Lowe's builds Canadian buying team
MARKHAM, Ont.-Plans for Lowe's Cos., the world's number-two home improvement retailer, to set up in Canada are finally taking shape, and Doug Robinson, president of Lowe's Canada, shared some details with members of the Canadian Hardware and Housewares Manufacturers Association at a recent breakfast meeting.
Lowe's has set up temporary Canadian offices in this community, just north of Toronto, operating under the name Lowe's Companies Canada, ULC. The area is familiar territory for Robinson. The former offices of Beaver Lumber were right down the street. Robinson headed up Beaver Lumber before it was sold to Home Hardware Stores late in 1999.
At the breakfast, he reaffirmed Lowe's previously announced intention to open 6-10 stores in 2007, all in the Greater Toronto Area. And he did say the new stores will have their own infrastructure, rather than being supplied by any U.S. distribution centers. A merchandising team specific to Canada is being set up now, which will work closely with the merchants in Lowe's head offices in Mooresville, N.C. The new merchandising team, which will include merchandise directors, merchandisers, and support staff, will be ready for line reviews by spring 2006.
Catherine Townshend, who has joined Lowe's Canada as vice-president of human resources, is overseeing the hiring process. Townshend was formerly at Home Depot Canada in the same role, until about 1999. (You may remember her as Catherine Shah-MM)
The most valuable insights Robinson offered had to do with Lowe's brand strategy. The company stands firmly behind national brands, eschewing proprietary brands that have become the mainstay of retailers such as Home Depot and Sears. "Brands are like good friends," he said. "We want to build the Lowe's brand by showcasing national brands."
That brand emphasis reflects another initiative at Lowe's: to move up-market. A program called "Up the continuum" de-emphasizes entry price points-without abandoning them-while moving to increase the overall quality of the products for customers, thereby "offering something that will last longer, perform better and give them more satisfaction," Robinson said.
Finally, Robinson mentioned that Lowe's will stock its shelves in Canada with fully bilingual packaging, even though the initial stores will be in the Toronto area only.
Lowe's, other retailers get flak for "holiday" trees
PARKER, Col.-Lowe's was singled out recently for selling "holiday" trees that looked remarkably like, well, Christmas trees. In fact, the company evidently didn't even try to fool its Hispanic customers, as the sign here clearly reveals. (The Spanish wording still uses the term "Christmas.") It was a no-win situation for the world's second-largest home improvement retailer, which quickly replaced the signs after overwhelming pressure from-mainly Christian-customers.
Other retailers have been hit with the same criticism. Both Target and Walgreen Co. have promoted a generic "holiday" shopping theme in their catalogs and promotions. Target has since revised its message, while Walgreen promises to avoid the same mistake next year.
Home Depot makes Canadian acquisition
TORONTO-Home Depot Canada bought up another industrial supplier last week. Sesco Light is privately owned, 80-year-old supplier to industrial and commercial contractors. The deal closed Dec. 6.
Sesco will become part of Home Depot Supply Canada, a division which includes two previous acquisitions, Litemor and Brafasco. The division is headed up by Ron Turk, president of HDSC.
U.S. backs off on softwood duties
VANCOUVER-The U.S. Department of Commerce, after a second round of reviews, has determined new rates for countervailing and anti-dumping on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. The new combined rates of 10.81% are significantly lower than the previous 20.15% levels, and will save Canadian lumber producers millions of dollars. British Columbia producers alone are expected to save approximately US$250 million a year in duties. The new rates come into effect before the end of December.
Sears tests electronics boutique
TORONTO-Sears Canada Inc. has opened a unique boutique concept in its department store in St-Jerome, north of Montreal. The new Dumoulin Electronics boutique carries a range of computers, TVs, home theatre systems, telephones, digital cameras, etc. The boutique is staffed by Dumoulin representatives, lending a level of expertise to the department.
Dumoulin is part of Groupe Dumoulin Electronic Inc., a Quebec-based retailer with 137 corporate and franchise locations, operating under the Dumoulin and Audiotronic banners, from coast to coast. Dumoulin is also a member of Cantrex Group Inc., a buying group for independents that was acquired by Sears in April, 2005.
"This pilot store-within-a-store project is an example of the benefits that Cantrex members can enjoy, to help their business grow by being associated with Sears Canada," said Alain Masse, president and general manager, Cantrex Group Inc., in a prepared release. "It maximizes the shopping experience for Sears customers and provides additional revenue for Dumoulin." If the experiment is successful, Dumoulin boutique locations will be installed at additional Sears locations. The Dumoulin specialty could even be added to the Sears catalogue and Sears online within the coming year.
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Lowe's Home Improvement
is a Fortune 50 retailer experiencing phenomenal growth. With more than 1,150 stores and 175,000 employees across the U.S.A., we've doubled in size in the past five years and are now expanding across the border.
Our progressive managers know that Lowe's success hinges on having a diverse workforce comprised of the best people - passionate about their work, inspired by their work environment, and believing that home improvement equates to life improvement for our customers.
- Merchandise Directors
- Merchandisers in Training
- Merchandiser Assistants
We are currently staffing the Merchandising Department for our new Customer Support Centre in Toronto. These experienced professionals will be covering Hardlines, Lumber/Building Materials, Home Décor, and Outdoor Living.
For consideration and for more information, please submit your resume at CareersAtLowes.com/Canada
. Come experience this for yourself. Build your career at Lowe's and discover the security of our prosperity, competitive benefits, countless opportunities for advancement, and much more. But above all, come and discover our commitment to you and your success.
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