 14.5 per cent from December to January. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 2.4 per cent year-over-year. The number of newly- listed homes also declined, down 21.6 per cent from December. Activity was down in three-quarters of all local markets in Canada, including virtually all major urban centres. Many of the larger declines in percentage terms were posted in Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) market in Ontario where sales had picked up late last year following the announcement of tighter mortgage rules coming into effect in January. By contrast, sales were up on a year-over-year basis in the lower mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and the Okanagan region; Edmonton, AB; Montreal, QC; greater Moncton, NB; and Halifax-Dartmouth, NS. There were five months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2018, which is close to the long-term average of 5.2 months.

Lowe’s Opens First Manitoba Store

Lowe’s Canada has opened its 64th store under the Lowe’s banner in Canada. Located Winnipeg, MB, this store is the first Lowe’s location to open in Manitoba. The store features a retail offering space totaling 115,000 square feet, including 95,000 square feet of retail sales space and an adjacent garden centre of 20,000 square feet. It offers 40,000 products in-stock with thousands more available through special order and on the Lowe’s Canada website. The store will also offer appliances, barbecues, seasonal products, outdoor products, and home décor products. The store has been outfitted with sustainable development initiatives including LED light fixtures, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, high-energy efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, and an automated building energy management system.

Bona US Relocates

Bona US is moving its north and south American headquarters to the Denver Tech Center in Englewood, CO. It will serve as new office space, training centre, and machine maintenance facility. The move is expected to take place late in 2018. The 74,209-square-foot building is almost double the area of the company’s current Aurora, CO, facility. This increase in size promotes its goals for expansion.

West Elm Opening Second Toronto Store

West Elm, a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio of brands, opened its second location in Toronto, ON (sixth in Canada). The 16,295-square-foot store will offer customers an array of locally made products alongside the brand’s spring assortment of home furnishings and décor. West Elm North Toronto will also offer Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s cross-brand design consultation program Design Crew, which pairs customers with experts who can provide design and installation services. The new midtown location comes three months after the launch of parent company Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s eCommerce websites in Canada.

Retail Sales Rise At Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited’s consolidated retail sales increased $215.8 million, or 4.9 per cent, in the fourth quarter over the same period a year ago. Excluding petroleum, consolidated retail sales were up 4.1 per cent over the same period last year. Consolidated revenue increased $323 million, or 8.9 per cent in the fourth quarter. Excluding petroleum, consolidated revenue increased 8.4 per cent. Consolidated EBITDA increased by 10.2 per cent year-over-year. The retail segment revenue increased $300.5 million, or nine per cent; excluding petroleum, the retail segment revenue increased 8.5 per cent. Canadian Tire Retail had a retail sales increase of 3.8 per cent and same store sales were up 3.5 per cent. The retail segment revenue increased $695.7 million, or 6.1 per cent; excluding petroleum, the retail segment revenue was up 5.1 per cent.

February 15, 2018

Remote Payment Sales To Pass $3.3 Trillion

The value of consumer spend on remote payments for digital and physical goods will surpass $3.3 trillion this year, an increase of 10 per cent over 2017’s total of $3 trillion, says a study by Juniper Research. ‘Mobile & Online Remote Payments for Digital & Physical Goods: Opportunities & Forecasts 2018-2022’ shows that alternative payment mechanisms would comprise an ever-increasing proportion of online spend. PayPal already accounts for 20 per cent of mobile and online physical goods transactions made outside China, while the success of Alipay and Weixin Pay within China means that these two players combined now account for 45 per cent of global payment volumes.

Awareness Day To Increase Consumer Battery Recycling

Call2Recycle, a North American consumer battery stewardship and recycling program, encourages Canadian and American consumers to ‘lead the charge’ on National Battery Day ‒ February 18. The annual awareness day asks consumers and organizations to scour their homes and offices – especially junk drawers, closets, and garages – for used batteries which they can bring to a Call2Recycle drop-off location or they can start their own programs. While battery recycling is offered year-round, National Battery Day spotlights how batteries power the world along with the need for responsible disposal once they reach their end-of-life. And research shows there is great room for growth and engagement. In Canada, 81 per cent of consumers are aware of battery recycling, with 58 per cent actively participating. Participating retailers are reminded to talk to their customers about recycling on National Battery Day.

DuPont Corian Launches Resilience Technology

The DuPont Corian design business has developed a manufacturing process called Resilience Technology, enabling the production of a solid surface featuring damage forgiveness, easier and quicker stain removal, and less need for maintenance. The company says this technology reduces physical damage from scratching, heat, and impact, typical of daily usage in commercial and residential environments. The technology is also renewable by occasional washing with water and a slightly abrasive pad. This gentle washing removes low-level scratches. The technology will be initially used to make four new colours of Corian Solid Surface – summit white, stratus (a grey tone), keystone (inspired by concrete), and cool grey – which are going to be commercialized globally starting February.

Energy Efficiency Appeal Drives Building Automation

A rapid transformation is taking place in the global building automation systems (BAS) markets, says Frost & Sullivan in its BAS forecast. The internet of things (IoT), rising popularity of energy efficient LED lights, increasing reliance on wireless technologies, and concern for overall building energy consumption are all drivers of the trend. ‘World Building Automation Systems (BAS) Markets, Forecast to 2022’ also shows the convergence and integration of security and surveillance into BAS as the significance of building security continues to rise. “Cutting-edge technologies involving IoT, big data, and cloud platforms have made it convenient to gather and normalize data from buildings to help analyze the energy usage trends and facilitate fault detection and monitoring of the overall building energy performance,” says Suba Arunkumar, research manager. “However, these technology advancements will only thrive if suppliers can develop security features strong enough to offset customer fears about hacking or system failure.” The report forecasts that the BAS market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3 per cent through 2022.

Lumber Liquidators Shares Flooring Trends

Imperfection and Scandinavian casual are just two of the trends for flooring this year. Lumber Liquidators says trends this year will focus on character with unique features like distressed textures, multi-hues, mixed widths, and extra-long planks. The retailer says the top trend is embracing imperfection where authenticity is a goal in home décor and design. The look of natural striking tones, unpredictable grain patterns, natural knots, and cracks communicate this character. Scandinavian casual consists of soft and natural aesthetics with whites, greys, and light browns to create welcoming, calm, and cozy spaces. Oceanic hues will also be popular, with blues continuing to be a strong, fresh décor trend that exude a vibrant vibe. Waterproof and water-resistant flooring will also continue to expand this season.

LP Has Strong Fourth Quarter

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP) had total net sales of $711 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 29 per cent over total net sales of $550 million for the fourth quarter of 2016. Operating income was $155 million compared to $56 million in 2016. Income from continuing operations was $131 million for the quarter, versus income from continuing operations of $43 million last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $199 million versus $85 million. The siding segment had net sales of $213 million versus $169 million year over year; the oriented strand board (OSB) segment had net sales of $358 million versus $276 million; and the engineered wood products (EWP) segment had net sales of $92 million, up 38 per cent from the year-ago quarter.

Industry Speakers Featured At HOP

Robert Fodor from Interac Corp.; Daniel Lampron from Patrick Morin; Maxime Lavoie from BBQ Quebec; and Sylvie Tardif from Groupe BMR Inc.; are just some of the guest speakers at this year’s HOP Retail Summit. HOP, a creation of the Quebec Retail Coucil (CQCD), is an annual conference for the retail sector in Quebec. It takes place March 20 to 21 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montreal, QC. For more information, visit HOP

February 14, 2018

Small Business Needs Fairer Tax Measures

Fairer tax measures and incentives for innovation and youth hiring are at the top of small business owners' priorities for the upcoming federal budget, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). “With tax season rapidly approaching, Canadian small business owners are telling us that the government's proposed tax changes are still top of mind. There is not enough clarity on the new income-sprinkling rules and we remain concerned that the proposed passive rules will hurt owners' ability to save and reinvest in their business,” says Dan Kelly, CFIB's president. “We're urging the government to listen to the senate's recommendations and put off implementing any tax changes until they fully analyze the impacts of these changes on the economy.” CFIB stresses that it is especially critical that Canada supports its small businesses to remain competitive as the U.S. introduces business-friendly tax reforms. With payroll taxes, such as CPP, increasing for the next seven years and sharp minimum wage increases across the country, small businesses are also looking to the federal government to provide some relief for their skyrocketing labour costs.

Slight Rise in Non-residential Building Prices

Contractors' prices for new non-residential building construction rose 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, says Statistics Canada. Higher prices to build industrial (+0.9 per cent), commercial (+0.7 per cent), and institutional (+0.9 per cent) structures all contributed to the gain. Prices for new non-residential building construction were up in all seven census metropolitan areas surveyed, led by Vancouver, BC. Contractors reported rising costs for lumber, concrete formwork, plastic, copper, and fuel-related inputs. Rebuilding activities in the U.S. after an active 2017 hurricane season contributed to higher prices for these materials. From August to October, four hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. causing widespread damage. Over the four quarters ending in December, contractors' prices for new non-residential building construction rose 3.1 per cent. Higher prices in Vancouver (+5.9 per cent) and Montréal, QC, (+4.4 per cent) led the increase.

Home Hardware Extends Aeroplan Partnership

Home Hardware Stores Limited has renewed its partnership with Aeroplan, a coalition loyalty program owned by Aimia Inc. Aeroplan has five million active members, who can earn Aeroplan Miles for purchases at any of Home Hardware’s 1,100 locations and online. Home Hardware will continue to leverage Aeroplan’s data analytics insights and capabilities

CertainTeed Canada Joins Millionaires Club

CertainTeed Insulation Canada insulation plant in Ottawa, ON, has been inducted into the ‘Saint-Gobain’s Millionaires Club’ ‒ a program designed by the parent company to reward plants that have operated at least one million work hours without a lost-time accident. The plant is only the 12th out of 66 Saint-Gobain insulation facilities worldwide to be awarded this honour. The company celebrated its employees at two dinner and dance events. The plant will now be able to use the Millionaires Club logo in communications and erect signage featuring the logo inside and outside the facility to promote the accomplishment.

Forests Ontario Award Winners Announced

Forester Jamie McRae earned the ‘2018 Ontario Wood Award’ at the Forests Ontario's annual conference. It acknowledges his contributions to the positive promotion of the Ontario Wood brand. A fifth-generation forester, McRae's family history dates back to the forestry boom of the mid-1890s. He currently manages the McRae Lumber Company, based out of Whitney, ON. In recent years, he began volunteering with Forestry Connects, a Forests Ontario program dedicated to educating high school students about the forestry industry via field trips. The ‘2018 Green Legacy Award’ – given annually to a visionary corporate partner that has been instrumental in ensuring a green legacy for future generations – was awarded to TD Bank Group. As the official sponsor of the Heritage Tree Program that celebrates historically significant trees, TD Tree Bee, an interactive tree-identification website, and community tree planting events, TD Bank is recognized for its commitment to re-greening communities.

Acquisition Drives Eastern Sales

The Eastern Company had sales of $54.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to sales of $34.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2016. Net loss for the quarter was $200,000, compared to net income of $2.7 million in the year-ago period. The industrial hardware segment sales grew by 107 per cent, partially due to the acquisition of Velvac. Excluding the acquisition, the segment grew by six per cent year over year. The security product segment sales grew by nine per cent over the year-ago period.

Backyard Oasis Focus Of Spring Expo

Visitors can shop, sample, and learn from experts at the ‘2018 Backyard Living Expo + Barbecue + Beverage.’ This year’s event will include the Weber Grill Main Stage, Designer Source Area, Springfree Outdoor Play Zone, Outdoor Lifestyle Backyard Oasis, and Urban Retreat. It takes place April 6 to 8 at the International Centre in Mississauga, ON. For more information, click here

February 13, 2018

Technology Drives 2018 Builder Trends

Home connectivity, improved engineered products, and customization are some of the trends in home construction and repair/remodeling design identified by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. The trends identified include the internet of things (IoT) technologies opening the door-to-whole-home connectivity. The firm says Amazon’s Alexa and other personal assistants have opened the flood gates for smart home products, especially in home security, plumbing, appliances, and HVAC. As well, today’s engineered products offer great design and less maintenance. They look increasingly like their natural counterparts, often at better or comparable prices. Customization has also become simpler. John Burns says customizable product offerings this year focused on minimizing costs and complexity for the consumer. Standouts included private-label hardware options, mix-and-match handle/spout colours and finishes, and appliance panel customizing options. Backed by significant consumer research, building products companies continue to offer new products to stay one step ahead of the competition, says the firm.

Dodge Momentum Index Slides

The Dodge Momentum Index dropped 5.1 per cent in January to 143.7 from the revised December reading of 151.5. The index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for non-residential building projects in planning in the U.S., which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. The commercial component of the index was 7.8 per cent lower in the month, while the institutional component was down 0.9 per cent. The fourth quarter of 2017 was particularly strong and January’s retreat returns it to a more sustainable level. On a year-over-year basis, the index is 7.7 per cent higher, with both the commercial and institutional components showing growth over January 2017. This suggests that non-residential building construction should continue to post moderate gains in 2018.

Strong Growth Forecast For Fall Protection Equipment

The global fall protection equipment market is expected to grow by more than five per cent from 2018 to 2022, says research by Technavio. The rise in global construction activity is a key driver supporting the growth because any construction workplace that is elevated requires the use of fall protection equipment for workers. And, although the construction industry witnessed a significant dip during the global recession of 2008, the market is witnessing a steady revival with the recovery of the global economy. Technavio says the increase in urbanization and the growth of the population are necessitating growth in infrastructure along with an increase in residential and commercial establishments. This bodes well for the growth of the construction industry and the fall protection equipment market.

Mohawk Earnings Climb

Mohawk Industries, Inc. net earnings were $240 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase compared to net earnings of $234 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Adjusted net earnings were $256 million, a five per cent increase over adjusted net earnings of $243 million. Net sales for the quarter were $2.4 billion, up 8.5 per cent over net sales of $2.2 billion in the year-ago period. The global ceramic segment sales increased 10 per cent year over year, while the flooring North America segment's sales increased three per cent and the flooring rest of the world segment's sales increased 18 per cent.

February 12, 2018

Businesses Need To Upgrade Payment Systems

Businesses of all sizes need to upgrade their payment systems because the current way Canadian businesses process payments costs them $2.9 to $6.5 billion annually, says a study by Payments Canada and Ernst and Young LLP (EY Canada). It shows that delays in payments processing and a lack of data and transparency in payment messaging create a number of inefficiencies for small, medium, and large enterprises. Current processes are labour intensive and provide poor visibility into supply chain and collections. They offer a limited predictability of cash inflows and outflows and cause difficulty in tracking cross-border payments. The report says the small businesses have a continued reliance on manual processes and legacy technology. The introduction of new systems, rules, and standards as part of Payments Canada's modernization program will foster a faster, safer, and more data-rich payments environment. Besides the introduction of new systems for high-value, batch retail, and real-time payments – which will operate under an enhanced risk, regulatory, and rules framework – the primary efficiency enhancement for businesses is anticipated to come from adopting the ISO 20022 data standard. The standard enables the transfer of rich data with payments, a change that has the potential to improve automation and efficiency, reducing many of the pain points in accounts payable and receivable, particularly for those organizations processing large volumes of payments. The full study is available here

Home Sales Strong In Montreal

A total of 2,598 residential sales were concluded in January in the Montreal census metropolitan area (CMA), an increase of 13 per cent over January 2017, says the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB). This was the best January sales result in eight years. All six main areas of the Montréal CMA registered an increase in sales in January, with Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (80 sales) and the South Shore (628 sales) leading the way with respective sales increases of 31 and 22 per cent. Laval and the Island of Montréal went head-to-head, as both of these areas registered an 11 per cent rise in sales. On the North Shore and in Vaudreuil-Soulanges sales were up by nine per cent and seven per cent, respectively. For a fourth consecutive quarter, condominiums registered the largest increase in sales, this time jumping by 19 per cent. Plexes and single-family homes weren't far behind, with respective increases of 15 and 10 per cent.

BMR Renovation Centre Celebrates Grand Re-opening

La Coop Unicoop held a grand re-opening for its BMR renovation centre in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, QC. The store underwent a $150,000 renovation to optimize the layout and modernize the facility. The store, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary, now meets BMR standards. The retail and energy division of Unicoop operates 10 renovation centres and hardware stores in the Beauce, Bellechasse, Montmagny, and Orleans regions in Quebec.

Molson Speaks For CTEQ

Andrew Molson, a seventh generation of the Molson family, has been appointed as the spokesperson for Le Centre de transfert d'entreprise du Québec (CTEQ), an organization that supports entrepreneurs with a comprehensive approach to business transition. His mission will be to raise business succession planning awareness amongst owner-managers/entrepreneurs in Quebec. “All over Quebec, there are men and women at retirement age who are still passionate about the companies they run,” says Molson. “However, they have to learn how to step aside for the good of all they have created over the years. As spokesperson, I hope to get entrepreneurs thinking about succession, particularly those who care deeply about the future of the businesses they have invested so much time and effort in.”

Beacon Sales Up 12 Per Cent

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. sales were $1.12 billion in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 12 per cent over sales of $1 billion in the first quarter of 2017. Residential roofing product sales increased 11.1 per cent, non-residential roofing product sales increased 5.4 per cent, and complementary product sales increased 27.5 per cent over the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA grew 7.4 per cent to $86 million versus $80 million in the prior year. Net income for the quarter was $67.6 million, compared to $20.4 million in 2017. Adjusted net income was $46.7 million compared to $34.4 million a year ago.

Simpson Has Double Digit Increase

Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. had consolidated net sales of $231.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 16 per cent compared to consolidated net sales of $200.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2016. North America net sales of $190.9 million increased 10 per cent compared to $172.8 million. Gross profit for the quarter was $102.7 million, an increase of eight per cent compared to gross profit of $95 million in the year-ago period. Income from operations was $24.7 million, a decrease of five per cent compared to income of $26.1 million a year ago. Consolidated net income was $13.1 million compared to net income of $17.4 million.

Home Show Features Outdoor Trends

Livable outdoor spaces with specific purposes, cozy fire and water elements, and simplicity and low maintenance are just some of the outdoor trends for 2018 from HGTV’s ‘Curb Appeal.’ More from Curb Appeal and other home and garden specialists, including designers, celebrities, top retailers will be featured at the ‘2018 National Home Show’ presented by RE/MAX and co-located with Canada Blooms. It takes place March 9 to 18 at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, in Toronto, ON. For more information, visit

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