Michael McLarney, President & Editor mike@hardlines.ca Beverly Allen, Publisher bev@hardlines.ca John Caulfield, Contributing Editor Phone: 416-489-3396
Holiday publishing schedule: This is our last issue of Hardlines until Jan. 5, 2009. Very best wishes for the holiday season to all of you, our Faithful Subscribers, from all of us here. Please note: the World Headquarters will remain open until Dec. 23. —Michael, Beverly and Brady
December 8, 2008, Vol. xiv, #46
In This Issue

“They err who thinks Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; he really enters through the heart.” —Mrs. Paul M. El

Canadian system will be rolled out to U.S. Home Depot stores
TORONTO — Home Depot Canada is preparing for a tough year ahead, and it’s turning to its vendors for assistance. In a meeting last week to outline the company’s direction for 2009, Home Depot executives told suppliers that the coming year will be one of “productivity improvement”, with a focus on increasing turns and improving inventory management in its existing stores. New-store development will be slowed considerably, with only three openings slated for next year.Central to these improvements will the deployment of its ERP — or enterprise resource planning — system, called SAP (“ Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing”). This business process software is being used by Home Depot to analyze and fine-tune planograms on a store-specific basis, enabling the company to achieve its goal of addressing regional differences among its sites. SAP can also send sales data back to the vendors, so they can refine their programs by store and region. Home Depot’s CEO, Frank Blake, came up from Atlanta to address the vendors, as well. He reiterated the value of the SAP system, noting Home Depot Canada’s importance to the whole chain. In fact, the Canadian division has served as a “lab” for the company many times in the past, and the test of the SAP system here is one more example of this. Now that it has proven successful here, it will be rolled out in the U.S. over the next two years, he said.


B.C. entrepreneurs open door shop supplying dealers
NORTH VANCOUVER — IRLY dealers now have a new source for their door and window needs. North Shore Door held its grand opening celebration recently at its shop. As one of the few door shops in North Vancouver, the owners of this new enterprise are excited about the potential."We’re busy and getting more and more customers every day,” says Mike Brouse. He and co-owner Lon Miller describe their operation as “the whole package”, offering custom pre-hung doors to dealers across the province. Brouse and Miller know doors. They worked for many years in the door business before striking out on their own. Between them, they have almost 20 years experience in every facet of door sales and construction. Both are experienced in managing a dealer sales network, and commercial multi-family sales. While the big push has been on the door business, North Shore Door also offers door hardware, mouldings, and windows. A new All-Weather Design Centre is now part of the showroom’s design offerings. North Shore works with retailers all over British Columbia, shipping to IRLY dealers through the IRLY distribution centre in Surrey. Brouse and Miller already have four employees, and with sales higher than projected, they are already considering expanding.


BMR moving into higher-end hardware assortments
QUEBEC CITY — BMR dealers are making gains in their retail business, thanks to a push by the buying groups to expand the hardware assortments among its member-dealers’ stores. A decade ago, the average mix of inventory was 80% lumber and building materials to 20% hardware. The percentage of hardware products in the stores is now double that, at about 40%, says BMR president and CEO Yves Gagnon. He spoke with HARDLINES during his group’s recent dealer show, held here.From the first store to be outfitted in a more DIY-friendly fashion in 1995 (one of Gagnon’s own stores, in St-Jean-de-Richelieu, Que.), the majority of his 180-plus dealers are realizing the benefits of a larger hardware department. That expansion has been made possible, he adds, by the addition of its own hardware distribution facility in 1997. Going upscale will attract more female customers, who, he recognizes, are so integral to the buying decisions for home décor and renovations. For example, the $129 barbecue used to be standard fare in most stores — and a loss leader with little margin built in. Now, barbecues selling for $600 and $700 — and even $1,000 — are commonplace in BMR stores. The move to become more retail friendly by supplying a wider assortment of hardware products still has its limitations, however, Gagnon admits. For example, kitchen and bath assortments tend to remain more elementary. He leaves the higher-end items to the specialty kitchen and bath stores. “We do have the basics,” says Gagnon. “But if you want the glamour — we’re not there yet.” Other areas that are showing growth for BMR dealers include flooring and décor products. But, once again, Gagnon warns against high-ticket items, such as heavy appliances. “They are too low-margin, they can get damaged, and they take up lot of space on the retail floor.”


European conference addresses customer preferences, sustainability
BERLIN — Although the German economy is officially in a recession, the message at the ninth Annual BHB Conference was that this too will pass. EDRA is the European DIY Retail Association, BHB is the association for hardware and DIY retailers in Germany, and the largest member of EDRA. Together, these associations brought together vendors and retailers from around the world. They spoke of the need to make plans, look for opportunities, and position themselves to gain market share when the economy rebounds. There were 550 attendees, up from 535 the year before.Truly international in scope, the speakers came from Europe, Russia, and as far away as Australia. John Gillam, managing director of Bunnings, the big-box chain based in Melbourne, Australia, was among the presenters. “Market share is there to be grown during these tough times,” he assured delegates. Oliver Schmitz, international category manager for GfK Living, GfK AG, Nuremburg, spoke about the opportunities in the current crisis and the fears present, based on his group’s surveys of consumers. Andreas Sandmann, managing director, OBI Germany, the leading DIY retailer in that country, spoke on OBI’s direction, including the company’s vision for remaining a leading European retailer, which involves focusing on quality to maintain success. Several speakers, including Sandmann, addressed a host of trends, including sustainability and the move by consumers to stay home and garden or fix up, rather than take a vacation.


Know someone who is between jobs? We will send a complimentary subscription to anyone who is seeking a job. We also offer a free Online Resumé Service. Ask them to call or email us here at the World Headquarters. (And why not tell your HR department about this service!) Email Brady for more info. —Beverly


Position: Sales Representative Location: Ontario, Near-North ( Orillia to North Bay) Start: Immediately Can-Save, a progressive building materials distributor specializing in specialty building products, doors, and kitchen and bath, has an immediate opening for an Outside Sales Representative for the Ontario, Near-North territory. The successful candidate will:
  • Have a successful sales background in the building materials industry with a minimum 3 years experience.
  • Possess the ability to analyze, develop and carry out sales strategies to aid customers in growing their businesses.
  • Have a proven ability in identifying and following through on new opportunities.
  • Have consultative, front-line experience working with customers in a sales capacity.
  • Have the ability to utilize Customer Relationship Management software
  • Possess excellent communication and business skills.
  • Be a team player able to work with a variety of disciplines and organizational functions.
  • Travel within the region and participate in trade show events as required.
Can-Save offers a competitive pay, bonus, and benefits package. Please forward your resume to hr@can-save.ca or fax to 705-722-1124 (Attention: Human Resources).

Castle Building Centres Group Limited.

Directeur, développement des affaires – Région du Québec

Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. est un leader parmi les groupes d’achats de l’industrie du bois et des matériaux de construction au Canada. Vous êtes un individu très motivé, possédant des qualités exceptionnelles en relations personnelles et en communication. Ces atouts vous permettront de renforcer et d’accroître notre présence sur le marché québécois. Pour remplir ce mandat, vous devez connaître parfaitement l'industrie québécoise du bois et des matériaux de construction. Vous êtes prêt à voyager régulièrement, tout en étant à l’aise de travailler éloigner de la maison mère. Bien entendu, la maîtrise parfaite des deux langues officielles est indispensable pour ce poste. Vous rapportant directement au Président, voici une occasion unique de travailler avec un groupe dynamique de marchands indépendants et de participer activement à notre croissance. En lien direct et constant avec nos membres du Québec, votre succès repose sur une compréhension profonde de leurs besoins. Administrateur aguerri, vous devez posséder de bonnes connaissances en informatique et être apte à préparer des présentations étoffées. Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. offre un généreux régime de rémunération et une gamme complète d’avantages sociaux. Toutes les offres de service seront traitées avec la plus grande confidentialité. Veuillez envoyer votre curriculum vitæ à: Yvonne Patton Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. 6375 Dixie Road, Suite 400 Mississauga, Ontario L5T-2S1 Courriel: ypatton@castle.ca


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Publishing Details: HARDLINES is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by HARDLINES Inc. 360 Dupont Street Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5R 1V 9 © 2008 by HARDLINES Inc. HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter www.HARDLINES.ca ; Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 416.489.6154 Michael McLarney - Editor & President - mike@HARDLINES.ca Beverly Allen, Publisher - bev@HARDLINES.ca Brady Peever - Circulation Manager - brady@HARDLINES.ca 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:$285 (Canadian subscribers add $14.25 GST = $299.25 per year/ GST #13987 0398 RT).Secondary subscriptions at the same office are only $46 (Canadian subscribers add $2.30 GST = $48.30).Ask about our reduced rate for branch offices.You can pay online by VISA/MC/AMEX at our secure website or send us money. Please make cheque payable to HARDLINES.


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Use Hardlines research , slides, charts, graphs, maps and forecasts to make your point. Click here to order your copy today. — Beverly
BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — In the face of a troubled economy, RONA inc. is slowing down its big box expansion plans, and instead putting its money on its so-called “proximity” stores. These mid-sized home centres and building centres will be the focus of RONA’s corporate expansion plans in 2009, along with its aggressive dealer recruitment efforts.MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Facing declining sales in the hot-tub market, CPI Plastics Group Ltd. is restructuring. It has been granted a compliance extension by the Ontario Securities Commission, giving the company until today to file its financial statements and MD& A. CPI’s executive vice-president and CFO, J. David Wood, has resigned. Some of his duties are being covered by John Coscarella, the corporation's current director of finance, while James D. Ellies moves over from the COO role to become interim CFO. CPI is a Canadian-based plastics processor with three key divisions. CPI’s Outdoor Living Products Group manufactures and markets Eon Decking and Fencing Systems, as well as cladding and accessory components to the outdoor hot tub industry. It also has a Film Products Group, which manufactures the Rack Sack household trash management system, and manufactures a wide range of household and industrial garbage bags under private label. It also has an OEM division. BURNABY, B.C. — JR Home Products Ltd. has moved to new offices. It is now at: Unit 1-5628 Riverbend Dr., Burnaby, B.C., V3N 0C1; telephone: 1.800.561.5550. JR is an importer and manufacturer of outdoor leisure products under the Grapevine name, as well as Paramount hearth products and Century cabinet hardware. ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Same-store sales in the U.S. were down 2.2% for Costco, the warehouse-club chain, while international same-store sales fell 15%, largely as result of the devalued Canadian Loonie, which has fallen 21% against the U.S. dollar during the year. Costco had net sales of $5.55 billion for November, a decrease of 3% from $5.72 billion last year. For the first thirteen-week period, it had net sales of $17.52 billion, up 3% from $16.98 billion. SHANGHAI —  Kingfisher plc, Europe’s largest home improvement retailer, has decided to close its Trade Depot stores in China. The chain, which focuses on contractors and builders, was started in 2005. Kingfisher also intends to close three B&Q home improvement big boxes in China. The stores are facing declining sales in that market. B&Q’s overall sales are down nearly 20% for the year. HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — The mass retailer Sears Holding Corp. continued to downsize its operations in the three months ended Nov. 1. The company, which operates Sears, Kmart and Sears Hardware stores, took a pretax charge of $101 million to cover the closing of 14 stores and impaired assets. As a result the company reported a net loss for the quarter of $146 million (versus a $4 million gain in third quarter 2007) on revenue of $10.7 billion, which was down 7.7% from the same period a year ago.


Gord Wiebe, CEO and president of All Weather Windows, the Canadian-owned and operated window and door manufacturer, is stepping down as president of the company. He will remain on as CEO … Richard Scott, formerly vice-president and general manager, takes over as president and COO.Ferguson vice-president and district manager Paul Kennedy has been appointed to lead Wolseley Canada’s Ontario Region. Kennedy will retain his current responsibilities in Ferguson’s North Central District. The new role furthers the integration of the Ferguson and Wolseley businesses in Canada. Kennedy has been in the industry since 1988 and joined Westburne Supply in 1995 in Bemidji, Minn. He joined Ferguson in 2001 as a part of the Westburne acquisition. He has held numerous key roles within the company, including: branch manager, general manager, regional sales manager, and regional manager.
The total value of building permits issued in October decreased 15.7% to $5.4 billion. Construction intentions fell in both the residential and non-residential sectors, and in all provinces except Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. The value of non-residential permits declined 23.9% to $2.4 billion, following a 41.0% increase in September. Declines occurred mainly in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Permits for the residential sector were down 7.8%, the third consecutive monthly drop. British Columbia registered the largest decrease, as a result of declines in the value of multi-family permits. On a year-to-date (January to October) basis, the total value of building permits issued by municipalities reached $60.9 billion, down 2.3% from the same period in 2007. (Stats Canada)
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A highly qualified sales/marketing and senior buyer with over 25 years experience and a proven track record is seeking a senior management position with a growth-oriented corporation where leadership and strong communication skills will have an impact on profitability, productivity and market share.

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