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August 29, 2022 | Volume xxviii, #32


  • Meet these incredible women at the 26th annual Hardlines Conference
  • Quebec dealer’s stand-alone appliance showroom is a first for RONA banner
  • Orgill president gives update on future of the company
  • Pro sales, e-commerce help drive results for big box giants in second quarter

PLUS: Quebec BMR member announces new location, Lowe’s rolls out Halloween, Ace has record quarter, Hudson’s Bay Co. to launch Zellers e-commerce site, Walmart posts Q2 profits, Taiga reports Q2 sales, Tractor Supply breaks ground on new DC, Orgill to sponsor NHPA Conference, Liteline makes acquisition, Kress OPE makes North American debut, retail sales increase, sales of existing homes fall, and more!

Meet these incredible women at the 26th annual Hardlines Conference

The 26th annual Hardlines Conference is just weeks away (Oct. 18 and 19 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.). The lineup of speakers will guarantee a first-class offering of ideas and trends. Speakers will include top executives from Lowe’s Canada, BMR Group, and Sexton Group, plus some amazing insights from one of the country’s top economists.

But aside from the trends and big-picture outlooks, the Hardlines Conference, as always, will drill down to the human side of the business, thanks especially these presenters:

Zaida Fazlic, Vice President, People & Culture, Taiga Building Products Ltd. In her lead HR role at Canada’s largest distributor of building materials, Zaida Fazlic oversees the operations of the human resources and payroll functions at Taiga’s HQ in Burnaby, B.C. But she also focuses on people and talent development by creating programs and initiatives that actively support and encourage employees to grow, succeed, and accomplish their goals.

Fazlic began her career with Taiga in 2005, first as an executive assistant before pivoting into the world of real estate. There, she managed the development of a property in the heart of Richmond, B.C. She returned to Taiga in 2018 in the HR department, from where she was promoted to her current role.

During COVID, she has found the urgency of taking care of the company’s workers—at every level—an exciting and engaging challenge.

Alison Fletcher, Owner, The Cookery Store. After a successful 19-year career in sales and marketing, working for some of Canada’s biggest companies, including Maple Leaf Foods, Tim Hortons, Weston Bakeries, and Burger King, Alison Fletcher chose to go out on her own. Combining her passions for cooking and retail, she decided it was time to apply her business planning skills to a vision of her own.

Conceived and launched in 2014, Cookery is both a specialty kitchenware store and cooking class studio. It’s also an incredible COVID success story. It has grown to three locations in Toronto and one in Montreal. Offering a beautiful collection of both heirloom and everyday cookware, kitchen tools, bakeware, barware, dinnerware, serving ware, and cookbooks, Cookery caters to passionate home cooks and cooking-inspired gift givers.

Fletcher has proven herself a master of engaging her customer base, regardless of lockdowns. The store offers cooking classes for both adults and children, which went virtual during the heights of the pandemic.

Joanne Lawrie, Co-owner, Lawrie Group of Home Hardware Stores. Along with her husband Rob, Joanne Lawrie heads up a family-owned group of businesses based in Annapolis Royal, N.S. They consist of six stores operating under the Home Hardware, Home Hardware Building Centre, and Home Furniture banners, all located in the southwestern part of Nova Scotia.

Joanne and Rob represent a growing trend among dealers to consolidate at a local level, establishing themselves through a number of outlets to dominate in their respective markets. This is a front-line retail story that’s not to be missed!

This year’s conference is returning to the Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., a scenic destination just 70 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport. It will kick off with the ever-popular networking RONA Pub Night on the evening of Oct. 17. The 30th Annual Outstanding Retailer Awards Gala is a must-attend event on the evening of the first day of the conference, Oct. 18.

(To see the full list of speakers and to secure your spot at this incredible event, please click here!)


Quebec dealer’s stand-alone appliance showroom is a first for RONA banner

A RONA dealer has opened a dedicated appliance showroom—the first of its kind in the RONA store network. Affiliate dealer Eric Deslongchamps already owns three RONA stores in western Quebec as RONA Deslongchamps. The new appliance showroom is in Rivière-Rouge, Que.

The 5,000-square-foot building and 2,000-square-foot adjacent warehouse have been completely renovated, representing an investment of $500,000 which resulted in the creation of three full-time jobs. Customers now have access to an expanded offering of appliances with brands like Bosch, Frigidaire, Samsung, LG, and Whirlpool.

The goal of this new concept is to provide an improved shopping experience. The store is designed to showcase appliances and other products in fully-furnished indoor and outdoor living spaces. A wide range of products is on display, including high-end stoves and fireplaces, barbecues, kitchen cabinets, fashion plumbing items, as well as bricks and stones.

Customers can choose their products and leave with their purchases on the same day. Or they can take advantage of a high-end “White Glove Delivery Service,” which ensures that their purchases will be delivered within a few days. This applies to all products in stock, including hundreds of appliance models. 

RONA Deslongchamps has been in business for over 80 years. Its stores are in Mont-Laurier, Rivière-Rouge, and Maniwaki.

“We listened to our customers and wanted to innovate to provide a shopping experience that meets their needs,” said Deslongchamps. “Through this new store concept, we want to show projects as a whole and inspire our customers. But above all, we want to give them quick access to the products they need for their home or commercial projects, as well as a wide selection of appliances.”

“The retail market is constantly changing. Eric and his team have been able to adapt and stand out in a way that benefits their customers,” added Philippe Element, Vice-President, RONA sales and dealer support at Lowe’s Canada. “We’ve been pleased to collaborate with their team and use our expertise to support their vision and growth plans since they joined our network of RONA affiliated dealers in 2006.”


Orgill president gives update on fill rates, private brands, and in-store promos

During Orgill’s Fall Online Buying Event, Orgill president and CEO Boyden Moore presented a virtual address to delegates and staff. He provided a wide-ranging update on the company’s performance and achievements, while offering his outlook on the rest of the year.

Moore said the Memphis-based hardware distributor’s year-to-date sales are up 10 percent but added that supply chain recovery is the company’s number-one priority. Orgill does not intend to ease up on fixing that until it can return to its traditional service levels, which he said typically exceed 96 percent. Moore noted that Orgill’s private brands (“Exclusively Orgill”) can offer dealers both better margins and higher fill rates, which are already over the 96 percent mark.

He expects to see fulfilment numbers get above 85 percent by the end of 2022, while Orgill continues to work with its vendors to close the gap during the first half of 2023. “We are beginning to see sustained improvement in our supply chain recovery.” Demand has moderated from the incredibly high levels that we experienced last year, and many of our vendors have improved their performance to us and that has led to this sustained improvement.”

Most economists in the U.S. are expecting continued declines in the rate of inflation throughout the remainder of 2022 and a return to lower levels of inflation in 2023, he observed.

For dealers managing their retail space, Moore predicts that, as customer traffic slows, promotional planning will become more important. “The challenges of the past two years have made promotion planning seem like a waste of time and money for many,” he said. “We see promotions being more important going forward, and we’re working hard to provide you with strong traffic-driving promotions to support your business throughout the second half of the year.”

Moore outlined a plan for four quarterly Online Buying Events to maximize promotions and assortment opportunities for retailers. The company will host one in-person market, its 2023 Spring Dealer Market, Feb. 8 to 11 in New Orleans.

Pro sales, e-commerce help drive results for big box giants in second quarter

The aftermath of COVID continues to translate into steady sales for home improvement retailing, as reflected in the strong earnings of the industry’s two largest players worldwide, which followed strong results in 2021.

The results at The Home Depot were the highest quarterly sales and profits for the company in its history. Earnings rose to $5.17 billion from $4.81 billion a year earlier, an increase of 7.6 percent, while net sales grew by 6.5 percent to $43.79 billion. Comp sales for the quarter were up 5.8 percent.

The performance at Lowe’s Cos. was not quite as dramatic, but the company came close to maintaining the momentum of the previous year. Lowe’s reported a Q2 profit of $3 billion, almost flat with the second quarter of 2021. Total revenues were $27.48 billion, down slightly from the previous year. Comp sales slipped by 0.3 percent.

One area in which the company made big gains was the contractor market. Lowe’s reported that sales to its pro customers during the quarter were up 13 percent.

Similarly, Home Depot once again saw its pro business grow faster than its DIY sales. Those pro sales result in a bigger basket size. “Big-ticket comp transactions for those over $1,000 were up 11.6 percent compared to the second quarter of last year,” said Jeff Kinnaird, executive vice president, merchandising in a call to analysts following the release of the Q2 results. “We saw big-ticket strength across many pro-heavy categories like pipe and fittings, gypsum, and fasteners.”

And big gains were made on the e-commerce side of the business. Digital sales at Home Depot increased by 12 percent during the second quarter.

People on the Move

At KS Solutions Sales & Service, founding partner Paul Sutton is retiring. Sutton began his career at Cashway Building Centres and was a sales VP at MAAX Bath when he helped to establish KS. At the same time, Chris Straus is joining the company. Straus worked in sales at his local Home Hardware while studying at Wilfrid Laurier University. After graduating Straus worked in sales and customer service at Donald Choi Canada Ltd. Also at KS, Mike Garner has been promoted from sales manager to vice president.

Home Hardware Stores Ltd. has appointed Tracy Moorhouse as manager, private brands. Moorhouse, a Humber College graduate, was previously sourcing manager for private brands at Walmart Canada. Prior to that, she held several positions at Loblaw Cos. Ltd., including as category manager and director.

Gypsum Management & Supply has appointed Leigh Dobbs as chief human resources officer, effective Sept. 6. Dobbs has more than 20 years of experience in HR. An MBA grad of Emory University, she was most recently EVP and chief HR officer for Zenith American Solutions.

At The Home Depot, president and CEO Ted Decker has been elected as chair. He will officially succeed former CEO Craig Menear in the role on Oct. 1. Decker joined the company in 2000 and was named president and COO in the fall of 2020 before taking over as CEO in March of this year.

Henry Co., a division of Carlisle Construction Materials, has appointed Rodge Briones as a technical sales representative for western Canada. Briones joins the company with more than 20 years of experience in the building materials industry. He reports to national sales manager Michael Lovering.


... that the latest episode of Hardlines’ podcast series What’s In Store features Rebecca Gravelle, winner of the 2019 Outstanding Retailer Award for Young Retailer? She shares the challenges of wearing many hats—including managing HR—as VP of operations for two Castle stores in eastern Ontario. (Sign up now to get updates about the latest podcasts sent directly to your inbox!)


Matériaux Pont-Masson, a BMR member since July of last year, is building a new location in Val-Morin, Que. This ninth branch will include a 13,000-square-foot store along with a warehouse and cantilever racks.

Ace Hardware has reported record second-quarter revenue of $2.53 billion, up 1.7 percent, its best Q2 revenue on record it said, and second quarter net income of $124.8 million, an increase of $8.8 million from the second quarter of 2021. Increases were seen across most departments with outdoor power equipment, plumbing, paint, and outdoor living showing the largest gains, said the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company. Total retail revenues for the quarter were $258.0 million, an increase of $2.7 million or 1.1 percent.

Hudson’s Bay Co. has plans to launch a Zellers e-commerce site early next year. At the same time, the company will expand the reach of Zellers spaces within its bricks-and-mortar stores. HBC opened a pop-up Zellers shop at its Burlington, Ont., Hudson’s Bay store in 2020, followed by one in Montreal the following year. The retailer says it is looking to offer an experience that “taps into the nostalgia of the brand.”

Lowe’s Cos. has already begun rolling out its Halloween decorations, this year featuring an exclusive product line inspired by the Tim Burton movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The Lowe's Master of Fright collection by Gemmy Industries features inflatable and animated decor. The line includes characters such as a nine-foot Jack Skellington and a six-foot Clown with the Tear-Away Face.

Walmart posted Q2 profits of $5.15 billion compared to $4.28 billion in the comparable period of fiscal 2022. Revenues overall came to $152.86 billion. Canadian sales rose by 10 percent with comp sales up 10.3 percent.

Tractor Supply Co. has broken ground on a new distribution centre, located in Maumelle, Ark. The 1.2million-square-foot facility and will be the 10th largest DC in the U.S. farm and ranch retailer’s network. It is scheduled to open in late 2023 and service over 300 Tractor Supply stores. The facility includes 50,000 square feet of mezzanine space devoted to the company’s growing e-commerce business.


Taiga Building Products reported Q2 sales of $646.1 million, down from $786.7 million a year earlier. The decline of $140.6 million or 18 percent was attributed largely to lower selling prices for commodity products. Net earnings fell to $20.8 million from $58.5 million. For the first half of the year, earnings came to $60.3 million, down from $87.6 million.

Orgill will sponsor the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s Independents Conference in Dallas next summer. Furthermore, the wholesaler has adjusted the timing of its Fall Online Buying Event to coincide with the conference. The NHPA Independents Conference will take place Aug. 2 and 3, 2023, while Orgill’s online event will run from July 31 to Aug. 13.

Liteline Corp. has acquired Contraste Lighting, a Canadian lighting fixture manufacturer that does business across North America. Liteline will continue to market the Contraste brand, while the business will be merged with Liteline. In addition, Liteline ha appointed TMC Sales as its agent in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. TMC Sales is a lighting and controls-focused agency based in Winnipeg.

The Kress brand of outdoor power equipment is set to make its North American debut. Part of the Positec family, the brand is designed to offer OPE pros in North America an alternative to gas-powered products. The North American launch will take place in Q4 of this year in tandem with International Equip Exposition.


Retail sales increased 1.1 percent to $63.1 billion in June, the sixth consecutive increase. Sales were up in eight of 11 subsectors, representing 76.8 percent of retail trade. Higher sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers led the increase. LBM and garden equipment sales were up 0.1 percent from May and 9.1 percent from June 2021. (StatCan)

The annualized pace of housing starts in July was 275,329 units, an increase of 1.1 percent from June. The rate of total urban starts decreased by 0.8 percent to 254,371, with single-detached urban starts down 2.3 percent to 58,384 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 20,958 units. (CMHC)

Sales of existing homes fell by 5.3 percent between June and July, according to new data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. Sales were down in about three quarters of all local markets, led by the Greater Toronto Area, Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Calgary, and Edmonton. The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions came in 29.3 percent below July 2021.

Sales of existing U.S. homes declined 5.9 percent in July, according to the U.S.-based National Association of Realtors. This sixth consecutive decrease left resales at an annualized pace of 4.81 million. Compared to a year earlier, sales were down 20.2 percent.



The North American Hardware and Paint Association will host retailers and other partners next year to the NHPA Independents Conference. It will be held in Dallas on Aug. 2 and 3, 2023. The theme of the event is “Putting Technology to Work for You” and will feature breakout educational sessions, industry-leading speakers, and retailer panel discussions.


“With a more dependable supply chain and a more moderate level of inflation, we are hoping to return to a somewhat more predictable and dependable business environment.”
—Boyden Moore, president and CEO of Orgill, on the Memphis-based wholesaler’s anticipation of a return to lower levels of inflation by 2023.


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