GMS announces acquisition

Gypsum Management & Supply Inc. announced it has reached a deal to acquire Yvon Building Supply Inc., Yvon Insulation Corporation, Yvon Insulation Windsor, Laminated Glass Technologies Inc., and Right Fit Foam Insulation Ltd. The transaction is expected to close in July. Yvon provides drywall, insulation, steel, and ceilings from seven locations across Ontario. Following the close of the transaction, the newly acquired businesses are expected to continue to operate under their existing brand names and under the leadership of current Yvon president Tom Scott.

Castle announces 2024/25 Trade Scholarship program

Castle Building Centres Group has recently announced its 2024/25 Trade Scholarship program, which is open to applications from the public. “We are trying to do our part to invest in the future of the skilled trades workforce, and to help aspiring tradespeople achieve their goals,” said a Castle spokesperson. Castle is offering the opportunity to earn a $2,500 Trade Scholarship to any student enrolled in an eligible skilled trade program at a recognized Canadian trade college. Deadline for applications is Aug. 16, 2024.

Retail theft is a growing concern—but so is consumer backlash

Major retailers are getting increasingly creative at combatting theft, but balancing security with customer service is a delicate act. Retail Council of Canada CEO Diane Brisebois told CBC News that organized retail crime is a growing problem. “We’re talking here about gangs that are in the business of stealing, and retail is the new frontier.”

That concern has some retailers turning to such measures as wheel locks on shopping carts, random receipt checks, and metal or plexiglass barriers. But some analysts warn those are blunt instruments unless retailers can distinguish between suspicious activity and innocent customers.

“There’s a feeling that you’re a thief in the making until you prove otherwise,” Vancouver retail consultant David Ian Gray told the CBC. “The current status quo is just bad for shopper experience, and that’s not what you want when you’re in retail.”

Construction spending up in March

Month over month, investment in building construction increased 4.5 percent to $20.4 billion in March, StatCan has announced. The residential sector rose 5.4 percent to $14.3 billion, while investment in the non-residential sector decreased 2.3 percent to $6.1 billion. Seven provinces logged increases in residential construction spending, led by Ontario and Quebec. Investment in detached single-family homes grew 6.5 percent to $7.3 billion in March, up for the eighth consecutive month.

Walmart reports strong Q1

Walmart posted Q1 earnings of $5.10 billion, or $0.63 per share, up from $1.67 billion ($0.21) a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of $0.60 per share exceeded analyst estimates of $0.53. Revenues increased by six percent to $161.51 billion, from $152.3 billion in Q1 of 2023, beating expectations of $159.6 billion. In Canada, sales grew by 3.9 percent to $5.3 billion.

Throwback Thursday: Ten years ago, we reported on RONA’s new focus on independents

Throwback Thursday is a regular weekly feature in which we dip into the archives of the Hardlines Weekly Report.

On May 19, 2014, almost 10 years ago, we reported on the (then) new focus on independents at RONA. We quoted Luc Rodier, then senior VP of RONA inc., about how the media around the (first) attempt by Lowe’s Cos. in 2012 to buy RONA had made some dealers feel neglected and disenfranchised.

“Yes, a number of dealers have gone to other banners, and that’s all part of the dynamic of the market.” Rodier headed up a successful push to serve RONA affiliate dealers. Lowe’s Cos. succeeded in buying RONA inc. two years later, in 2016.

Nominations open for 2024 Outstanding Retailer Awards

Hardlines is now receiving entries for the 2024 Outstanding Retailer Awards. All Canadian hardware and home improvement retailers and managers who have operated under their current ownership for at least two years are eligible.

Dealers may submit their entries directly to Hardlines. Alternatively, their chain or buying group head offices may select their best dealer(s) and prepare their entries for them in collaboration with the dealer. Head offices may enter more than one store per category. In addition, suppliers may identify specific outstanding retailers for entry.

ORA submissions are due June 14.

(To fill out the ORA application, please visit; or contact our Editor-in-Chief, Steve Payne, for further information. Le formulaire est également disponible en français.)

Walmart extends use of drones for home delivery

Walmart has increased its range of drone use for deliveries in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. The company started with drones in that area last August, but the addition of a couple more Walmart stores with the service at the end of April means up to 75 percent of area residents can now access the service. Products weighing up to 4.5kg can be delivered by drones.

Cologne trade show company partners to expand in Middle East

Koelnmesse, whose events include Eisenwarenmesse—the International Hardware Fair in Cologne, Germany—has partnered with another international trade show company, dmg events. They have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on developing key trade exhibitions across the Middle East. This strategic partnership will combine their respective brands to take advantage of growth opportunities in those growing markets, including a possible show for the hardware and tools segment.

Lafarge pilots recycled-cement production

Lafarge Canada and Geocycle Canada have completed a pilot at the Lafarge Brookfield Cement Plant in Nova Scotia. The project uses recycled minerals recovered from waste sources to produce high-quality clinker, the main ingredient in cement. The result is 100 percent recycled cement which, in turn, is the main component of concrete. The aim is to reduce CO2 levels by as much as 60 percent per tonne of clinker. Both Lafarge Canada and Geocycle Canada are part of Holcim Group.