"The world is the sum-total of our vital possibilities." - José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955)
vol. viii, #15 April 15, 2002  
* Home Depot takes lead as top retailer * House of Tools gets offer from U.S. chain * Sodisco-Howden seeks efficiencies through consolidation * Housing starts jump in March * Doman makes late loan payment
MEET THE BUYERS: Canadian Tire announces it will join Hardlines BREAKFAST SEMINAR

Key buyers from some of Canada's leading companies will gather on May 15 to explain how to approach their buying teams with new products and programs. This half-day seminar is ideal for any company attempting to make inroads with Canada's top retailers - and for anyone already supplying them who wishes to sharpen their focus. So far we've confirmed: * Suzanne Morgan, Lead Buyer for décor products at Canadian Tire Corp. * Luc Lemonde, Vice-President Merchandising, Sodisco-Howden Group * Peter Vernon, Merchant for the Hardware Department (Tools and Hardware) at Home Depot * Bernie Schneider and Dan McMurdy from Ace Hardware Canada * James Jones, General Merchandising Manager for Réno-Dépôt and Building Box * Buyer from Home Hardware Stores (tba)

We're filling up fast - so book today! Only $149 for subscribers, $249 for non-subscribers (+ appropriate taxes). To register, call Nancy Wright at 416.489.3396, or email her at: nancy@hardlines.ca

Want to sponsor this exciting event? Call Beverly Allen, Marketing Manager at (416)489-3396 or email: bev@hardlines.ca.
Toronto, ON - When Home Depot in Atlanta announced sales of US$53.6 billion for fiscal 2001, the increase across the company was 17%. But sales by the Canadian division grew much faster, says a new study for Hardlines Quarterly Report. The Canadian operation, under president Annette Verschuren, is part of the International division, which grew by 18%. While the Canadian division does not break out its sales, Home Depot grew its top line in Canada by an estimated 21% in 2001. Sales went from $2.78 billion in 2000 to an estimated $3.36 billion last year, putting it slightly ahead of Canadian Tire's hardware and home improvement sales, estimated at $3.21 billion last year, and ahead of Home Hardware and Rona Inc. The company also increased its store count over the past year. In 2001 it built 11 stores, for a total of 78 by the end of the calendar year.
Edmonton, AB - House of Tools, a privately held specialty chain with hardware stores in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, has entered into an agreement to sell to Western Tool Supply. The California-based chain has provided a letter of intent to purchase House of Tools. The offer is subject to due diligence. Western Tool Supply has a similar product mix to the Canadian retailer, namely a focus on hand and power tools, accessories and fasteners aimed at the contractor and industrial market. It has 30 stores throughout Washington, Oregon and California, plus one outlet in Idaho. And like House of Tools, it has a strong web presence, selling tools and fasteners online. House of Tools, which has been in business for 40 years, established online sales in 1998, and now ships across the country. If the deal goes through as planned, Jon Nobleman, one of the two acting partners in the business, will continue to operate House of Tools. The other acting partner, Doran Viner, is expected to retire. Sales by House of Tools were an estimated $57 million in 2001, with almost two-thirds of that going to contractors and professionals. Western Tool Supply, also a private company, does not disclose its sales.
Phoenix, AZ - Sodisco-Howden Group has finally achieved the efficiencies it needs to operate effectively, says CEO Jos Wintermans. He was speaking at the annual general meeting of Castle Building Centres. "Over the last 11 years these companies have been together, there really hasn't been consolidation until now," he said. Sodisco bought up London, ON-based D.H.Howden & Co. in 1990. The company struggled with defining the powers of two buying teams ever since. But since Wintermans took over last year, he has been committed to streamlining operations, despite two disparate cultures working out of three offices. The buying functions have recently been moved from Sodisco's warehouse in Victoriaville, QC and the Howden distribution centre in London into its corporate headquarters in Montréal. Wintermans pointed out that during his tenure, SHG has improved its picking and packing efficiencies by 20%-25%. Also during this period, inventories have been reduced by 25%, while fill rates have improved.
Canadian Tire 31.85 18.50 30.98
Canfor 12.60 8.08 10.30
Emco 9.55 3.35 9.00
Goodfellow 11.90 8.00 11.40
Home Depot 53.73 30.30 50.36
Hudson's Bay 20.10 12.50 14.85
Lowe's Cos. 48.88 24.99 44.78
Sears Canada 25.00 12.50 20.10
Sodisco-Howden 2.63 0.75 1.90
Taiga Forest 12.75 7.00 11.95
West Fraser 44.42 26.13 41.50
As construction begins on a new Wal-Mart store in Moncton, NB, dealers in the area are expressing concern that Home Depot may take another look at this city for a store of its own. The 130,000-sq.ft. Wal-Mart is going up on a site where Home Depot owns property, which is just across the highway from a power centre that includes a Kent superstore. Doman Industries Ltd. managed to make its semi-annual interest payment on its outstanding US$388 million 8.75% senior unsecured notes. The original deadline for the payment was March 15, 2002. The company will continue its ongoing operations and the board of directors will continue to review and consider strategic and restructuring alternatives. Sears Canada will open a Furniture, Appliances and Home Improvement store in Toronto's west end in early Summer 2002. The 52,000-sq.ft. store will be devoted exclusively to furniture, décor, major appliances, and home improvement products. Sears has 37 such stores across the country so far, 18 of them in Ontario. A developer who works closely with Target Stores in the U.S. says the department store chain looks at Canada with growing interest, especially since Wal-Mart is so successful here. He was speaking at a real estate conference here. Sales for Wal-Mart during March reached US$21.489 billion, up 14.5% over March 2001. Year-to-date sales were US$38.696 billion, an increase of 15.0%. The Wal-Mart division's sales were US$13.947 billion, up 17.0%. Same-store sales for Wal-Mart stores were up 10.7% year-over-year; for Sam's Club the increase was 4.1%.
Jim Ramsden, formerly at Revy Home Centres as vice-president operations for its Prairie division, has been appointed vice-president operations at Dryco Building Supply, a Delroc member with eight stores based in Langley, BC. (604-533-2313) Steve Kennedy has left his post as general manager of Maytag Canada to join Newell Rubbermaid as group general manager in Mississauga, ON for its picture frame division, which comprises Intercraft, Burnes of Boston and Connoisseur; and its cookware division, with Wearever, Mirro and Calphalon. (905-275-3705) At its latest annual general meeting, the Canadian Hardware and Housewares Manufacturers Association announced its new board of directors. Newly elected are: Tim Hunt, general manager of Emerson Tool Co. Canada Bob Kendall, general manager of Ipex Homerite ProductsStewart Mathie, vice-president consumer products for Drummond Metal Products. Continuing their involvement with board are: Tony Duffy, vice-president sales and marketing for Tremco Inc. Gerry Byle, general manager of Honeywell Consumer ProductsJohn Seymour of Hamilton-Beach Proctor Silex, was re-elected as treasurer … Fred Pierce of Patrick Plastics remains past chairman. The board in turn has elected its executive: Pierre Vachon, general sales manager at Sico Inc. enters his second term as CHHMA chair … Jim Rotz of Pyrene Corp. is first vice-chair, Wendy Hanson of Varimpo Products is second vice-chair … Retiring from board: Murray Irvine of Energizer Canada and Gary Lawless of T.S. Simms (who is also retiring from the industry in June after 40-plus years with Simms). (416-282-0022)
Housing starts in Canada increased 10.9% seasonally adjusted in March to 199,800 units, from 180,100 units in February, according to CMHC. Urban singles were up 3.4%, while multiple starts rose 27.0%. Actual urban housing starts for January to March this year are 31.2% higher than the same period last year - 32,571 units compared with 24,823 units. The single detached market increased 32.5% and multiples increased 29.9% during that time. Residential construction will continue to drive housing starts, says Statistics Canada, as building intentions for February remained unchanged from January's 11-month high. The value of building permits for commercial construction was down 10.8%, however, so the total value of building permits issued by municipalities was down 4.2% in February. Consumers continue to spend, but at a more modest pace, indicate the latest numbers on retail spending from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Sales grew to US$297.34 from February to March, as the country continues to climb out of last year's recession.
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