"I'm still a dreamer, and dreamers survive/I'll keep chasing rainbows each day I'm alive." - Waylon Jennings (country music legend, 1937-2002)
vol. viii, #16 April 22, 2002  
* Home Depot Canada focuses on traditional stores * Kent continues roll-out of mini-big boxes * Rona streamlines big box operations * Can-Save makes management changes

An incredible morning meeting with buyers from Canada's top home improvement retailers! If you haven't already signed up, click here for all the information.

St. John, NB - Kent Building Supplies is currently expanding its presence in Woodstock, NB with a larger 55,000-sq.ft. outlet that will replace an existing 12,000-sq.ft. location. This will be Kent's second refurbishing of an existing location, to fit a "mini" big box format. And in Rothesay, NB a 60,000-sq.ft. outlet is replacing an 11,000-sq.ft. store. Kent already has seven big boxes in addition to its 12 traditional format stores. The last one was opened in St. John's, NF. The store, in Mt. Pearl, is the second big box for Kent in that market. Kent will direct its energies to these mid-sized stores over the next couple of years, when another five are reportedly due to be developed. Potential sites include existing stores and new markets for Kent within NB, NS and NF. Kent will likely stay out of PE for now, as fellow ILDC member Schurman holds sway in that province.
Vancouver, BC & Boucherville, QC - Under the aegis of Al Cheney, Rona's big box stores in Ontario will now be more in sync with the Rona Revy stores in Western Canada. These include four former Revy stores, plus the former Rona Home Solutions store in Brampton, ON. All of them now bear the Rona Home and Garden banner. Together with the 10 Western stores, Cheney, who was appointed vice-president operations for Rona's warehouse-style stores at the beginning of the year, oversees 15 stores in total. Until now, the Ontario stores have been getting input from both the West and the Boucherville, QC head office operation. Cheney admits the big boxes had been "rudderless," but now management of these stores will be more focused. "Our challenge is to standardize operations," says Cheney. "We're taking best practices, not just from the West, but from the entire company, to implement to all our stores." Emphasis will be placed on staff training, maintaining a strong in-stock position and keeping the stores bright and clean. Part of the realignment of Cheney's division includes a remerchandising of the Ontario stores, in many cases to put assortments more in line with Rona's Boucherville, QC distribution mix. The store in Erin Mills, ON represents the latest merchandising innovations for the chain, says Cheney. It includes a re-vamped tool corral and more emphasis on seasonal products. The stores in the Ottawa area (a second one is currently under construction there), fall under the Québec division, which is headed by Michel Robin, vice-president operations for Rona's warehouse stores in francophone markets. Both Robin and Cheney report to Pierre Dandoy, executive vice-president for big box stores.
Toronto, ON - Home Depot Canada will continue growing its traditional stores in Canada over the next few years, with between 110 and 120 slated to open by the end of 2005. By then, market consolidation and saturation will meet head on; the remaining players will need to turn to other formats, which Home Depot is already doing in the U.S. There, it plans to double the number of EXPO Design Centers to about 100 over the next two years, while Home Depot Supply and its smaller "urban" stores may also get introduced here. The Canadian operation has no plans to bring any of these to Canada for at least a couple of years, however. The urban stores, or "Home Depot light," as Home Depot Canada president Annette Verschuren refers to them, are 60,000-sq.ft. outlets designed to fill in larger markets between existing, full-sized stores. Home Depot has expressed its desire to enter markets such as downtown Toronto with these smaller stores, but faces the high cost of real estate, while there are many other markets yet to be developed in this country.
Canadian Tire 31.85 18.50 30.70
Canfor 12.60 8.08 10.21
Emco 9.55 3.35 9.24
Goodfellow 11.90 8.00 11.40
Home Depot 53.73 30.30 49.15
Hudson's Bay 20.10 12.50 14.30
Lowe's Cos. 48.88 24.99 44.50
Sears Canada 25.00 12.50 23.81
Sodisco-Howden 2.63 0.75 1.90
Taiga Forest 12.75 7.15 12.24
West Fraser 44.42 26.13 40.53
Rona Inc. confirms that it's still on track to open two big box stores this year. The first will be in the Ottawa market, this one in GLOUCESTER, ON, which will open in the last week of May. There's already a store in NEPEAN. The second will open in Mississauga, ON in October. Both will be standard warehouse format stores, weighing in at about 145,000 sq.ft. Georgia-Pacific Corp. reported first-quarter net income before unusual items of US$70 million, compared with a loss from continuing operations, before unusual items and goodwill amortization, of US$23 million during the same period last year. The company's building products manufacturing and distribution operations reported first-quarter profits of US$74 million, up from a loss of US$24 million. Sales in March for Sears Canada were down 2.8%, while sales for the first quarter were down 1.6%. Strong sales last year were attributed to sale pricing on excess inventory, hence a slight downturn in this year's numbers. Profits for 1Q 2002 are actually up before extraordinary items; however, the company ended up recording a net loss of $115.9 million, due in part to a write-off on Eaton's stores and on the sale of a corporate jet. The investment status of Hudson's Bay Co. has been revised to junk-level status, a reflection of poor profitability. Bay Street is wary of retail stocks in general and department stores in particular, as consumers slowly loosen purse strings. Remodelling costs for its Canadian stores affected first-quarter results for Sears, Roebuck and Co., resulting in a 38% drop in net earnings. Net income fell to US$110 million, compared with US$176 million a year earlier.
Your trusty Editor had the honour of speaking at last week's Spring Meeting of Home Hardware Stores. He talked about the changing face of home improvement retailing in Canada, giving dealers a first look at some of the research being prepared for our sister publication, Hardlines Quarterly Report, on the size of the big box market in this country.
"I've been very lucky. People say my wines make strong women weak and weak men strong." - Wolf Blass, head of Wolf Blass Wines in Australia, who spoke recently to a group in Toronto, at an event hosted by the Consul General of Australia. His success story was a combination of products the consumer wants backed by imaginative and gutsy marketing. (Hardlines was there covering the tough stories and, of course, the product samples - Michael).
Pierre Dandoy has joined Rona Inc. as executive vice-president big box stores, reporting directly to Robert Dutton, Rona's president and CEO. Dandoy has spent his career in retail, including a stint at Steinberg's and Provigo. He was most recently vice-president operations for Wal-Mart's eastern Canadian stores … Also at Rona: René Bérichon has joined as vice-president controller … Michel Merineau is now real estate development director. (514-599-5100) Paul Maillet was elected chair of the board of the Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association at its annual general meeting held in Moncton, NB recently. Maillet is president and owner of Maritime Door & Window Ltd., located in Moncton and Bouctouche. He has been a member of ABSDA's board of directors since 1997. (506-858-0700) Dan McArthur has been promoted the position of chief financial officer at Can-Save. A 10-year veteran of the company, he was most recently in finance and operations … Also at Can-Save, Dan O'Hara moves into the position of vice-president sales, a promotion from sales manager …Dan Clements has been promoted to the role of vice-president marketing. He has been with the company for more than 10 years in a sales & marketing capacity. (705-722-7283) Lynn Martineau, president, new growth businesses, has decided to leave Home Depot in Atlanta, effective April 30. He wants to spend more time with his family. Martineau was responsible for the company's acquisitions, including Georgia Lighting, APEX, Your "other" Warehouse, and Maintenance Warehouse. In addition, he oversaw the company's professional contractor business and the launch of the Home Depot Supply business. A successor is expected to be named shortly.
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