John Caulfield, Contributing Editor
 vol. ix, #46 December 1, 2003

IN THIS *PRE-HOLIDAY* ISSUE: * Independents gain market share vs. big boxes * Gala for retiring Sali * Wickes shareholder cashes out * Timber merger: Canfor buyout forms SPF giant * Online recruiting becomes tools for independents

* * * * * * We're coming up to the holiday season, and beginning this week, Hardlines will scale back a bit. We'll return to a full-sized issue next week and Dec. 15th, but then we won't publish December 22 or 29. Hardlines returns to its regular publishing schedule January 5, 2004. — Michael * * * * * *
We're starting to get a lot of inquiries here at the World Headquarters about the shows next year. Undoubtedly, Practical World, the Cologne International Hardware Fair/DIY'TEC, is a must-attend for North American vendors who want to find new product and packaging ideas – and, of course – new customers. Buyers go in droves to find new sources of supply and new strategic alliances.For more information, contact Barbara Hills, , 416.598.3343 or Beverly Allen here at Hardlines, For travel arrangements, contact Carol-Anne Itel at Trade Show Travel, 877.873.7469;
"What we call progress is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance." — Henry Havelock Ellis (1859 - 1939)
TORONTO — From $13.6 billion in 1992, to nearly $30.0 billion in 2002, growth in the retail home improvement industry has been nothing short of phenomenal. But there have been winners - and losers. A new report in the next issue of Hardlines' sister publication, Hardlines Quarterly Report, tracks how large-format retailers continue to suck up market share as hardware retailers and home improvement dealers have watched their numbers dwindle. Nevertheless, as big box growth in Canada begins to face saturation, the market share of the independents has begun to stabilize. The remaining players in the independent sectors are themselves undergoing a new wave of consolidation, making the remaining players stronger - and more competitive - than ever. Also in this issue of HQR, get a telling insight into the buying patterns of women home improvement shoppers. Do they prefer price or convenience? (a special preview of our exclusive Study, "Women in Home Improvement," conducted for us by ACNielsen). You'll find the full report in our 1Q 2004 issue of HQR. Taking a page from the big box book, Canadian Tire has finally unveiled its latest store concept. What are the competitive implications of this format? HQR brings you exclusive photos and explanations of the 20/20 format. In addition, each issue of HQR features updated housing and economic indicators for the latest quarter and forecasts for the year ahead. LIMITED TIME OFFER: Get 10% off the old rates! Subscribe by January 30th, 2004 to take advantage of this exciting offer - pay only $359 + taxes.
VANCOUVER, BC — Canfor Corp. signed an agreement last week to acquire all of the shares of Slocan Forest Products Ltd. in a share exchange transaction. The deal is valued at about $630 million. The offer involves Slocan shareholders receiving 1.3147 Canfor shares for each Slocan share. Upon completion, the combined company will be the largest spruce/pine/fir lumber manufacturer in the world, with the second largest lumber capacity in North America.
VANCOUVER, BC — When Barrie Sali announced he would retire after 33 years as president and CEO of Tim-BR-Marts Ltd., 550 of his closest friends decided to send him off in style. They met last Friday for a gala dinner at the Westin Bayshore here to toast - and roast - the outspoken Sali, who over the years has carried a reputation as Canada's toughest negotiator. On hand was a virtual who's who of the industry, including some of the most successful dealers in the West and top executives from the vendor community. Also on hand were Sali's wife, Roxanne, and their two sons, Max and Harrison. Tim-BR-Marts is a part of the umbrella group Matreco, and fellow Matreco executives took the podium to pay tribute. Tom Smith of AWARD, Yves Gagon of Groupe BMR and Don Nash of TIM-BR Mart Ontario all paid their respects, and awarded him with a Baume et Mercier watch. Sali started in 1970 as general manager of the Tim-BR-Marts, which at the time had 18 members and $1 million in sales. today, the group represents more than 150 stores, with combined annual sales that exceed $1 billion. Sali has been succeeded by Tim Urquhart, who takes the president's title effective January 1, 2004.
VANCOUVER & TORONTO — Canada's only online retail job board has taken a major step to become the service of choice for recruiters in home improvement and home décor retailing. Starting today, goes live with Hardlines, the retail home improvement and décor industry's leading news source, to help home improvement/home decor retailers and distributors find employees quickly, easily - and affordably. "Finding good quality employees is an ongoing challenge for every retailer," says Brenda Dumont, President of "Hardlines, through its website,, and are pleased to bring the power of the Internet to Hardlines subscribers." "With's powerful job board capabilities at their fingertips through our own website, our readers can now improve significantly their ability to attract good quality employees," says Michael McLarney, Editor and Publisher of Hardlines. Internet Recruiting is becoming the recruiting method of choice, with over 80% of all job seekers now searching for new job opportunities online. Through this partnership, home improvement/home decor retailers and wholesalers who visit can enjoy preferred job posting rates on With nearly 450 retail jobs advertised daily on, job seekers can see the diversity and range of jobs available in the retail industry in Canada. One in nine Canadians work in the retail industry - a jobsite designed strictly for this huge sector was essential. is the only job board in Canada focused solely on the retail industry. Established in 2001, provides strictly retail job postings plus information on retail education and retail as a career. For more information, contact: Brenda Dumont at
VERNON HILLS, IL — Barry Segal of building materials distributor Bradco Supply will sell back all his shares in Wickes Inc. in exchange for cash and a new note option. His shares, valued at US$3.55 million, totals 16.8% of the company's senior subordinated notes outstanding. With the money, Bradco Supply will turn around and purchase, then lease back, two Wickes properties, one in Walden, NY and the other in Exton, PA. In addition, Wickes senior management has agreed to purchase all of the 1.3 million shares of Wickes common stock owned by Segal, Bradco and their affiliates, giving the senior management team more than 15% interest in the company upon completion of the exchange offer. "This arrangement has the potential to be a real win-win for our employees, for our noteholders and stockholders, and for everyone else interested in contributing to Wickes' success," said Jim O'Grady, president and CEO of Wickes, in a prepared release.
Canadian Tire 42.60 27.85 39.30
Canfor 10.95 7.60 9.65
Costco 39.02 27.00 35.82
Goodfellow 13.00 9.75 12.30
Home Depot 37.89 20.10 36.76
Hudson's Bay 12.97 6.90 10.38
Lowe's Cos. 60.42 33.37 58.30
Rona Inc. 26.95 11.75 26.49
Sears Canada 21.50 13.60 19.70
Sodisco-Howden 3.35 1.28 2.98
Taiga Forest 8.10 6.00 7.60
Wal-Mart 60.20 46.25 55.64
West Fraser 39.05 29.25 33.50
MONTREAL — Even as Canfor announces its takeover of Slocan to create a softwood timber giant, Domtar Inc. and Tembec Inc have ended negotiations to merge their softwood and timber operations in Ontario and Quebec. The proposed $850-million merger would have created the fourth-largest lumber company in North America. TORONTO — Hudson Bay Corp.'s profits in its third quarter rose 12% to $8.6 million on flat sales. The company said net earnings in the three months ending October 31 amounted to 8 cents per share, matching analysts' expectations. Sales were $1.71 billion, almost identical to sales in the same period in 2002. MOLINE, IL — Deere & Co. are reporting worldwide net income of US$70.6 million for the quarter and US$643.1 million for the year ended October 31. This compared with net quarterly income of US$68.0 million and yearly sales $319.2 million.

Kent Rombough has been appointed Ontario Plywood Specialist for CanPly, the Canadian Plywood Association. He was formerly with Riverside Forest Products. After training in Vancouver, Rombough will operate from his office in London, ON. (Try the head office for now: 604-981-4177)

Home Depot has announced some changes to its board of directors: William Davila, 72, president emeritus of The Vons Cos., and a member of Home Depot board since 1999, has reached the company's mandatory retirement age and won't be eligible for re-election at the completion of his term in May 2004 ... Richard Grasso, former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and a member of the board since 2002, has confirmed an earlier decision not to stand for re-election at the completion of his current term in May 2004.

Canadians kept an eye on their pocketbooks in September as retail spending dropped 0.8% to $26.4 billion, Stats Canada reports. The first decline in five months, it follows a 0.3% sales increase in August. However, third-quarter sales increased 1.1%, after remaining essentially unchanged in the second quarter. Previously, retail sales had been generally increasing since the fall of 2001. In constant dollars, retail sales fell 0.8% in September but rose 1.0% in the third quarter.

Wholesale sales in Canada reached $36.6 billion, a 6.1% increase over the previous month, according to Stats Canada. All trade groups posted an increase. Before this, sales had been generally trending downwards since the start of the year, after mainly rising from fall 2001 to January 2003. Canada's composite index increased by 0.6% in October after an 0.8% hike in September, says Stats Canada. Household demand, dominated by the housing market, spurred the increase. All the indicators related to household demand improved, dominated by the housing sector. Housing has accelerated every month since a dip in April 2003, with a 3.6% jump in October raising the level to a 30-year high. Both housing starts and existing home sales contributed to this record-setting performance. Gross domestic product in the third quarter in the U.S. rose a whopping 8.2% seasonally adjusted, more than double the 3.3% gain in the second quarter - and the strongest quarterly advance in almost 20 years. A month ago, says the Commerce Department, GDP advanced at a 7.2% rate.
Forget perishable poinsettias and gift baskets, discard the tacky ties and scarves, pass on the fleeting office party. Give a gift that will be appreciated every Monday morning for an entire year - a subscription to HARDLINES.Just send us your gift list, along with contact information - address, phone number, fax and especially e-mail addresses - we'll do the rest! Gift recipients will be eligible for all our regular subscriber perks - daily news updates, personal access to HARDLINES website and archives, special subscriber rates on our other products (Who's Who, Retail CD, etc.), and special rates for all of our conferences. We'll send a welcome gift card indicating this "gift of knowledge" is from YOU! HERE ARE OUR RATES: A primary subscription is only $219.00 per year. Secondary subscribers within the same company pay only $34.00 - these subscribers must be physically working at the same office location. Branch offices get a special rate of $135.00 for their primary subscriber and the usual $34.00 for subsequent subscribers at the same location. Regional Sales Managers working basically on their own but affiliated with the home office, also have a special rate of $68.00 per year after a primary subscription has been purchased. Volume Discounts Available - Call Nancy Wright (416) 489-3396 REMEMBER: Santa & Hardlines only take Christmas orders until December 24, 2003.

****HARDLINES MARKETPLACE**** Dont' miss the products and services on the Hardlines web Marketplace: And check out Hardlines Classifieds on the web: HELP WANTED

SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE GREATER TORONTO AREA Colonial Elegance is the Canadian leading manufacturer and distributor of staircase components, mirror doors and other building material products related to Home Renovation Centers. You are the candidate we need, if you have a minimum of 1 year service experience and can work under minimal supervision. You know how to establish strong relationships with customers and have the aptitude for representing & servicing our current customers. As a member of the Ontario sales and service team, you will regularly visit our customers, be fully responsible for the service of our range of products, complete product set-up and resets and conduct product knowledge training sessions in one of our exclusive territories: GREATER TORONTO AREA We offer a competitive compensation and benefit package. Please submit your resume with confidence to:

COLONIAL ELEGANCE INC. Att: National Sales Director 3800 Du Tricentenaire Blvd. Montreal, QC H1B 5T8 Fax: (514) 640-4307 e-mail:

Sprayers and Strainers from ET Industries Amazing Acrobatic Sprayers… • Patented double-swivel action rinses more sink area than any other sprayer! • Switches easily from soft, aerated flow to powerful jet spray. • Fits all standard faucets. Easy, no-tools installation (adapter included). • In five vibrant colours! And matching SinkTastic … • Funky thermoplastic in six hot colours. • Replaces dreary metal basket strainers. • Just drop it in! Fits all sink drains and waste disposals. • Antibacterial agent and fresh scent! As featured in Canadian Living Magazine. Visit Our Counter Displays turn fast at checkout. Great margins! Great little profit centres!
********************************************************************************** SERVICES OFFERED Your products deserve the best representation they can get. NORAL MARKETING knows the Canadian retail customer. Don't settle for anything less! Contact Al Vanderveen at 519-439-6800, ext. 201, to find out how Noral can boost your sales in Canada.  


Hardlines is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by McLARNEYCOM 542 Mount Pleasant Rd., Suite 302, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4S 2M7 © 2003 by Michael McLarney. HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 416.489.6154 Michael McLarney, Editor & Publisher: Beverly Allen, Marketing Manager: Nancy Wright, Circulation Manager: Phyllis Nowell, Sales Manager: ______________________________________________ THE HARDLINES "FAIR PLAY" POLICY: Reproduction in whole or in part is very uncool and strictly forbidden and really and truly against the law. So please, play fair! Call for information on multiple subscriptions or a site license for your company. We do want as many people as possible to read Hardlines each week - but let us handle your internal routing from this end! ______________________________________________ Subscription: $219+$15.33 GST = $234.33 per year (GST #13987 0398 RT). Secondary subscriptions at the same office are only $34 + $2.38 GST = $36.38. Ask about our reduced rate for branch offices. You can pay online by VISA at our secure website or send us money. Please make cheque payable to McLarneyCom.