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August 1, 2022 | Volume xxviii, #1


Dear Faithful Subscriber, Hardlines is published monthly (sort of) in August. Our next issue will come out Aug. 29. In the meantime, the Team at the Hardlines World Headquarters continues to dig for the latest news for you while preparing for the Hardlines Conference in October. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

—Geoffrey, Steve, Michelle, Dave, and Michael IN THIS ISSUE:
  • Four retailers dominate industry’s sales, says newest Hardlines Retail Report
  • Federated Co-op supports Prairie dealers with new distribution centre
  • Pros targeted as Home Hardware’s private brands get a refresh, new focus
  • As Shopify slashes staff, retailers must brace for impacts of a recession

PLUS: Lowe’s launches Product Pitch Event, new president at GMS Canada, Home Depot reduces carbon emissions, Castle adds business development manager, Tractor Supply’s Q2 sales rise, Ace show in Toronto, RDTS team wins accolade, 3M’s Q2 profits, West Fraser’s second-quarter sales, U.S. new home sales, and more!

Four retailers dominate industry’s sales, says newest Hardlines Retail Report 

While the home improvement industry is characterized by a strong presence of a variety of banners nationally, approximately two-thirds of the sales generated in the sector come from the top four retailers. And together, their sales grew last year by almost 11 percent, says this year’s Retail Report from Hardlines.

The Home Depot Canada remains the leader in this country. It’s followed by Home Hardware Stores Ltd., which moved into the number two spot in 2021. Next is Lowe’s Canada, whose business model, with its variety of banners, is different from that of its U.S. parent.

While sales from all business units makes Canadian Tire Corp. one of the largest retailers in Canada, its core hardware and home improvement sales, through its Canadian Tire Retail stores, are strong enough to keep this hardlines mass merchant firmly in fourth position.

The latest Hardlines Retail Report analyzes the growth of the industry and establishes the size of the retail home improvement industry by sales, store numbers, and province. It also examines the industry’s top 20 retail players, with a breakdown of the structure and relationship among the country’s LBM buying groups.

Filled with proprietary data about the industry that is not available anywhere else, this massive report is available in handy PowerPoint format, with 180-plus slides and more pictures and graphs than we can count!

(The 2022 Hardlines Retail Report is available now. To order you own copy of this exclusive report, click here.)

Federated Co-op supports Prairie dealers with new distribution centre


Federated Co-operatives Ltd. serves more than 90 hardware and building supply stores under its Home and Building Solutions division (HABS). And the Saskatoon-based co-op continues to beef up its support for this sector.

The division’s wholesale sales in 2021 reached $451-million, up a healthy 24 percent from 2020, owing partially to the increased appetite for home improvement and renovation-related expenditures during COVID. FCL’s total sales at retail reached an estimated $644-million in 2021. (Source: The 2022 Hardlines Retail Report. More shameless self-promotion!—your ever-helpful Editor.)

FCL has been investing in infrastructure to support its home improvement dealers. For example, the Home Centre stores have been undergoing a gradual and ongoing revamp, which includes expanding the back end with more drive-through options, a nod to their growing contractor customer base.

To further support growth of the HABS business, FCL has erected a new LBM distribution hub near Regina. It has been operational since the end of January.

The new facility lets FCL ship to more than 60 local Co-op Home Centres in Manitoba and most of Saskatchewan. The hub stocks and supplies dimensional and treated lumber, rough lumber, OSB and plywood, studs, rebar, drywall, rigid insulation, shingles, and hardscaping products.

Pros targeted as Home Hardware’s private brands get a refresh, new focus


Major retailers are redoubling their efforts to grow their proprietary brands and Home Hardware Stores Ltd. is no exception.

But Home’s efforts have included a special focus on its contractor customer base. Home Hardware Pro, which was rolled out in 2020, includes new products, features, and new website pages for pros. The retailer has been tying the brand in with its pro road shows that were rolled out to 10 individual stores in Ontario this year. Home Hardware intends to return to pre-COVID levels of activity with its contractor base in future, with grouped trade shows that include three or four stores in an area. But expect these single-store focused events to continue as well.

These contractor-focused initiatives are also backed by a new brand called Cat. It leverages the Caterpillar heavy equipment brand name with a line of corded and cordless power tools and accessories. The products are made under licence by Chinese power tool maker Positec Tool Corp.

The introduction of the Cat brand for pros gives Home Hardware a branding position against competitors with its own signature labels—similar to The Home Depot’s flagship Ridgid power tool line and the Flex line at Lowe’s Canada.

The Cat line joins Home Hardware’s venerable Benchmark brand, which was relaunched at the beginning of 2022. That relaunch added more muscle to both the brand name and the power tools it represents.

Other brand updates have included Home Hardware’s private-label batteries. That line’s Reactor brand has been replaced by “Omni.” Even Home’s well-known paint line, which is owned and manufactured by Home Hardware, got tweaked over the past year. It dropped the hyphen in Beauti-Tone to a more simplified BeautiTone.

BeautiTone has been more aggressive in its partnerships and cross-promotions in recent years. Its latest alliance is with Mattel, the toymaker and owner of the Barbie doll brand. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Barbie Dreamhouse, BeautiTone has released a collection of Barbie-inspired paint colours.

As Shopify slashes staff, retailers must brace for impacts of a recession 

The CEO of Canadian online shopping platform Shopify sent a memo to staff last week saying that one in 10 of them would be done working there by day's end.

It may be a message that all retailers should pay attention to.

Tobi Lutke issued the note with a heartfelt apology that his belief that post-COVID e-commerce rates would continue to soar did not materialize. “It’s now clear that bet didn’t pay off,” he admits in the memo. “What we see now is the mix reverting to roughly where pre-COVID data would have suggested it should be at this point.”

Other retailers that have been investing big in online sales can take note. The tremendous growth of the channel under two years of COVID has eased as shoppers are returning to in-store visits.

For example, in 2021 online sales for Home Depot increased by almost 20 percent after jumping 86 percent in 2020. Canadian Tire saw 2021 e-commerce sales rise by almost 30 percent over the previous year. And in its first quarter of 2022, the trend continued. Online sales penetration now accounts for almost 10 percent of the retailer’s overall sales.

Other retail sectors enjoyed a boost in their online sales as well. Indigo, the Canadian big box bookseller, which struggled through the first half of COVID, saw its year-end results for the period ended April 2 supercharged by the increase in online sales. Revenue growth was driven by the success of Indigo’s e-commerce business, which nearly doubled compared with fiscal 2020 sales levels.

With a high share of market in e-commerce and lacking a bricks-and-mortar presence, Shopify found itself vulnerable to this latest correction. “Ultimately, placing this bet was my call to make and I got this wrong. Now, we have to adjust. As a consequence, we have to say goodbye to some of you today and I’m deeply sorry for that.”

The company is offering outplacement services to its terminated employees, including career coaching, interviewing support, and resumé writing.

People on the Move

Paul Green has been named president of GMS Canada. He has been president of Watson Building Supplies, a GMS company, since January. He replaces Travis Hendren, who will move back to the U.S. in a new role as COO of GMS, effective Aug. 1. Hendren joined GMS in 2014 as VP, corporate development, and has been president of GMS Canada since 2019.

Federated Co-operatives Ltd. has promoted Trish Meyers to the position of associate VP, ag and home.  In her new role, Meyers will provide leadership for FCL’s Ag Solutions and Home and Building Solutions (HABS). She joined FCL in 2015 as knowledge and innovation manager, overseeing the training of Co-op agronomists across western Canada. She became director of crop supplies in 2018 and director of ag solutions in 2020.

Lillian Diaz is joining Castle Building Centres Group as business development manager serving central and southwestern Ontario. She was most recently at AFA Forest Products as territory sales manager for south central Ontario. In addition to her decades of experience in the LBM sector, Diaz spent several years as a golf pro and a member of the Canadian PGA.

The B.C. Summer Games were held this past weekend in Prince George. The games were run by B.C. Games, a provincial crown corporation chaired since 2017 by a veteran from our industry: Jamey Paterson. Paterson, who founded his building supply and hardware sales agency Paterson Products Ltd. in 1979, sat on the B.C. BSIA’s board of directors for several years, including a term as chair.


... that you can now buy tickets for the next Hardlines Conference? That’s right, registration is now available online for the 26th annual Conference, being held Oct. 18 and 19 at the Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Sign up now as tickets are limited for this year’s event.

Lowe’s Cos. has introduced a new opportunity for vendors. Called Into the Blue: Lowe’s Product Pitch Event, it will give entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes the chance to get face-to-face with Lowe’s buyers. Vendors can apply for a chance to participate in this first-ever live event, during which Lowe’s plans to invest $5-million in purchase orders to new suppliers. Until Aug. 14, interested businesses with ready-for-market products can apply at Lowes.com/Suppliers. Those selected will get to pitch directly to Lowe’s executives on Nov. 2 and 3 at the new Lowe’s Tech Hub in Charlotte, N.C.

The Home Depot in Atlanta managed to reduce its carbon emissions by about 172,000 metric tons in 2021, equivalent to taking more than 37,000 cars off the road for a year. The company also reduced its electricity consumption by around 11 percent year-over-year in U.S. stores, even as it opened five new stores, cutting U.S. store electricity usage by 50 percent since 2010. These are among the highlights of its 2022 ESG Report, which provides updates on the company's progress around environmental, social and governance (ESG) pillars.

Pollock’s Hardware Co-op in Winnipeg’s North End celebrated its 100th anniversary last month with a block party. Local craft brewery Torque Brewing produced a special Pollock’s Cream Ale for the occasion. When the store’s last family owners retired and couldn’t find a buyer, they closed up shop in 2007. Community members banded together to resurrect the business as a co-op.

Tractor Supply Co. saw its Q2 net sales rise 8.4 percent to $3.9-billion from $3.6-billion in the same quarter of 2021. Comp sales increased 5.5 percent, compared to an increase of 10.5 percent in the prior year’s second quarter. Net income increased 7.1 percent to $396.5-million from $370-million. Earnings of $3.53 per diluted share were up 10.7 percent from $3.19.

CORRECTION: Peavey Industries will host its next Ace dealer buying show at the Toronto Congress Centre, near Pearson International Airport, from Sept. 20 to 22. The distinctive combined show and market format will bring together independent Ace dealers and managers of corporately-owned Peavey Mart stores. (A Daily News brief last week misidentified the venue of the event. Hardlines regrets the error.)


Yoobic has announced the winners of its Frontline Excellence Awards, selected from among more than 300 companies worldwide who use its platform. Yoobic is described as an all-in-one app helping connect “deskless” employees in fields like retail, construction, manufacturing, and warehousing for communication, task management, and training. Among this year’s winners are two members of the RDTS team. Simon Trottier-Lacasse was honoured as a Game Changer of the Year, while Isabelle Gaudet was named a Frontline Hero of the Year. Yoobic cited Gaudet’s “successful use of retail audits to support RDTS clients.”

3M Co.’s Q2 profits came to $78-million, or $0.14 per share. Adjusted for one-time costs, the manufacturer earned $2.48 per share. Revenues for the quarter were $8.7-billion.

West Fraser Timber had second-quarter sales that reached $2.89-billion, compared to $3.11-billion in the first quarter of 2022. Second quarter earnings were $762 million, or $7.59 per diluted share, compared to $1.09-billion, or $10.25 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2022.


Sales of new homes in the U.S. fell by 8.1 percent in June to an annualized pace of 590,000 units. That was the lowest rate since April 2020. Year-over-year, sales fell by 17.4 percent. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)

U.S. sales of new single-family houses in June dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000, 8.1 percent below the previous month. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)


“For anybody to reach 100 years, it's amazing, but for a retail location and the flux that retail’s had, it's super amazing. How we do it is that we believe ... in people before profits.” —Rod Harder, treasurer of the board that operates Pollock’s Hardware Co-op. The retailer, in Winnipeg’s North End, celebrated its 100th anniversary last month. Harder was quoted by CBC News.

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